The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Basic questions regarding making bread.

therealboss's picture

Basic questions regarding making bread.

I'm new to the forum and to making bread, been doing it now for about 6 weeks but have a few issues.


My bread never rises much, I use good strong bread flour and good quality yeast, mix it up by hand, knead it for 4 or 5 minutes until it's a silky and elastic dough.

I put it in a bowl & place the bowl in a plastic bag, and allow it to prove for about 45min or so until it's doubled in size.

I then remove it from the bowl and shape it, and place it in the baking tin, I then cover it and leave it to rise for about 30 mins.


I then place the tin in a pre heated oven (Gas 7) and bake for about 30 mins.


Problem is, the bread never really rises, it tastes OK but I'm sure it should rise more.


Any suggestions as to what I could do to get the bread to rise more?


I have tried more yeast, more and less kneading, oven temps and baking times but no joy.

My basic recipe is:-

  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 300 ml tepid water
  • 7 or 8g dried yeast
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 level tablespoon fine sea salt
  • flour , for dusting

kmaltby's picture

What type of yeast are you using. Is it instant? Also have you tested your yeast to make sure it is still good?

dmsnyder's picture

Are you saying the loaf doesn't rise during proofing, or are you talking about lack of oven spring?

The amount of yeast is not totally out of line. It's a lot, if you are using instant yeast, but not too much if it is not.

If the yeast is good, another possible problem is the water. Are you using chlorinated tap water by any chance? (Yeast doesn't like chlorine.) Or is it distilled water? (That is missing trace minerals that are needed for optimal fermentation and flavor.)

The loaf in your photo looks pretty well risen, assuming you are using a standard bread pan. A photo of the crumb might help us identify problems.

Happy baking!


therealboss's picture

Thanks for the reply, the yeast I use is Allinson Easy Bake Yeast, water is out the tap but I add a little from the kettle but only just enough to take the chill off.



therealboss's picture

therealboss's picture

dmsnyder's picture

To me, the crumb looks good, for that type of bread.

It sounds like your yeast is not "instant." Have you proofed it? (Dissolve it in some water with flour or sugar to see if it gets foamy.)

Do you know if your tap water is chlorinated?

Again: At what stage is your bread not growing as you expect?


kneadingbob's picture

Oven temperature is important for oven "spring". The dark color shows me it might have been over baked at too low temperature. You didn't indicate temp. I bake some breads at 350° and Italian Bread at 400°. It makes a difference. Also, a source of some steam.

Yippee's picture

Hi, TRB:

My impression is that your dough, i.e. the gluten, was underdeveloped.  There are a couple of ways to further develop your dough:

  1. knead longer until the dough passes the "windowpane" test; or
  2. perform "stretch and fold" several times to strengthen your dough

Strong flour won't come out strong on its own, you need to "develop" it.   

Good luck



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

the same recipe but I add 50g more water (and I am using only a teaspoon of yeast for a longer fermenting time, hours) I am also using AP flour which usually requires less water than Strong bread flour (like what you're using) so you might want to try 50g more water or switching to AP or go half and half.  Lots of things to try there.  It's a great basic recipe to experiment and learn on.

I stir the dough together to just moisten any dry flour and let it sit/rest for 30 minutes.  Then come back and knead the dough.   Then bulk rise it but not more than double.   

Might also want to bake lower in the oven if using shiny pans or just switch to darker tins.  Good to get the heat under the baking loaf.   :) 

Ford's picture

From your recipe, you have a dry dough, 60% hydration.  I suggest you try an additional 50 to 75g water.


drogon's picture

A tablespoon?

Start weighing it. 8g for a large loaf. I think you might have too much.

And a little more water - not much more for a standard UK loaf but take it to 350g.


therealboss's picture

I'll do my best to give you an update.

First, oven temp is in my first post, Gas Mark 7 (From google this is 425F or 218C)

After cutting deeper into the loaf I found that is was not cooked in the centre (raw dough), so what did I do that was different this time?

I baked it at Gas Mark 7 and all the others I have made have been at Gas Mark 6, all the others turned out cooked and tasted good unlike the one last night in the photo above. The only real problem I thought I had was that I expected them to rise more and maybe a little more fluffy inside.

Last night I also tried to drop 2 ice cubes into a try under the bread pan in the oven but to get a tray under the shelf I had to lift the try with the bread on up. So this loaf was sitting closer to the centre of the oven and all the other ones have been baked on the next level down.

Tonight I'm going to try Gas Mark 5, I have also used 25ml more water.


I guess really I should only make one change at a time.


I'll start a new thread tonight once I have baked the bread and I'll add some photos.



Thanks for all your advice.





therealboss's picture

Well tonight's is better, 325ml water and Gas Mark 6 for 30mins.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

makes it easier to follow (up) as the learning curve climbs.  :)

About the steam... might want to try different ideas and setting the steam pan to the side instead of under the loaf. An old pan can even sit on the bottom off to the side.  One cup of boiling water or put 1 1/2 cold water in with the pre-heat.  When boiling, put in the loaf pan.  Another thing to try is covering the loaf with a double thick aluminium foil tent for the first 15 minutes.   Try shaping foil over an inverted tin to make head room for the oven spring.   Pinch snugly onto the baking rim to trap in steam . Go ahead and up the water to 350ml or a little more if sticking to strong bread flour.  The dough can rise more if there is more moisture.

Edit:  The loaf is looking better but still too pale and perhaps not done inside.  A loaf at the same weight takes 40 minutes at 210°C in an electric mini oven with timer.   I would be tempted to put the loaf back into the oven without the pan immediately after seeing the pale lower crust.  

If you can weigh your salt, aim for 8 to 10g  (1.6 to 2%.) Sea salt tends to be lighter than table salt in weight.  Not sure what 1.5 Tbs of sea salt weighs.  But too little salt can also affect the rise.  

Reynard's picture

Whether the crust is setting before the bread's had a chance to spring...

I've had similar problems in the past (have electric oven, no mains gas here in the boonies). My basic bread is pretty well much similar to your recipe, except I add about 20g of lard and use the dried active as opposed to instant yeast. The quantities are more or less ok - don't think that's the issue. Though I'd recommend a cheap digital scale. It helps to weigh things like yeast and salt - makes things more predictable, that's all.

Anyways, you could try baking your bread under a cloche... It's a bit heath robinson, but if you've got a flat baking sheet and a large stock pot that fits over your loaf tin, you can give it a go. Preheat your oven to 230C (gas 8) then when it's up to temperature, put the loaf tin on the baking sheet, clap the stock pot on the whole shebang and pop it in the oven. If you've got a pizza stone, use that instead of the baking sheet, but put it in the oven while it heats up.

For that quantity of dough, 25 mins at 230C under the cloche, reduce the oven temp to 200C, remove cloche and bake for a further 20 mins.

Give it a go and see whether it makes any difference :-) The moisture content of the dough will generate steam under the cloche and will give you the rise you're looking for before the crust sets.

P.S. You must be another UK bod. I'm in North East Cambridgeshire btw :-)

therealboss's picture

Well my new toy arrived, a food mixer with dough hook so I thought I would give it an outing.

I read somewhere that if using a mixer with dough hook to use a little more water and as it was suggested above as well I thought, why not.


So made my mix with 350ml water in the mixer and only 1 tsp of yeast, I mixed it with the hook until I felt the dough was ready to be left to rise. Although I felt it was nice and stretchy it wasn't as firm as when I made it yesterday by hand with less water, but with the extra water I guess that's right.

  Well it's a bit of a mess, it didn't rise, it spilt over the edge of the tin.


It's cooling now so until I get to cut a slice I will not know how much of a failure it's been.