dough rises, the bread not


Hi all,

This is my first contribution here.


I have been baking bread for many years now, only recently I started using sourdough starter. My last two times I used sourdough starter and instant yeast. The dough was rising very quickly, but when I was forming the dough into loafs, the dough was not easily  flattened (it should not be the case here because I used more than 80% whole wheat flour and lots of water). The 2nd rise was also quick. When I baked the bread in the oven, it did not rise well, and the bread was hard. 


I could not find an answer to this. Does mixing instant yeast and starter might give bad results during baking, or this was due to other factores?





@ Ross: I am new to sourdough starter so I thought to put yeast to make the taste less sour because my last trial I waited 12 hours before baking and the sourness was overwelming. This time I waited 6 hours then I formed the dough into loafs and the result was very nice.

I don't have really a professional receip for the bread and I don't measure because I learned baking bread from watching my mother baking since childhood. I am from Jordan and we mainly do flat bread. I do at home very traditioanl bread which is very different from what you see nowdays in the middle east, saddly you will have to go to promot village " or come to my home" to find this kind of bread.


Since Ross asked for the receipe, I will try to put it in steps "but no measures"

- whole wheat flour + little white unbleached flour + salt + seasme + lots and lots of water + sourdough starter. make the dough and wait aroud 5 to 6 hours (or up to your own taste).

- after 6 hours, form the dough into loafs, size of a small apple. Add in the bottom  some raisins and fold the edges from top toward the bottom center to make the rasins goes in different directions. You might need to greas  your hand with very little olive oil or wet it with water because the dough is very wet and might stick on your hands.

- wait one or two hours before baking. Take each small piece of dough on the working table, put on top some sunflower seeds if you like, then flatten it till around half cm thick. Punch it with fingers so that the bread will not split from the middle during baking.

- You need a very hot oven (between 250 and 300 degrees). I use for my oven a 2 cm thick sand stone. Take long time to heat, but worth it. I found this kind of stone is the best for baking.

- bake untill the top is brwon (same like all breads).


Here are some photos.



163 users have voted.


rossnroller 2010 April 23

I'll leave it so someone more knowledgable than I to directly take on your question, but I have one of my own: why are you adding dry yeast to your starter as a matter of course?

Like many here, I have baked a lot of varieties of sourdough bread using only my starter. The results have been terrific. I don't see why you would corrupt a natural leaven with dry yeast unless you're doing very heavy loaves that need extra muscle to rise. Even then, natural leaven is often up to the job if you allow enough proofing time. Maybe you could post the recipe you're using?


toni55 2010 April 26

I'm new to sourdough baking as well but I have tried the sourdough only as well as the plus dry yeast formulas...I prefer the taste of sourdough only but found in the case of heavier flours the plus formula has more lift but it affects the flavor of the natural leaven. I agree with Ross in that giving the little yeastie-beasties extra proofing time to pump up the volume for the natural leaven seems to be the trick.

The other thing you stated, which in my own experience could be a contributing factor to low oven spring, is that you couldn't flatten the dough to shape into loaves. If you don't flatten it, and instead gently shape it trying to preserve as much of the trapped CO2 in the dough, you'll have better oven spring before the heat of the oven stops the leavening action.

I'll be interested in seeing more comments on this subject!



mann 2010 April 28

Hi Ross,


Thanks for your reply. I added some yeast to make the dough to rise faster and less sour.


I made new trial with only sourdough starter. The bread was excellent. I put the receip up in my first post.




Smile 2010 April 30

About Leavens.....

As I learned in my bakery course there's different kinds of How to Start it:

Most Popular way is With Flour and Water. (Our Cheff Used to say better to start  only with White flour or half and half of whole wheat to make best quality of leaven. Then with the time you can add some whole wheat flout so it will be all from whole wheat).

In english I see all the users using Starter as a name of the leaven, But we learnt in professional names, When we baked bread with starter we meant:

Leaven + 3 to 7 % of instant yeast

The Italian Biga And The French Poolish also kinds of leavens added different precents of Instant yeast.

I noticed that In this site all using starter with 0% of yeast also.

About Adding Yeast to your sourdough will not make the results you talked about. Maybe the Problam was the 80% of Whole Wheat you used and the leaven you put wasn't correct for this heavey bread.

There's Recipies in this site which can help you so much If you will make as its written there.

I asked also about our traditional bread in older times, and I did as you written and it smelled and tasted too sour.

they told me same recipe more or less as you posted, and had same problams you had there.

therefore I do how It learnt and not in traditional way.

In Jordan you can find nicely about sourdough, your channel showed your country side women doing it so nicely with the special oven of old times. I wish I could go to meet them and take more knowledge from those people.

Our old generation here not helped me much, and I heard some added abit from jooz-teeb to make the leaven. Which only this I didnt try, all others were sour and not good enough.


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