The Fresh Loaf

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Proofing issues need help

FrogPoint's picture

Proofing issues need help

Last year I started baking bread with sourdough starter.  I never did have a problem proofing, but now all I can produce are hockey pucks.  4 times in a row.   I would really appreciate any guidance on how I can fix my problem 


My routine:


Freshly feed starter the day before and water float test in morning

mix flour and water at 9:00 am autolyse for 1 hour. 65% hydration recipe

add salt and starter.  Do 1 Lamination 20 minutes later

2 S&F after 20 mins

Put in oven with light on and a pot with steaming boiling water

Between 3:00 - 4:00 pm bread was finished proofing - fluffy doubling in size

put in banneton in refrigerator over night bake first thing in the morning.


Summer came and I used the same recipe, brand of bread flour and process.  Excepted I based the initial proofing on the finger dent test. My bread was finished proofing 2 hours earlier but not fluffy or doubling.  I chocked it up for the temp difference and took a rest during summer.  Fall came and another hockey puck with similar early proofing using the finger dent test.  I thought perhaps I starved my starter too much and created a “rapid” rise strain.  So I started over with a freeze dried starter and feed for 2 weeks.  The starter was nice a fluffy and floated but I ended up with another hockey puck using the same recipe but I did not put it in the oven with light on while proofing.  I wanted to monitor it closely.  Again 1:00 slightly over proofed using the finger dent test but dough was not soft and fluffy.   I’m not sure what I am doing wrong.  

happycat's picture

So you do a bulk fermentation step (which you call proofing) after the kneading phase, but no shaping and proofing step after? ie patting down the initial rise, shaping, then proofing.

Is that usual for you? I

phaz's picture

Any and all starter info needed. 6 hrs at elevated temps seems like a very long time to double. Enjoy!