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Soggy dough that won't rise


Clive, I hope you don’t mind us following up your offer of advice about our breadmaking?

Following our day with you, we were excited at the prospect of baking our own sourdough loaves with your mother. We’ve now had several attempts and each time end up with such a soggy dough that it flatly refuses to rise much at all. We’ve followed your recipe to the letter a couple of times, then tried decreasing the amount of water slightly but still the loaf which comes out of the oven is flat and stuck to the metal sheet (despite liberal dusting with semolina) I attach a photo of the underneath of the “loaf” (hardly fits that description!) in case you can get a clue what’s going on.

We seem to recall your saying that a sourdough is trickier to work than an ordinary dough but should it really be so very wet? Any advice you can offer to rebuild our confidence would be gratefully received. It seems to take us the whole day to bake a loaf and the end result leaves us feeling that it’s hardly worth the effort!

Your mother is currently “resting” in our fridge, hopefully in anticipation of her next feed and our renewed motivation!


Oh dear that's not looking good it looks exhausted! Lets start again.

If you take the mother out of the fridge and feed it with at least half its weight in flour and enough hot water to keep it to a creamy batter and cover with a lid and stand it in the corner of the kitchen for at least 12 hours


weigh out

White flour 500

salt 10

mother 100

water 280 cold this time of year (July)

Place it all into a bowl and bring together as we did on the day then turn out onto the work surface and continue to develop to a full silky dough.

Place it back into the bowl and cover with your plastic bag once again stand in a corner of the kitchen for at least 12 hours.

If you wish you can give it a fold after the 12 hours and stand for a further 2 hours this will help give it more tolerance then give it its final mould

Find a large bowl larger than the dough piece you are handling and large enough to allow some expansion line it with a tea towel and rub flour into it to stop it from sticking place the dough piece into this and cover with your plastic bag to keep it moist then stand at room temperature for 2hours.

Turn out of the floured bowl take the tea towel off and the loaf should stand up nice and bold cut a couple of times on the top to allow the loaf to expand as it grows in the oven and place on to a pre heated oven and tray the oven will need to be as high as possible when you set the dough into the oven then turned down to about 220oc and baked for 35 to 40 mins.

hope this helps

Happy Baking