The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

No-knead sourdough bread- little rise in final proof/ little oven spring/ flying saucer shape

Nostos's picture
Nostos

No-knead sourdough bread- little rise in final proof/ little oven spring/ flying saucer shape

Hello!

I baked a 50% stone ground whole wheat sourdough yesterday, and it turned out flat and flying saucer shaped. I used the following:

 

200 g stone-ground whole wheat flour

200 g King Arthur bread flour

1.5 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup 1.5-week-old starter

300 g filtered water

 

I did an autolyse with the majority of the water for 4 hours. Then I mixed the starter with the remaining water and and the salt, and worked it gently into the dough, and did some stretch and folds.

It hadn't risen much after 8 hours, but once I returned home at the 19 hour mark, it had risen really well, so I was quite excited.

 

I did some a couple stretch and folds and place it in a loaf pan on top of my warm oven. It sat for an hour and rose very little. I then decided I'd rather do a boule, so I moved the dough to a bowl (in a parchment paper cradle). The dough was quite sticky, but what I expected from high hydration. 

I let it sit for about 40 minutes longer and still didn't see much of a rise, so I decided to just bake it. I scored it and baked it in a 4 quarts steel-clad aluminum dutch oven at 450 degrees for 30 min covered, then 15 unconvered.

The bread was shaped like a flying saucer. I let it cool for about 12 hours and ate some for breakfast. The flavor was really great, with a slight tang from the sourdough and a chewy crust. 

 

Any ideas why the bread didn't rise in the final proof? Is this what I should expect when using whole wheat flour, and maybe I should just get a smaller dutch oven? My starter seems very active, and I had the same flying saucer issue when using active dry yeast, so I don't think the starter is the real issue.

 

 

phaz's picture
phaz

2 things come to mind right off

Starter may be a little weak - 19 hrs to rise seems a bit long

If the above is true - there was not enough proof time.

How long does the starter take to double after feeding?

Nostos's picture
Nostos

 It could've rose before the 19 hour mark, but I was at work so I didn't see it. I was shooting for 18 hours, because it seems that most no-knead recipes recommend that time frame. 

 

I'm not really sure about the starter. I've just been feeding it every 24 hours, and it's always bubbly and frothy. I'm not sure what point it doubles though.

I will try a longer final proof next time. I got a little impatient.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

My best guess, assuming your starter is active, would be over proofed. 19 hr is a very long bulk ferment, especially with 50% whole grain. Whole grain accelerates the ferment because of increased fermentation activity. What would you estimate the room temperature during the BF?

Since I don’t know the weight or hydration of your starter, the hydration can’t be exact. But it is very near 75%. Considering the dough was 50% whole wheat flour, your dough shouldn’t be too wet. Although if it over fermented as suspected, the gluten will degrade and the dough will get super slack, sticky, and wet. Did the dough feel wet when you mixed it?

Danny

Update - Just saw Phaz’s post. I agree that troubleshooting your starter is a good starting point. Tells us about your starter, what it is fed, the temperature it is kept at, how long between feeds, and anything else that comes to mind. Pictures of your starter at various stages of fermentation would be helpful.

 

Nostos's picture
Nostos

My apartment is around 72 to 75 degrees. I proofed it on top of the fridge though 

 

I didn't know that about whole grain flour- thanks. The dough was much much stickier after the BF- so you may be right about over proofing!

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Let’s first figure if your starter is active and healthy. Without that, good bread is impossible.

Feeding every 24 hours is a long time between feeds. What is the temp of the place your starter is kept.

Tip - Puat a glass of water on top of your frig and leave over night. Then take the temp of the water and let us know. This is an accurate way to determine temperature.

Nostos's picture
Nostos

I will work on this and add photos later. I'm keeping it on top of my fridge in a 72-75 degree house. I feel it is doubling, but it may not quite be there yet. I will start feeding twice a day. Thanks for your advice

Anne Ng's picture
Anne Ng

Hi Dan, I know this is totally irrelevant to this post, but I am very curious about the water temp trick. Doesn't the natural evaporation of the water take away some heat, which makes the water temp to be a degree or two lower than the fridge/room temp? 

I am asking this because I have seen a few posts saying that in hot and humid climates it would help to put the starter jar in a bowl of water, so that the starter doesn't overheat.

Here in Eastern Asia the summer isn't over until late-October. These two days has been cooler but I will be doing the water bath if the temp goes up again. Is it gonna work at all? 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Anne, I may have miscommunicated. The purpose of the glass of water is to get an accurate reading of the ambient temperature in that lcation. This works especially well in the refrigerator.

I live south of New Orleans near the Gulf of Mexico. We have a very hot and humid climate also. You could try putting your starter jar in a container of cool water. That would keep it cooler for a while.

Or you could let your starter rise quickly in the heat and refresh it often. I often put my starter in a proofer that is set to 84F. The heat causes it to fully mature in 3.5- 4 hours. After your starter is active you can keep it in the refrigerator.

Anne Ng's picture
Anne Ng

Thanks for your kind reply, I actually did understand that you put the water on the top of the fridge to get the ambient temperature.

But I was thinking, if the water isn't in an airtight container, then when the water evaporates it takes away some heat, which makes the water temp lower than the ambient temp.

However this is only a theory, I read about it somewhere on the internet that people are using this trick to help their starter stay at a lower temp in hot days. I never did any testing to see how many degrees it is lower tho. I don't have an instant read thermometer at home. I only have an ambient thermometer so I wouldn't know if it will work. 

Can I ask what is your room temp in the hot days? At what temp should I put my starter in a water bath or store in the refrigerator? I thought above 86 is will wipe out all the little yeasties, 84 seems dangerously close to it (I do not own a proofbox so I feel like it would be very hard to keep it at a constant temp above ambient). 

BobbyFourFingers's picture
BobbyFourFingers

The evaporative cooling would be more significant in warmer temps than the cool home of the OP. This is why swamp coolers are so much more effective in hot climates than moderate ones. I don’t think there would be even a full degree Fahrenheit difference between the water and the ambient temperature.

A better test, and one that solves for evaporative cooling, is to use a small glass of oil instead of water. The oil also does not conduct heat as readily so it is less prone to changes from incidental handling. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

take three glasses and fill partially with the same amount and temperature water.  Stick one in a water bath of the same temp., wrap the second loosely in a damp wrung out towel or soaked and drained porous ceramic pot with lid, and do nothing with the third (control.). Check the temperatures in the glasses every 15 minutes and record them.  Do they change?

 

NeilM's picture
NeilM

Are you sure theirs enough suger in their to feed?

After a couple days I add a bit of sugar before the final proof/bake.

Nostos's picture
Nostos

Hello all. This is my starter immediately after feeding on the top, and 3.5 hours after feeding on the bottom. It seems fairly active despite the fact that I neglected to feed it yesterday (left in fridge). What do you think?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I think your starter looks like a beast :D

It looks very active. Why don’t you bake a bread and photograph and document the process. If you don’t mind, I recommend you give this formula/recipe a try.http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/56678/123-sourdough-no-knead-do-nothing-bread It is a No Knead Bread and uses only white flour. The post was designed to help struggling bakers can quick success.

Just to be sure, I recommend feeding your starter a couple of times. Make sure you don’t let it fall for too long between feedings.

Danny

Nostos's picture
Nostos

I'm checking that recipe out right now. I do think it would be a good idea to go back to basics until I'm more experienced. Right now I'm working on a rye and spelt loaf, so I'm obviously expecting that one to be rather dense. But I'd love to achieve some light and airy with white flour.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

If you decide to do the bake, post images and document the process. That way we can better help you.

Nostos's picture
Nostos

This is the spelt Rye Loaf I just baked. I'm not going to cut into it until tomorrow morning. It did double in size, but there was no oven spring. However, it is meant to be a more German style loaf bread, so I knew it was going to be dense using spelt and rye. I enjoy dense bread, and also light and airy bread. I still need to master the latter. I cooked it in an Emile Henry clay covered loaf pan at 425 F for 45 minutes. Hopefully it turned out okay, though I wish it rose more.

255 g whole spelt flour

226 g whole rye flour

178 g active starter (100% hydration)

2 tsp sea salt

411 g filtered water

I let it bulk ferment at room temperature for 10 hours, then poured it into my loaf pan (didn't shape or mess with the dough at all), and let it sit for another 2 hours before baking. It rose a little more during this time.

 

Nostos's picture
Nostos

If my calculations are correct, this was an 87% hydration dough, perhaps too high?

Nostos's picture
Nostos

I took a look at the 123 sourdough, and I'm planning on trying that out next. It will take me about a week and a half to get through this loaf, and the slices I froze from the last loaf in the freezer though- I live alone and I'm also a big rice and kasha eater. I will post back when I try it out!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Down to 75% - 78% (83% for the rye portion and 70% for the spelt). and shorten the bulk proof to about 4 hours letting the volume increase about a third (not double) then shape.  Bake before the final proof doubles as spelt is very easy to overproof. Switching part or all liquids to scalded milk  improves the crumb softness or boil up a peeled and cut small potato in a little water and use the potato water with the mashed potato as your recipe liquids.

The rye ratio in the recipe may be too high for a 1,2,3 dough recipe.  :)

Nostos's picture
Nostos

Thank You for your advice Mini Oven! I really lived the flavor of the spelt and rye in this bread, and it turned out quite well, so I'd like to continue perfecting the recipe. I do suspect it overproofed a bit. Can you tell me what you mean about rye being too high for a 1, 2, 3 recipe? Does this mean I should use less starter? This recipe did use up most of my small starter, but it did have a great tang, even more so after slicing and freezing it (anyone know why freezing would increase tang? I really enjoy that).

Nostos's picture
Nostos

So, I decided I wanted to try a 50% whole wheat bread again. I made a few tweaks:

200 g KA bread flour

200 g stone-ground whole wheat

1.5 tsp fine sea salt

300 g filtered water

1/8 cup sourdough starter (100% hydration)

 

I know I should be weighing the starter bit, but I wasn't sure where to start with that and found recommendations online to use 1/4 cup or 1/8 cup for no-knead. Also, the starter was not as active as it should've been- I didn't let it sit long enough after feeding, but I decided to go with it because I needed to get to bed.

Last time I used 1/4 cup starter. I decided to try less because I think it overproofed last time, and I want it to sit for at least several hours during the bulk ferment.

I did a 1 hour autolyse. Mixed the dough. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Did a few stretch and folds. Let it bulk ferment at room temperature (around 74 degrees I suspect) for 8 hours. 

In the morning there was not much rise. I did a few stretch and folds and put the dough in my fridge. I left it sit for 12 hours, no rise at all, and did another few stretch and folds. I did the same the next morning- still no rise. 

That evening (in cold retard for 1.5 days now), I was thinking I didn't do a long enough bulk ferment with the small amount of (slightly inactive) starter I used, so u decided to let it sit at room temperature for another few hours. I did some stretch and folds and let it sit in a warm spot, during which time it did rise (perhaps not doubled though). I then shaped it and put it back in the fridge to retard until the morning, another 10 hours.

In the morning I heated my oven to 475 F with my cast iron dutch oven and lid inside. I scored my cold loaf and dropped it in the dutch oven, straight from the fridge. 30 minutes covered, 15 unconvered. I dropped it to 450 F after the first 20 minutes.

The result was the least flat loaf I have ever baked. Do you think it was the cold retard that helped keep the loaf from flattening? Because I didn't change that much else with the ingredients. I won't know until tomorrow how the crumb is, because I'm going to try and wait.

The only issue is the bottom scorched. Of course, the one time I have a non-disc shaped loaf I have to mess up in another way. I used a Wagner Ware un-enameled cast iron oven- perhaps 475 F was too high to start with? The dough was draped in parchment paper.