Why Is My Sourdough Bread So Dense?

published Apr 23, 2015
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(Image credit: Reader Ace)

Q: I’d like my sourdough bread to rise more and be less dense. Wanting no other additives, I mix 4 cups whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup sourdough starter, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 2 cups water. The resulting dough is very sticky. I mix just long enough to combine, let it rise about eight hours.

Then I pour it into the bread pan, tap (as opposed to punch) it down just a little, and leave it for one hour in the oven preheated to 200°F and turned off. The dough rises just barely above the top of the bread pan during that time and looks like it’s not going any higher.

The resulting bread is awesome, but denser than anything you buy. Am I missing some basic technique for making it rise more? Maybe mix it longer, or punch it down twice before the final 200°F oven rise?

Sent by Ace

Editor: Readers, do you have some advice on how to lighten these sourdough loaves?