The Fresh Loaf

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Newb Question - bread not rising...

oldguy00's picture

Newb Question - bread not rising...

Hi all, I have what appears to be a fairly active starter, about 2 weeks old, fed daily, and doubles in size after feeding.

But when I use it to try making sourdough, using AP flour, it hardly rises at all.

I've read a couple of things that I'm confused about...

Some places say that you should put in the fridge overnight.  Others to put in a warm place to help rise...   Aren't those completely opposite?

Not sure what to try next...  :(

Dave Cee's picture
Dave Cee

I are one, too. And also a relative newby.

There are many variables in the sourdough process and the solution to your problem will require an exchange of information. I'll start you off:

What is the average temperature in your dough preparation area?

My kitchen is 68 to 72°F this time of year, too cold for my own process. I compensate by keeping the (working) dough in my oven with just the light on at a temp of around 80°F, perfect for my mostly white bread flour recipe. As you may know there are many additional variables which will determine the best working temp for your recipes.

OK, your turn.

Best wishes. Dave

wally's picture

When you are feeding your starter, either as a build for a future bake or as a regular feeding, it should be left out at room temp (ideally around 76 degrees, but if it’s cooler just realize it will take more time for the starter to fully ripen).

Typically your levain (starter) is fed about 12-14 hrs before using when it will be fully ripened. Again if your room temp is cooler it may take longer, if it’s warmer it may take somewhat less time. Trail and error will teach you how long in advance to do your build.

If you are not using it to bake on a daily basis, it’s best kept in your refrigerator, which will slow down (retard) the yeast so that it consumes the sugars in the dough much slower. I normally feed my starter just once a week, and then after about 5 hrs at room temp, refrigerate it. I also feed it a slightly higher percentage of flour than water to make sure the yeast have a week’s worth of food when slowly working in the fridge.

Good luck!