The Fresh Loaf

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Bread just not rising enough

PAnson's picture

Bread just not rising enough

Two attempts at same basic white bread recipe.  Same results.  Great crust, great texture, great flavor.  Made dough let it rise in electric oven with light on.  Let it double---took about 2 hours.  Punched it down, reformed it.  Bake in the oven for second rise for about 2 hours.  Took it out, cut it in two.  Let it rest for 10 minutes.  Moulded the two pieces of dough and placed in loaf pans.  Back into the oven with the just the light on for another 2 hours.  That is 6 hours of rising total.  Loaf never puffed up above the edge of the loaf pan like I would like it.  Baked @ 400 for 35 minutes.


pmccool's picture

What is the temperature of your kitchen?  What is the temperature inside the oven when the light is on? 

How are you gauging the dough's doubling?  Is it in a container with markings that let you see when the dough has doubled?  Or are you doing a visual check?

What is the size of your loaf pans?  How much dough (by weight) goes into each pan?  How much does the dough fill the pan at first, and then when you are ready to bake?

Here are the reasons for the questions:

1. You mention times for the first and second risings.  Yeast can't tell time but it is very sensitive to temperature.  The dough will rise much faster if the temperature is 80F than it will if the temperature is 65F.  If going by the clock without considering temperatures, dough can be under-fermented or over-fermented at the end of whatever time is chosen.

2. If the dough is in a bowl, the bowl's shape makes it extremely difficult to visually confirm how much the dough has expanded.  Add to that our tendency to expect a doubling in all directions, which really produces an 8-fold expansion (2 x 2 x 2).  It's easiest if you can put the dough in a container having sides that are straigh up and down, preferably transparent or translucent so that you can see the dough.  You can then mark the position of the top of the dough mass and place another mark that is twice as high, allowing you to see when the dough has reached the second mark and is truly doubled.  It will look a lot smaller than you expect.  As an alternative, you can use a container that is premarked, so long as you note where the dough must reach when it has doubled.

3. Pans are sized to hold a certain quantity of dough.  An 8" x 4" pan holds less than a 9" x 5" pan.  If the recipe you use produces a quantity of dough that is less than the pan is intended to hold, the bread won't produce a domed top above the pan rim, or may even not fill the pan entirely.  Pans introduce their own challenges for assessing when the dough is adequately expanded and ready for baking.  One simple and fairly reliable method for checking is to press a finger tip into the dough about 1/2".  When the finger is withdrawn, one of three things will be observed.  One, the dough springs back in a matter of seconds, completely filling the dimple, indicating that more fermentation is required.  Two, the dough springs back more slowly and doesn't quite fill the dimple, indicating that the bread is ready to bake.  Or, three, the dough does not spring back at all (or worse, collapses), indicating that the dough has overfermented.

That's plenty of ground to cover for now, so let us know what the answers are.  That will make it easier to help.


Laurentius's picture

Watch the dough, not the clock! The may be over proofed? When you punch it down you might be taking all of the gas out and yeast has eaten everything available? I remember following formulas that called for a 3 hour bulk fermentation and a 3 hour final fermentation, but after trials and failures, what worked for me was a 2hr bulk  a 40min bench rest, re-shape and a 1hr final fermentation. Observation is very important.

Sticky's picture

I have also found the inside of the microwave oven  a wonderful environment for the dough to rise in a hour or even less for the second rise.