Any idea why my bread dough, which is well kneaded using proofed yeast
and having gone through two risings should fall in the oven. It doesn't
happen every time but often enough to be very discouraging. It does
cause me to be extra careful but still it happens.
Looks as if you are over-proofing. Watch the 2nd rise more carefully and
before it doubles, say x1.75, do the finger-poke test; i.e., prod it with
your finger and if the dough springs back, leave it a bit longer but if the
depression remains, put it in the oven.
This usually happens when the dough rises to it's limit and collapses from
having been held, or risen, too long.
The most likely issues are:
1. Too much yeast, and
2. An over-proofed dough that collapses from having extended too far.
Reducing the yeast is a good solution for both of these issues. Also,
reducing the amount of water in the dough can help.
Of course, there are other issues. I don't know how experienced a baker you
are, so when you say the dough is well-kneaded, I don't know if I'd agree.
Does it pass the windowpane test?
I find that proofing yeast is really not necessary. In the early 1970's,
when I was learning to bake, James Beard in his "Beard on Bread" suggested
that yeast was so reliable there was no longer any need to proof it - just
accept it was going to work. I did, and I've *NEVER* had a problem I could
trace to yeast problems. (Some people tell me that doughs with lots of egg
and/or oil should still use proofed yeast, as the oils seem to inhibit the
yeast too much.)
1. Try making the bread without proofing the yeast. Just add the water you
were using to proof the yeast to the recipe, and omit any sugar that was
used in proofing altogether. Yeast does NOT need sugar to raise bread.
1a. If that doesn't help, try reducing the amount of yeast you are using by
2. Try testing the dough with the windowpane test, if you aren't already
3. Put a bit of dough into a measuring cup as you form the loaves so you
can see how much the dough has risen. Say, 1/4 cup. When the dough in the
measuring cup has risen to between 1/2 and 3/4 cup, bake the dough. Letting
it rise farther can cause problems.
4. If the problems continue, consider reducing the amount of water in the
Another trick to stop over-proofing dough is to take a small amount of
the dough when you are shaping the loaves, about the size of a pea.
Roll it into a boll, having taken it from the punched down dough you
are just putting into the loaf pan or free form onto the baking sheet
or stone for that final rise. Put it into a glass of room temperature
water - basically the same temperature as the rise is starting at. It
should sink to the bottom of that glass. When that ball rises to the
top of the water, having generated enough internal gas to lift it up to
the top, the loaf is ready to be baked and will NOT collapse when you
then turn up the oven to 350=B0 or whatever and pop the loaf in or leave
the loaf in to bake, depending on your choice of technique.
Of course when that ball rises to the top of the water your loaf in the
loaf pan may still be well below the rim of the pan, and therefore not
what you want. This simply means that next time you need to have MORE
dough in that pan or make other adjustments. If you know you are making
a bread such as English Muffin bread, where you WANT large holes and
may want to over-proof the dough, leave it to rise more, but expect it
to collapse a bit. Else bake at once... and expect a more dense loaf
that HAS risen enough according the the yeast you used and the dough
Thanks All; You have given me hope and some things to try. When the
bread turns out well it is a treat. Will look forward to trying your
suggestions. (Probably overproofed so will eliminate that step first)