The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dough not passing the float test after bulk fermentation

Valeria Hummel's picture
Valeria Hummel

Dough not passing the float test after bulk fermentation

Help Please!!!! I’m following Bonnie Ohara’s book “Bread Baking for Beginners” ... she states that one can know when your sourdough has completely rise during the bulk fermentation by performing a float test (not talking about my sourdough starter but the actual dough) ... in her recipe, she lets it rise 5 hours but says it might require more time in colder temperatures. I’m at a colder temperature but yesterday I let it rise for 8 hours and it still wasn’t floating! Then I started shaping it and I could tell it was over fermented. I believe my sourdough starter is healthy, I think it is due to leaving it too long to rise .... should I not worry about the float test?

SheGar's picture

You are doing a float test with the dough after bulk? I have never heard of that. How does that even work? A huge bowl and you drop the dough in the water?

I don't believe in the float test for starters let alone for dough.

phaz's picture

I wouldn't worry about it. As long as the dough looks and feels right, you'll be good. 

And a little temp change can make a big difference in timings. Besides, unless you're using the exact same ingredients as another, timings will be different - so go by the dough, not the clock. Enjoy!

Benito's picture

I’ve never heard of anyone doing a float test on the whole dough at the end of bulk fermentation.  Some people will do a float test on their levain to see if it is ready but even that isn’t all too useful because some starters especially 100% hydration ones may not hold together well enough to pass a float test.

You might want to consider using an aliquot jar to help you determine rise of your dough and adjust your bulk fermentation, I wrote about it here in this thread.