How to rescue over-proofed dough


Has the following scenario ever happened to you? After you have mixed, proofed, and shaped your bread dough, you walk away to do another task while the dough undergoes its final rise. One thing leads to another, until a sudden panic strikes: you forgot about the dough.

You rush back into the kitchen only to see a monster loaf that towers over the loaf pan, threatening to subsume the entire countertop. You immediately stick it in the oven, hoping for the best, only to have those hopes dashed when the dough deflates, leaving a sunken loaf. It doesn't have to end that way, says PJ Hamel of King Arthur Flour. She walks us through the steps of how to save over-proofed dough

Hamel says that if your dough rises too far, you can usually rescue it by gently deflating the dough, reshaping it, and returning it to the loaf pan. She notes that most yeasts have enough oomph for a third rise, with the exception of rapid-rise yeast (not to be confused with instant yeast, which should be okay for a third rise). 

The third rise will take far less time than the previous one, so don't walk away from this one. According to Hamel, the rise may take as little as 20 minutes. She shows side-by-side photos of a loaf baked using the normal two rises and a loaf that was over-proofed and rescued. The over-proofed loaf actually ended up just a tiny bit higher in the end. That's a lot better than the loaf baked straight from an over-proofed state - it couldn't sustain the rise and collapsed in the oven. 

1 Comment

  • davisesq212  on  3/5/2018 at 10:01 PM

    Ironically, I am making my very first loaf of bread (without using my bread maker) right now. I just put it in the oven. I did a 60 minute rise each time so no issues for me (I was watching it like a hawk since it was my first time) but I kept thinking, what if I fell asleep, forgot about the bread rising or had to run an emergency errand?

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