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Starter and dough rises, but stays flat in oven

yeasterman's picture

Starter and dough rises, but stays flat in oven

Hi all, I have a common problem which I hope the experts on this forum can help with.  When I make sourdough bread with a preferment, everything seems to go fine up to the point of baking in the oven - the preferment and dough all rise properly.  But once I put it in the oven, the bread barely rises and it ends up looking flat.  It still tastes good and is quite soft (I use 70% hydration) but clearly it could be better...

What would be the reason for this?  I live in Hong Kong, which is a pretty hot and humid country, in case it's relevant.

gavinc's picture

It may be that you under kneaded and didn't develop enough air cells to be filled during baking. It's also possible that your dough was too soft-did you use the right kind of flour, with an adequate amount of protein? Over proofing can also cause flatness.



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

the hydration or water and shortening the rise times.  Don't let the dough rise completely before getting it into the oven.  Let the oven have a chance to do the last of the rising.  Everything goes faster with warmth and humidity.  You can also use ice water in the recipe to slow things down.  

How is your flour packaged and stored?  I found that with freshly opened plastic wrapped flour packages, the flour was very thirsty.  So initial mixing needed more water than average.  After the flour sat in the bowl or open on the shelf for a few hours collecting water from the air, less water was needed in the recipe. If the room humidity is higher than the dough hydration, the dough can absorb moisture from the air.  It is just something to consider when exposing the flour and dough with high humidity and temps. 

Benito's picture

The most likely thing especially given your environment is that your dough is overfermented by the time it reaches the oven.  You can try to slow your dough down by doing several things, reduce the amount of preferment that you use, use cold water to mix your dough or just shorten the time that you do bulk fermentation.  I suspect that if you do one of all three of those things, you’ll have a better result next time.


yeasterman's picture

Just wanted to say thanks a lot for all your responses.  I attempted another bake yesterday and it was alot more successful!  It rose a lot better this time.  I used less fermentation time and coincidentally a different flour given my usual brand was out of stock.  Pic of bread: