The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I just can't get a rise out of it

ano327's picture

I just can't get a rise out of it

Hi Everyone!

I have dabbled in bread baking for a while now and my greater successes come from baking sandwich loaves for my family. 

However, for the life of me, I just cannot get a boule to spring in the oven or be anything other than a UFO disc or an oval focaccia-wannabe. 

No matter what recipe I follow, whether I knead by hand, knead in a mixer for 10 vs. 80 minutes, proof for less time vs. more time, it's always the same, and I get slightly discouraged by it.

I see all these incredible loaves people bake following recipes that seem to occupy a career's worth of time and steps, and all I hope for is just a boule I can make with instant yeast within a single day--perhaps even if just as a reference point to go off of when trying more advanced recipes.

People say to knead by hand until it feels firm, but this is too subjective for me. People say to pinch off a piece of the loaf and see if it floats in water, but mine always sinks, no matter how long it has risen or proofed.

Given the above, I would be infinitely grateful for any advice or starting points. From many of the recipes on this site, the comments make it seem like there are errors with dough hydration, salt quantity, or other issues, so they all seem like they require some expertise to follow.

Picture of a sad loaf attached for funsies. :)

I look forward to continuing my baking journey with y’all!

DanAyo's picture

Ano, the loaf was over-fermented. Post your formula, room temperature and the fermentation timings.

ano327's picture

Does this mean too much time rising or too much time proofing?

I will try to record all the details next time I attempt a loaf :)

 What is a good, no fail recipe for beginners? 

DanAyo's picture

Too much fermentation during either BF or Final Proof or both.

This particular Community Bake produced the best results among the participating bakers. You can easily skip the lamination part if you find it intimidating. But in reality, it is quite doable.

The accompanying video is super helpful and informative. If you don’t have any whole grains or rye on hand just use all white flour, no problem.

If you elect to do this bake, post your results on the Community Bake. It is monitored by myself and many other bakers. You rae sure to get help.

Benito's picture

Hi ano, I would have to agree with Dan that the loaf in the photo is over proofed.  You can tell because of the shape, flat and that the gluten can be seen breaking down particularly just below the crust along the top.  The smaller air pockets are coalescing into larger ones because the gluten has been broken down by the proteolytic effects of over fermentation weakening the gluten so that it can no longer hold back the pressure of the growing bubbles,

So what can you do?  Bulk Ferment cooler, reduce levain amount (more challenging for beginner bakers, use cooler water when mixing (goes along with bulk ferment cooler I suppose), do a cold retard for final proof in the fridge. Etc.

Another recipe you could also try is 1 2 3 sourdough, many new sourdough bakers had success with this.