Bread Proofing


I am new to bread baking. I have had some successes, but, also some failures. I am currently experimenting with sour dough bread. The problem I have is with proofing the bread once it is formed into loaves. My oven has a setting for bread proofing. It is 100F and it works very well, the bread rises beautifully. However, when I take the bread out of the oven so that the oven can reach baking temperature the bread shrinks back. This happens especially if I put the bread in a basket and then take it out and bake it on a cookie sheet. I guess my kitchen is just too cool. Is there a better way to proof the bread without it shrinking back before baking? Any help would be appreciated. Tom

badge posted by: Tomwells23 on October 11, 2011 at 12:46 pm in Q & A
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reply by: KIDPIZZA on October 11, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Good morning. Tom, simply put your yeasted lean bread dough has overproofed in the warm oven climate. The idea is to begin actual baking when the proofing is still going on "SOMEWHAT". You may ask "HOW DO I KNOW WHEN THAT IS" Well Tom, using your index finger press lightly on the dough surface. If it springs back quickly & shows resistence ...not ready yet. When it shows a little resistance to your finger & dough springs back with less vigor than before....Now is the time to "SLASH & BAKE.

Good luck Tom & enjoy the rest of the day.


reply by: kicarter2 on October 11, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I do the second proof on my heating pad. I actually do the first raise as well on the heating pad. I wrap the bowl and the pad with a heavy bath towel and in no time at all it raises beautifully. I also put the loaves in their pans, brush the tops with melted butter or egg white, and then use a piece of waxed paper to cover the raising dough. Peeking is easy, and when done, carefully pull the waxed paper off.

reply by: Mrs Cindy on October 11, 2011 at 2:04 pm
Mrs Cindy

My oven has the same setting and I use it to proof all my breads. KidPizza is correct. You have over proofed your dough. You need to take it out of the oven before it is fully proofed. If you want to maintain a proofing environment, you can put the dough in the microwave while the oven preheats. Some people heat a small glass of water in the microwave, before putting the dough in, to create moist heat. Check your dough carefully to prevent over proofing. This is one of the most frequent mistakes we have all made in the beginning. Remember, you have to allow for oven spring.

Hope this helps. If you have more questions, please post again. We are happy to help!


reply by: Tomwells23 on October 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Thank you for all your suggestions. I will try again. Tom

reply by: Mrs Cindy on October 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm
Mrs Cindy

Right answer, Tom! Keep trying and let us know how things are going. We don't want you to give up. The first really perfect loaf is a thing of beauty!


reply by: Mike Nolan on October 11, 2011 at 3:53 pm
Mike Nolan

Bread will rise around twice as fast at 100 degrees as it does at 70 degrees, so if you use some kind of warm environment, you need to adjust the proofing times or you wind up with something that collapses before you bake it, or during baking.

I have one recipe that I ALWAYS seem to forget how short the final rise needs to be, and by the time I turn the oven on it is often over-proofed. When that happens, my wife kids me about making flatbread--again.

My small oven has a proofing cycle (though all it really does is turn on the light), but I seldom use it any more, as I prefer a slower rise at lower temperatures for most breads. (Sweet rolls are an exception to that.)

Sometimes in cold weather I'll take the bowl and set it on top of a computer in my basement office. Not only is it nice and warm there, but I'm far less likely to forget I've got bread in progress. (A few times I've let white bread rise for 5-6 hours, by which time it looks like something out of "I Love Lucy".)