The Fresh Loaf

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Saggy loaves

NorwichAl's picture

Saggy loaves

Hi everyone,

I've been baking bread a couple of times a week for months now but am beset by saggy loaves. They go into the banneton nice and round but seem to puddle as soon as they leave the basket for the oven (see pic). They taste nice enough and the crust is good, but I'd like them to be a bit more aesthetically pleasing. Current recipe:

  • 350g shipton mill organic white
  • 100g wheatcraft strong granary
  • 315ml water
  • 3g instant yeast
  • 8g salt

4 hours first rise, 1 hour second rise in basket, 45 mins bake at 200c (fan) with water tray underneath. Kneading is 3 minutes in a Kenwood chef with the dough hook.

I've tried dropping the moisture content down but it starts tasting a bit mealy. I've followed a number of YouTube tutorials on bread shaping but still get the sagging problem when transferring to the oven.


Any tips gratefully received,

All the best,


Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

I have never used a mixer for dough, but 3 minutes sounds very short? Maybe your gluten is not properly developed? You do have quite a long rise which would help, but having good gluten development is very important for the loaf to retain its structure.

DanAyo's picture

Your problem is over fermentation. I know, because I have experienced that for years.



NorwichAl's picture

Definitely food for thought there - thank you both for your tips. I like those bread videos Danny - I'd quite like one as a screensaver ?.

I will try a bit more kneading + less fermenting time and report back. Fingers crossed no more pancakes.

All the best,


DanAyo's picture

To better control your fermentation, take a LOOK AT THIS.

Benny has worked very successfully with the aliquot and has posted a great LINK HERE.

Try bulk fermenting to 30%, Absolutely no more than 50%. Then shape and refrigerate overnight. Bake cold straight out of the fridge in a preheated oven. Let us know how it turns out.

suave's picture

At a regular room temprerature, in 20-20 °C range, this requires about 2½ hours fermentation, and about an hour of proof.  Also, you need to steam better.

albacore's picture

Probably not enough gluten development. I would reckon that in a Kenwood with the standard dough hook (which is a bit rubbish) you are probably looking at about 9 minutes kneading time.

The best thing is to start looking for a good windowpane in the dough from about 6 minutes on. Search for "dough windowpane test" if you are not familiar.

This is yeasted dough, so you are looking for a good bulk increase (80-100%) and an overnight proof is not normally appropriate (risk of overfermentation).

You haven't quoted fermentation temperature - this will have a massive effect on bulk and final proof times.

And lastly, try and avoid the fan setting on the oven - you are much better with top and bottom heat, if available.