My shaped loaves don’t seem to rise much before it’s time for the oven. What am I doing wrong?

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In our method, proportionally more of the rise comes from “oven spring,” rather than “proofing.”  Traditional bread methods get more proofing rise than we do.  Proofing is the time that the shaped loaf spends just sitting and waiting for the oven.  Oven spring is the sudden expansion of gasses within the pores of the loaf that occurs upon contact with the hot oven air and the stone or other hot surface that you might be using.

Don’t be surprised if you don’t see a whole lot of rise during proofing with our method. You’ll still get a nice rise during the oven spring, so long as you didn’t over-work the dough while shaping.  Make sure your oven’s up to temperature by checking with a thermometer like this one on Amazon.  If the oven is too cool or too hot, you won’t get proper oven spring.

If you’re still not happy with the final result– if it seems to dense and under-risen, check our our “Dense Crumb” FAQ.

More in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and our other books.

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292 thoughts on “My shaped loaves don’t seem to rise much before it’s time for the oven. What am I doing wrong?

  1. I just made my second batch of brioche…the first batch (same dough) turned out dense with a biscuit texture so when I made the batch this morning I let it rest longer and baked in a little longer and still got the same result. They are tasty but more like a honey raisin biscuit than raisin brioche. Did my yeast fail?

    • Hi MegBaum,

      Which book are you using? The brioche from HBin5 is made with whole wheat flour so it may be a different texture than you are used to. The brioche from ABin5 is much lighter than that and doesn’t usually fit the description you have given? How large of a loaf are you making?

      Did the batch rise in the bucket?

      Give me a few more details about your dough and bread and I will try to figure this out with you. Thanks, Zoë

  2. I made the recipe from ABin5 with KA all purpose. I used a muffin tin and made only 6 to test each time. The dough did not rise much if any in the bucket so I suspected trouble from the beginning. I temped my water and it was 100 degrees when I added the yeast.

  3. This has probably been mentioned, but in my experience with this method, the best oven spring is achieved with deep, frequent slashes. The deeper they are, and the more you have, the more spring you will get. I gave up trying to do good, deep slashes with a knife. I use scissors.

  4. I’m going to try the slow, fridge rise for a loaf I’m making tonight. I shaped the dough this morning and put it back in the fridge. Here’s my question: I ran out of parchment paper, so I put the loaf on aluminum foil. Will that be ok?

    • Bill: We do agree about deep, though I’m able to get that with a serrated bread knife.

      Now, about that aluminum foil, I’m pretty sure that’s going to stick pretty badly, haven’t tried it but that’s my assumption. Jeff

  5. Jeff: I’m wondering if my dough is a bit too wet to work well with the knife. The scissors work, but the slashes often close back up before I can get it in the oven. I use 2 lbs KA bread flour and 3.3 cups of water for the master recipe.

    As it turns out, the aluminum foil worked beautifully.

    • Bill: If it’s looking wetter than what you see in our videos, you’re right, click on the videos tab above. Adjust the water as needed. Jeff

  6. It’s a little hard to tell from the videos, but mine seems wetter than that. I’ll try cutting it back a bit.

    Another question: What exactly does the stone do for us? I always cook on a stone, with parchment paper (or foil) and my bread turns out fine, but my bottom crust is always white and soft. It seems to me I would get the same results with a pan. What am I missing? Thanks

    • Hi Bill,

      The stone regulates the temperature in the oven and conducts heat to the bread. But, if you don’t let the stone pre-heat long enough it will actually prevent your dough from rising as nicely as it can. Be sure to let it pre-heat for about 30 minutes if you are getting a pale bottom crust. I have a stone that is very thick and it actually needs about 45 minutes to reach its full temperature.

      Thanks, Zoë

  7. I was able to figure out part of my problem just by reading this page – have been using table salt at the measurement for kosher salt, so will change that with the next batch. I am left with one question – I have been using KAF bread flour instead of all purpose flour, but am not getting a high rise. I thought I would get a higher rise with bread flour, because of the increased protein. BTW, I don’t care how high they rise, these loaves taste so superior to anything else I’ve ever made, I will eat them just the way they are – just think they’d look nicer if they rose more.

  8. Lisa: One thing to try is a longer rest. In the 1st book, we opted for a short, short rest time, assuming most people would make lighter breads in that book, and a long rest time would scare people off this new hobby!

    But many people have said that they prefer the lighter, higher result you get with longer rest times. Try 60, or even 90 minutes and see what you think.

    Jeff

  9. Hello–I read through everything here and not sure my particular problem is addressed. Although I am quite impressed with all the questions and ANSWERS! Yeah!

    I am using HBi5. Just made my second batch of the 10 grain bread.
    My problem: The bread is actually quite tasty but DENSE as a rock, almost. :-) AND had to bake longer (I have an oven therm.) because it was still sticky inside. I can NEVER get the bread internal temp up to 200. It does not seem to rise in or out of the oven. ???
    Help!
    Thanks Zoe and Jeff!

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      Not sure if you have had a chance to check out this post on Dense loaves: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=141.

      Is your loaf larger than 1-pound? If so, you will need to let it rest and bake longer.

      Is your kitchen particularly cool? If so, you may need to let the loaf rest longer.

      Does the dough seem very wet or dry, compared to other doughs you have made from our books?

      What brand of 10 grain cereal are you using?

      Thanks! Zoë

  10. Wow—what service you all provide! Thank you!
    I will answer from the bottom up.
    I use Bob’s, as you suggest, 10 grain cereal.
    The dough seems a little dry. Although this is the first one I have tried. I am passionate about multi grains so tried this first. I think I may try the master recipe.
    My kitchen is very cool.
    The loaf is probably about 1 or so pounds. pretty close. I can certainly let it rest longer and it did need baking longer. I could never get it to 200 degrees internally.

    I did read the post on dense loaves but will check out all the posts and comments there.

    thanks so much! You have a lovely following and certainly deserve it. Blessings to you both!

    I will let you know how the next one goes.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      You are so welcome, we want everyone to have great success and love baking bread!

      I would start with adding a bit more water to the dough, it sounds like it is a little too dry. The easiest way to do this is by mixing it in a stand mixer. Start with a couple of tablespoons, but you may need as much as a 1/4 cup, depending on how much dough is left. Let it rest again to allow the dough to absorb the water.

      Does the dough feel wobbly and a bit puffy when you put it in the oven? If not, you might benefit from a longer rise. I’d increase it by about 20 minutes. This will also help your bread bake through at the normal rate. If your loaf is a bit bigger you can try increasing the baking time by 10-15 minutes. This may also help you get it to 200 degrees.

      Do you bake on a stone? If so, make sure you are preheating it long enough, especially if it is a thick one. 30+ minutes for most stones to get fully heated.

      The size of the bucket won’t matter.

      Enjoy! Zoë

  11. PS–do you think it matters that I have my bread stored in a container that has the capacity for 12 or so quarts? (It was what I could find, I may purchase the Cambro)
    thanks!

  12. Zoe–thanks tons! I will do what you suggest. I have a new to me Kitchen Aid, given to me by a very kind friend so I will try that.
    I do use a stone and do heat it up for at least 30-40 minutes.

    My dough is definitely NOT wobbly and/or puffy when I put it in the oven so I will also go for a longer rise along with more water.

    I will let you know how it goes!!

    blessings, Elizabeth in Oregon

  13. Hi Zoe & Jeff, first off thank you for such a great book. It brought back a family tradition of bread baking.

    Quick question: my first loaf is always amazing, but the subsequent loaves have less oven spring and tend to be more dense.

    Yeast is fresh, water is spot on 100 degs, and flour is 11% protein. Oven is on temp. I noticed that that after the first loaf, the refrigerated dough is much flatter with fewer air bubbles.

    I don’t expect the dough to be the big, bubbly mass it is in the beginning but want to double-check.

    Many thanks,
    David

  14. Hi Zoe—I think that I may have figured out my problem! Yeah!!!!

    This time I took the temp of the water to make sure it was 100 degrees and it was warmer than I expected which led me to think that I was way off before! I did not measure the temp before because I thought I knew what it should be by feel! Oh my gosh!!

    Also, it is wetter than my other batches. :-)

    So, I mixed up the master batch and it is looking good, poofing up!!!! I am so excited!

    I also used the Kitchen Aid for the first time. A very kind friend gave it to me and I had not used it yet. I think I will be a new convert. WOW, how easy!! I love it.

    Anyway, I will let you know what happens in the final baking but wanted to let you know that I am feeling very hopeful.

    thanks again for your kind response and good advice. You two are awesome!!

    Elizabeth in Oregon

  15. Oh my gosh….it is so yummy!!!!! I made the master recipe with oats as part of the flour. It turned out great!!!! I am so happy!

    Thanks for your help!!!

  16. Love the book. I got it for Christmas from my husband and we have enjoyed one small loaf already. I decided to make a larger loaf for my second. It is currently rising in the kitchen. My question though is about how much it is spreading out while rising. It is looking pretty flat. Do you think that I didn’t add enough flour in the beginning. Thanks so much. My family and I are very excited about this easy way to make bread. We’ve tried the “old” way and yikes!

    • Kerri: a number of possible explanations–

      1. didn’t “gluten-cloak” enough in the shaping step
      2. Too long a rest time– it’s possible to over-do it.
      3. yes, not enough flour. Which of our recipes are you using? which book and what page, so we can better help you?

      Jeff

  17. I am in the Artisan Bread 5 minutes a Day pg. 26

    The loaf spread out from right at the beginning so I don’t think it was from too long of a rest.

    I think I did the “gluten cloak” correctly. I watched some of the videos and it looks about what I did. I will pay closer attention to that next time.

    After cooking my loaf, which was 3/4 a full batch of dough, it was 8 inches wide and 3 inches tall. I’m not sure if that is just the way it turns out or not.

    From watching the videos I do think my dough is wetter than what I saw. Mine wasn’t as dough like. If I try adding a little bit more flour how much should I start out with adding?

    Thanks for you help. My family loved the bread and we had it for our Panini sandwiches and they were a hit.

    • Hi Kerri,

      You can try adding an additional 1/4 cup to the remaining dough and see if that tightens it up at all. If not, add another 1/4 cup. Let the dough sit after adding the flour so that the new flour can absorb the excess water.

      When you measured the flour did you do scoop and sweep? Also be sure not to aerate the flour too much before scooping.

      Thanks, Zoë

  18. Hi, I am making Brioche on page 189. After initial rise, I weighted the dough and it was more than 4 lbs. It says this recipe is for four 1-pound loaves so I don’t know what went wrong. I measured all the ingredients based on the book… please help me with solving this problem.

    • G: How much more than 4 pounds did it weigh? The four-pound number is only an approximation, so unless you measured wrong, I wouldn’t worry about it. How is the brioche you’ve made from this dough? And the dough’s consistency? Assuming those are good, you are fine. Jeff

  19. Hi Jeff, thank you so much for your reply. My Brioche came out pretty good. Somehow the top surface cracked like a top of a baguette though. Can you give me suggestion how to correct this? Thank you in advance.

  20. G: Make sure you’re giving it the full resting time we recommend. If your house is very cold (less than 66 degrees F), give it longer.

    Otherwise the only way to avoid this might be to slash the loaf like a peasant bread– use a sharp serrated knife to cut a 1/4 to 1/2-inch deep cross into the top. Cut straight down, not at an angle. Should prevent the unpredictable breaking in the crust surface. Jeff

  21. Just some thoughts on proofing..(and apologies if I am repeating someone from above) – I have recently taken to proofing my loaf-pan loaves in a dehydrator set on low (95 deg F), if I don’t have a lot of time. This definitely speeds up the process, but needs to be watched as the yeast gets zealous fast. Also, have had good luck with over-heating the oven first. For example: for the whole wheat enriched bread from your second book, I set the oven to 450 to preheat, but when I actually put the bread in, I lower it to 350. That way the heat lost from the door opening isn’t that big of a deal, and it seems to result in a very nice oven spring, which I wasn’t getting before.
    Many thanks, again, for your incredible books. Have been baking my family’s bread since September 2008 because of you! Thank you!

  22. Love the bread. Recently I had an issue with the dough spreading. I use King Arthur bread flour. My house is 66 in the winter. I am in Michigan so I used the oven with the light on for proofing. Turns out my problem was not the house, or the flour but old yeast!

  23. So, today was the first time I made my dough from the book. I used a Brioche recepe from the first book. I was out and forgot to put my dough in the fridge after 2 hours–it was 3 hours… Dough was expanded fully in the 6Q container so I opened it and went down and put it in the fridge. Next time I checked, again it was expanded!!! Room temp. rising was 3 hours instead of 2… Is this normal to happen? or I really should “after mix rising” to be strictly 2 hours?! OR should I get bigger container?! Sorry for asking you such a basic question…

    • Hi Remi,

      This has happened to me as well with the brioche recipe. Not every time, but once in a while the yeast get excited and rises beyond the bucket. It has more to do with the warm temperature than it does the amount of time. A bigger container would be a good insurance, but not always necessary.

      Thanks, Zoë

  24. Again, me! I have been resting my brioche dough in dusted pan for about 30min. but it doesn’t seem like rasing… Do I suppose to cover it with wrap?! (I’ve done that with regular bread/roll recipes) Room temp is about 73F., so it’s not cold here at all…

    • Remi: for short rises in reasonably humid climates, you don’t need to cover. For 60 or 90 min rises, can cover.

      In our method, you get proportionally more rise from oven spring than from proofing, so not surprised you don’t see much at 30 min.

      But 40 min is our minimum rest time. Jeff

  25. I rised my brioche dough until making big puff and muffin-top on the edge of pan. It took for almost 3 hours. I baked it after that for 35min. Guess what?! It’s just fine with flaky bouncy soft texture!!!!! We all love it :D I could never never do this before with any recipes!!! I am WAY TOO happy to have your books!!! This is my first bread from your book but now I feel comfortable making other recipes from your books!!! Seriously!!!
    I don’t know what it caused taking so long to rise, but can I rise, whatever dough is, rise until it looks good?! OR does it mess up with real texture of bread?! What could be the cause of not rising? Yeast?!

    • Remi: Our initial rise is 2 hours in the bucket, unless you’ve decreased the yeast or used cold water, in which case all bets are off.

      Our proofing stage (once formed) doesn’t account for all that much rising; we get proportionally more of our rise from oven spring. So not to worry. Jeff

    • Remi:

      Proofing: the resting time after loaf is shaped; in our method there’s only modest volume increase here.
      Oven spring: the volume increase you get when loaf contacts the hot stone and oven air. Proportionally more of our volume increase happens here. Jeff

  26. I’m using 8x4x3 (williamsonoma’s) loaf pan to make my brioche and buttermilk loaves.
    Both has been great texture and taste and everything, but for rising, I dont’ know if it’s enough or not. When it’s ready to get into the oven (preheated as instructed), how much rise I should expect?! Like muffin-top over hanging at the edge of the pan? or just making a dorm without making hanging? I usually rising them on the stove preheated oven, so that it’s warm surface, but still after the resting time for brioche and buttermilk loaf were really really small rise. So, I have to rise 3 hours for brioche and almost 2 hours for buttermilk loaf. Result is really good, but I’m still wondering if I should put them in the oven after the resting time in the book.

    Yeast is just bought and I use 2 packages.
    I’m creating warmer kitchen to rise easier.
    First time dough resting time is 2 hours in room temp. and see it rises in the bucket nicely…

    I’m sorry for writing you guys so many times on the row… I’m really a bigginner baker and I really want to learn from you guys!!! Thank you for your time!!

    • Hi Remi,

      When you let the dough rise for 3 hours do you get a better rise in the oven or is it about the same?

      Thanks, Zoë

  27. Zoe, I actually watached your video for brioche and I noticed that I was using dough fook and the dough after mixing was totally different. I guess I didn’t mix enough?! Previous all mine were lumpy dough. I didn’t know how much mixing would be enough. So, I made another batch today. Still it looked little, so I waited for 2 hours. It looked nicely high dorm. Then, after baking, it was even higher!!! It was huge tall brioche… So, your video helped me a lot!!! Should I mix like that with buttermilk bread, too?! with paddle and everything???

    • Hi Remi,

      That is so wonderful, so glad the video was helpful! You certainly can mix all the doughs in the mixer if that seems easier for you. We just don’t like the extra clean up time, but sometimes it works a bit better for people.

      Cheers, Zoë

  28. I feel bad asking you guys questions all the time… OK, this time I made foccacia bread from the first book. My dough wants to shrink when I try to flat them and very hard to do… Is there any tip for it? Thank you!!

    • Hi Remi,

      If it won’t let you stretch it out then just let it sit for about 10 minutes and it will relax and be easier to deal with.

      Thanks, Zoë

  29. Apologies if this issue is found elsewhere but I’m looking for a technique to avoid major splits and cracks in my boules or loaves. I shape quickly, score the top, and put in oven. I get tremendous oven spring and a good crust and crumb; however, I usually also get major cracks and splits in the bread. How can I get the spring and the crust without major cracks?

    • Rob: Are you slashing deeply with a serrated knife? Which recipe (page number, and which book) are you seeing this with? Jeff

  30. I have made 7 of your recipes and am sold on this technique. I really love the short amount of time I need to put in. My problem is the bread is dense with small holes. I get an excellent initial 2 hr rise. I have used a IR thermometer to ck oven temp but averaging side and back wall temps and tried convection mode. I also tried longer bake times and slightly higher oven temps. My room temp is about 66-67 degrees.

    What order of troubleshooting should I try?
    – greater rest time?
    – increase rest temperature
    – add water to dough
    – get oven thermometer?
    – try stone?

  31. Rye Bread Problem: I get good results making your basic boule or baguette, but rye loaves always come out small and a bit dense. Last time, I tried (for two 1-pound loaves) increasing the all-purpose flour to 3 cups (instead of 2 3/4) and boosting the yeast to 2 1/2 tsp. instead of 2 1/4. I also let the dough rest for longer times both in the bowl and on the peel — but the loaf was still only 7 1/2 inches long, 3 inches high at the highest point, and about 4 1/2 inches wide. I’m using Arrowhead Mills Organic Rye Flour, the only rye I have found in local supermarkets. Please help! I love rye bread, but I’m close to giving up.

    • We have ryes in both our books, which do you mean, “Artisan Bread,” or “Healthy Bread”? And page number of recipe? Jeff

  32. OK, great. Any chance you’re using bleached AP rather than unbleached? When you say you’ve rested the shaped loaf for “longer,” do you mean 60 (or even 90) minutes? That’s where I’d start. Also check our FAQs page, click on “Dense Crumb, what am I doing wrong?”

    If you’re looking for the rye of our childhoods, it was made with “light” rye, that is, rye which is depleted of bran and germ. The Arrowhead Mills product has much more whole grain than that, and yields a denser, smaller loaf unless you use less rye (which is another option).

    Are you measuring the way we do, see video at http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/04/28/how-we-measure-our-flour-using-the-scoop-and-sweep-method

  33. I am using unbleached flour, and I do scoop it — although on your video I couldn’t see much difference between the way you said to scoop it and the way you said NOT to do it. Last time around, I let the loaf rest for 90 minutes and it came out the size I described in my first message, which was the biggest rye loaf I’d produced so far. Until then, each loaf was so flat I had to slice it horizontally. I read the ‘dense crumb’ FAQs and didn’t find anything relevant.

  34. As I said in my first posting on April 21 (which has lots of details), I’m using Arrowhead Mills Organic Rye Flour, the only one I could find in my local supermarkets.

    • Hi Andy,

      Thanks, I see the thread now! It seems like your dough, for whatever reason, is lacking gluten structure. It may be helpful to use a couple tablespoons of vital wheat gluten. You could get the same effect by increasing the AP or switching to Bread flour, but then you are diluting the flavor of the rye. If you do this, you may need to let the dough rest longer before baking, because the dough will be drier than normal.

      Vital wheat gluten is a protein extract from the flour, it is found in most grocery stores in the baking or health food isles.

      Hope this is helpful! Zoë

  35. I was wrong. (Sometimes it’s good to be wrong.) My local store has Bob’s Red Mill Dark Rye Flour. Is that closer to what you based your recipes on? Should I try it? Your book says King Arthur rye flour is a true medium rye that produces something closer to commercial rye bread — but doesn’t say whether you think that’s GOOD or BAD. (By commercial, do you mean the old-time NYC bakery rye we’re all trying to produce, or that soft crap in plastic on supermarket shelves?)

    • Andy: Bob’s regular rye is closer to what we used, though you should get a nice result with the Dark.

      Not all KAF ryes are “medium” (bran-depleted), only if so-labeled. We meant old-time NYC bakeries– that’s what they used. Forget about plastic-wrapped stuff, not what we meant! Though they are also made with low-bran ryes. When I want a burst of nostalgia, I get some medium rye, and the result is what I grew up with. But usually I go with whole-grain rye from our food coop– it’s healthier and I love it too. Depends on your preference. Jeff

  36. HI, my dough seems to be working fine. I stretch it into loaves and it rises some. It seems to deflate a bit when I slash it with the serrated knife, and I don’t seem get the proof in the oven that I should. I am using all the ingredients in the book, as well as a preheated stone. This has been true with 2 of the breads in the healthy book. Any suggestions?
    Thanks

  37. Any alternatives to using plastic wrap or ziptop bags? Like, covering the dough with a tea towel? or storing the dough or bread using parchment paper or reusable plastic bread bags? Thank you.

    • Hi RR,

      You don’t want to use tea towels with a very wet dough. It sticks terribly and never comes off. You can use reusable plastic covers, they look like shower caps. Unlike plastic wrap they are meant to be used over and over again.

      Hope that helps! Zoë

  38. I have made several different recipes in both books but have been making the Crusty White Sandwich Bread using the Boule recipe in Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day (my husband said it cuts more easily and tastes better than anything you can buy in the store). My question is that my dough seems to “shrink” down to about half the volume of its initial rise after I put it in the refrigerator. Is this normal?

    • Hi Marantha,

      Yes, this is totally normal for our dough. It will rise and then eventually collapse in the bucket.

      Thanks and enjoy the bread! Zoë

  39. I just made your artisan bread from a link: LinkDeleted
    I made exactly according to directions except I used white whole wheat flour instead of all purpose. Two questions:
    1. It had a slightly bitter taste. The dough tasted more bitter than the finished product, but still slightly after baked. Could this be the yeast? I used Red Star.
    2. It seemed very salty. I used the Tbsp and a half of kosher salt as directed. Could I cut back on the salt and still have okay results?a
    I am VERY novice when it comes to yeast breads, but I’m trying! Thanks!

    • Amy: Can’t vouch for sites that have re-published our recipes without permission. Our books on Amazon, with the original recipes, are:

      Healthy Bread buy-site at Amazon: http://bit.ly/3wYSSN

      Artisan Bread buy-site at Amazon: http://bit.ly/cNtfJI

      Pizza in Five Amazon buy-site: http://amzn.to/eo10NJ

      WW is definitely more bitter than AP flour; we sometimes use honey to moderate that. Check out our FAQs page (click above) for lower-salt versions. And then check around our website for other recipes and tips. But the primary information is in the books. In general you can’t just swap out AP for WW– they don’t absorb water the same way– see the Healthy Bread in 5 book for more on that. It’s not a problem with your yeast; Red Star is a terrific product Jeff

  40. I have Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and I’m getting close to what I want but not quite there. I’m in Australia and the bread is sort of like damper… nice but not what I expected. I use Australian measures can you give me the equivalent in Australian measures for the recipes. I’ve worked out the grams but you say to use the sweep method and it’s not an exact like measuring grams.

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