The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Poor rise after longer bulk fermentation

Siberian Tom's picture
Siberian Tom

Poor rise after longer bulk fermentation

Hi All -

I have been trying to increase the sourness of my bread, and I have read that longer bulk fermentation is helpful in this regard.  As a related note, my starter is not particularly sour, so I thought that trying a 48-hour bulk fermentation might be a good way to increase the bread's flavor.

However, I am getting very poor (or perhaps I should say none at all) rise now.  This loaf is just plain flat.  Do you have any suggestions/insights?  Did my yeast get tired during the bulk fermentation?  Is 48 hours too long?

I am new to the sourdough world so any tips would be appreciated!  Thanks!

naturaleigh's picture

There are certainly more experts here on this site, but a 48-hour bulk ferment sounds like a VERY long time to me (without more specific details regarding your method/recipe).  I would go with a much shorter bulk (at least half of what you are currently doing) but add a longish cold retard in the fridge after bulk, if you are wanting a more sour note to your bread.  By bulking for so long at (I'm assuming) room temp, you are depleting all the energy in your dough, so you won't get much or any rise or oven spring when you go to bake.  Also, the dough should tell you when the bulk ferment is done (usually closer to 5-8 hours at room temp, depending on dough components and room temp) by being bubbly, light and jiggly, slightly domed on the top surface and with medium to large bubbles spread throughout (why it is always good to bulk in a glass bowl, so you can see).  You don't want to push much pass this point.  Hope this helps!

She Bakes's picture
She Bakes

The description of the bulk ferment done right helps me. I haven't done mine long enough, apparently. Next time!