The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dough breaks before second rise is finished

DuBonPain's picture

Dough breaks before second rise is finished

Hi folks,

Even though I peaked in here a few times over the last couple of active sourdough years, this is my first post. So far I was able to always find an answer to my problems, but this one is giving me a head ace since a while and digging in my personal recipe and procedure might give me a better answer / solution from you guys. 

So I am baking on a commercial micro bakery level since a couple of years (around 100 loafs a day for 2 days a week). Since my set up is pretty basic (no mixers, no proofers, only commercial convection oven), my breads are either high hydration tartine style miches, dense grains loaded rye breads or a simple overnight proof (room temp.) no knead sourdough pan bread.

The later is the one giving me sleepless nights since a while. The thing is: although I am measuring my factors (temp., time, etc.) every time to get consistency, I have very different outcomes from one week to another. Between beautifully risen loafs ready to get baked up to half risen ones starting to rip/crack and fall of at the end of the second rise (not giving much of an oven spring). 

So I guess I just gonna lay down my recipe and process and let you guys shoot your ideas.

4900g organic white flour (all purpose)
3400g water (90°F)
100g salt
600g liquid started (peaked after 5h rise)

1.) At 5pm I mix everything together (no autolyse)
2.) I set room temp. at 73°F
3.) I give S&F every 30min for the next 2-3h
4.) Around 3am the bulk is at around double the size (everything looks fine so far). I separate the dough and let it bench rest for around 15min before putting it in the loaf pans, covered with humid clothes to not let them dry out. I try to not handle the dough to much - no real final shaping, just forming a tight ball with my bench knife.
5.) Then, while baking my miches for the next 4h, I let the pan loafs rise at around 80-85°F. Temp. is hard to control in my small bakery with 3 ovens running at 500°F, but I figured out how to keep the temp stable. 
6.) At around 8am the miches are done and I am ready to put the pan loafs. But here is the thing: some batches rise very well - doubled in size (slightly over the rim of the pan with no cracks) and spring nicely in the oven after. Other batches, like the last two weeks, rise around 50% (2-3h in the rise) and start cracking all over. The never get over the rim and shot almost no oven spring after.

So any ideas out there?

Here are some pictures:


Obviously those are the good ones


(full risen)


(not even fully risen, but already breaking) - note: the glossy surface is due to sprayed water just before baking

(les risen, flat top, broken structure, more dense crumb)

DanAyo's picture

2 guesses.

  1. acid over load
  2. too much water on the skin before baking.

Like I said, just a couple of guesses. It must be super frustrating!


DuBonPain's picture

I thought about acid. Redid my starter, but same thing

Water is going on the bread just before bake. Break appears much before the water is added

idaveindy's picture

1.  Cold air from an air-conditioning vent.  Overall, the room, or at least where the thermostat is, stays relatively constant -- but the exact spot where that cold air blows is going to get 5 to 10 degrees cooler when the air-conditioning kicks on.

Moving air also dries out the surface of dough, so even a small expansion can break the surface.

2. Mixing.  Salt or levain not getting evenly distributed.

DuBonPain's picture

1. there is no air conditioning. Room is getting colder than 73°C so I added a small heater plugged into a thermostat. 

2. I thought about that too, so I started mixing longer...

pmccool's picture

1. Ambient temperatures were higher in the past couple of weeks, causing over-fermentation (note that I don’t know your location).

2. The flour, even if the same brand from the same supplier, is slightly different than previous batches.  Maybe lower tolerance, or higher starch damage, or fractionally higher malt content, or...

The top crust of the faulty loaves looks as though final fermentation was pushed too far.  I can’t say from here whether that was a time and temperature problem, a flour problem, or a starter problem, or some combination of factors.  A crumb photo would be helpful.  


phaz's picture

I see lots of pans laid out nicely - the trouble loaves - are they randomly distributed, or all in a certain place say near or next to each other?

ciabatta's picture

10+ Hour bulk at 73F with 90F water. Is that pushing it quite a bit?  especially with AP flour.  My guess is that it's just too much time proofing.  I dont see many people going for double size before baking on the sourdoughs neither.

Just my guess...

DanAyo's picture

Have you considered room temp water? 

The collapsed loaves in the image below appear to be over fermented.

idaveindy's picture

When it happens, does it happen to all the loaves in the batch?  Or what percent of the loaves does it happen to? 

I'm with pmccool, a crumb photo will give good clues as to what happened.