My bread is flat

My bread is flat

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.

Our Daily, sourdough, bread

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.

My bread is 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.

My bread is flat

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.

My bread is flat

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  1. I only make bread with packet yeast but I do do it in two stages. I find that if I let the dough rise too much the first time that the bread is less satisfactory. Sour dough sounds so much trickier.

    1. The processes for both are pretty much the same, the real difference is that it takes a day to make sourdough, but you can make bread with the yeast packet in a few hours. I don’t find sourdough harder, just longer. I love the process and the bread tastes so good. Thank you for sharing what you do.

  2. Hi Leanne, I am following with much interest your sourdough bread baking. My experience is… I feed the starter usually at 5pm, at around 8 pm I make the dough NOT FOLDING IT YET, I gently form it to have a round dough, covering it with a wet towel over night. In the morning , I fold it like 3 times depending on what I add into the folding like nuts, than I put a towel in the bowl with spreading flour around it and let it sit for like 2 hours. Heating up the oven to 450 F or like 230 C. Transforming it into a cooking pot having laid out with parchment paper, after like a 10 min rest and bake it with a lid on for 20 mins and 30 mins taking off the lid, another 10 mins or so just baking it by taking it out of the pot, in order to get a good crust. If your bread get’s to flat, maybe it was resting for a bit to long or maybe your dough is a bit too wet? I always get wonderful results that way and I am baking since two years. Happy baking and let me know how it goes.

    1. That is a different way of doing Cornelia, I do a lot more folding than three, about 5 over a couple of hours. I have seen people who just do three. I really think it was over proofed. Though one thing I am learning with sourdough is that there are so many different ways of doing it. Which I guess makes sense.
      Thank you for sharing what you do Cornelia.

  3. I haven’t baked sourdough bread for a long time. I can see why I never had good success. You almost have to be able to speak the bread’s language. It’s very intuitive.
    When I bake bread now it is in a machine which I should have replaced long ago. I honestly think it is a lemon. I have to play around with the amount of yeast because the machine lets it rise too long. I end up with what is call mushroom bread. So I understand that sinking feeling! When I realize I have put in too much yeast I am really disappointed. πŸ˜’

    1. I don’t know about that Lena, I think it is about being relaxed and not worrying too much about it. I just have fun with it.
      I had a machine, but I was happy with it. It is strange how much of of ourselves we put into bread. I used to always been so disappointed, like bread is something people have been making for centuries and I can’t do it.
      Thank you Lena, I hope you get inspired here.

    2. Liked — “I had a machine, but I was happy with it. It is strange how much of of ourselves we put into bread. I used to always been so disappointed, like bread is something people have been making for centuries and I can’t do it.
      Thank you Lena, I hope you get inspired here.”

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