Baking sourdough bread has been something I’ve been doing for a while and occasionally I still have one that is flat. So the question is why?
These days my bread is usually pretty good. I have worked out how to get it to rise and taste good. However, sometimes, especially when I decide to mess with what I’m doing, I get a flat loaf of bread.
How it should look.
What I normally do
Usually I get my starter going about lunch time or early afternoon. Mine takes around 2 to 3 hours before it is ready after being fed.
Then I make the dough. I try to get the process going before 6pm at night. That way the stretching and folding is done before 8pm. Look, I’m just saying I like to get to bed early, alright.
Once it is ready I put the cover over it and leave it overnight to do the bulk rise. At this time of the year I can leave it on the bench, but as summer approaches I will have to put it in the fridge. It can get very warm here overnight and it will prove too soon.
In the morning I either warm it up or I get it ready to shape for the second proof. Once it is ready it goes into the oven and we have fresh bread for lunch.
What’s wrong with that?
Well nothing really.
Except if I sleep in then it takes too long then the bread isn’t ready for lunch. So I thought, why not try it another way.
A different way
That means doing the bulk rise in the afternoon, then shaping it, and doing the second rise overnight in the fridge.
So that is what I did yesterday and this morning. However, the bread was flat.
It is always disappointing when it fails. You know as soon as you lift the lid off the dutch oven how it will be. There is a sinking feeling when you take off the lid and see it really didn’t rise.
So then the question is why?
So now I have to work out why
So there are a couple of possibilities.
1 – I let it go for too long in the bulk rise. I suspect this was the problem. It looked really puffy and bubbly. More so than it usually does.
2 – After taking it out of the fridge not allowing it enough time to warm up to room temperature.
Now I have to work out which. The fact that the crumb was really dense with almost no holes makes me think it was the first one. I have seen that before and the last time it was the same thing, over proved and flat loaf.
What to do
Really, I need to experiment and see what the problem was. It is logical to do everything the same except not let the bulk rise go for too long.
Stick around and I will report tomorrow on whether that was the problem.