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What Does Over Proofed Bread Look Like – Fixing Under-Proofed Dough

What does over proofed bread look like? Over-proofed bread is one of the most common baking mistakes to be made. Bread has a tricky time because they have to be introduced to heat incrementally and baked at the right time. It can lead even the best home baker to overproof their bread. Continue reading for a full review. 

Over-proofed bread looks similar to under-proofed bread in that it will be flat and dense, but over-proofed loaves will have a slightly different appearance. You’ll have a loaf that has grown to its “expected” size, with a soft crust and noticeably wet, gummy interior.

Also, it falls and doesn’t spring back when touched. Because the over-proofed dough does not return to its original shape, depending on the amount of yeast, an over-proofed loaf will inflate (but not rise) in the oven and appear collapsed once cooled due to the lack of structure.

Overproofed dough is visibly larger than dough that’s finished proofing and ready to bake. When over-proofing, the gases released by fermentation slow or stop as the yeast has already consumed most of the available sugars in the dough.


Signs of Over-Proofed Bread

Over-proofed bread dough has not only lost any extra lift it may have gained while in the oven, but the yeast has also pushed out as much carbon dioxide as it’s able to. You’ll know your bread is over-proofed if it collapses or your finger leaves a mark when you gently poke the dough.

Also, the over-proofed dough can collapse or deflate when shaped and placed in the oven. It may also rise too much during baking and then sink. Over-proofing happens when bread dough is left to rise for too long.

Additionally, the bread will rise quickly in the oven but won’t have the same volume or lightness as a correctly-proofed loaf. The finished bread can also taste sour and on the dense side. Finally, because of the lack of structure, shaping an over-proofed loaf is difficult, if not impossible.

What Does Over Proofed Bread Taste Like

Over-proofing can also make your bread taste eggy, or as you say, like alcohol. Over-proofing refers to the rising time between kneading and baking; over-proofed bread has risen too long and starts to collapse.

Meanwhile, A loaf of over-proofed bread is generally unappealing, and, as the name implies, it has proofed too long and doesn’t have a desirable texture. The texture is much less firm than a loaf that has been properly proofed and will likely be very airy and dense, with large bubbles in the dough. It may also have “rivers” running throughout the dough where it distinctly separates into unique pieces. 

No matter how delicious the resulting bread tastes when paired with melted butter, this distinct tearing makes it an unappealing loaf.

Overproofing can also result in bread that tastes dense and soggy because a rise time pushed too far will allow your dough to soak up too much moisture. In addition, when the yeast gets too warm, it produces sulfuric compounds, which give off a particularly unpleasant smell.

How to Fix Under-Proofed Dough

If you’re wondering how to fix under the proofed dough, the best thing to do is simply allow it to keep rising. Depending on the recipe, this can take up to two hours.

If you find yourself with under-proofed dough for your loaf, don’t panic! First, determine how much more proofing your dough requires. Once you know how much time it needs, simply place the dough in a warm location and wait. If there’s not enough time to let the dough rest before baking, try placing the pan of dough in a cold oven and turning the oven on to a very low temperature (around 170 F). The oven’s warmth will help the dough rise quickly without causing any harm.

You can’t proof your dough twice, but you can bake it twice. If you’re in a rush and put your dough into the oven without fully proofing it, pull it out of the oven and re-proof it for an hour or two before baking.

Overproofed Vs Underproofed Bread

Overproofed Vs Underproofed BreadUnder proofed bread will have a more “white bread” taste, with less flavor and a very soft texture. Overproofed bread collapse when baked due to the overabundance of gas in the dough. 

Overproofing is caused by too much fermentation time, not enough flour in the dough, or too cool a room temperature. In contrast, properly proofed loaves will feel light and soft when touched lightly with a fingertip, and the impression left by that touch will spring back slowly. The loaf may cause even audibly crackle when pressed gently with a fingertip.

Moreso, over-proofed bread will have a very large oven spring, and the crust may crack right away as the dough is expanded. In addition, the crumb is gummy because there are not enough gas cells to support all of that dough. 

Under proofed bread will not have a good oven spring. It will still rise in the oven, but it won’t expand as it should. It is usually called poor volume. Properly proofed bread will have a moderate oven spring and a fine, even crumb.

Signs of Underproofed Sourdough

If it’s a young sour, you could find that your loaf comes out dense and heavy. The yeast is still learning its way around all that new flour and doesn’t have much time to release gases, causing an under-proofed loaf. Under-proofing often happens if your sourdough starter looks good but was made too recently; or if you didn’t give the dough enough time at room temperature before baking.

 Underproof sourdough is flat, dense loaves made from dough that hasn’t risen long enough. Check that your dough has risen long enough by seeing if a finger poking will make a hole or indentation in the side of the dough. If it does, your sourdough is ready for the last rise.

It is important to proof sourdough bread for the best gluten development properly. Underproofing happens when a loaf isn’t given enough time to rise in the pan before baking. If your dough hasn’t had time to fully proof, you’ll see a flat, dense, and tough crumb with few air pockets and little to no oven spring.

Can You Eat Over Proofed Bread?

 It is possible to eat over-proofed bread. However, it is not recommended that you eat it. Its over-proofed state will be of a watery consistency and have an unpleasant yeast flavor.

 It is possible to eat over-proofed bread. However, it is not recommended that you eat it. Its over-proofed state will be of a watery consistency and have an unpleasant yeast flavor.

However, it’s best to bake the bread at this stage, but you can refrigerate the dough in a sealable plastic bag for 24 hours. You can also freeze the dough in a freezer-safe plastic bag for 30 days. Then, place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled. 

Place dough in greased bread pans, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled—Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.


What does over proofed bread look like? An over-proofed dough will often not hold its shape and may flatten out during baking. Over-proofing also causes a reduction of flavor and aroma at the surface of the crust as alcohol is generated in the dough.

Overproofed Vs Underproofed Bread

How to Proof Dough

Before baking, yeast dough rests and rises during the proofing process.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: How to Proof Dough
Servings: 4
Calories: 1080kcal


  • 1 Oven


  • 2 pounds Dough


  • To begin rising, The dough should be added to a bowl that has been buttered, brushed with melted butter or oil, and wrapped in plastic. Roll out the dough and shape it as directed in your recipe for a second rise.
  • Set your oven to the lowest setting it will support, typically 200 degrees. Turn off the oven after the temperature hits 110. Close the oven door after placing the dough inside. You can tolerate a slight drop in temperature when you open the oven door (you want it to be between 75 and 85 degrees).
  • For the duration of the proving period specified by your recipe, keep the oven door closed. For instance, the first rise should go for 1-12 to 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size, and the second rise should take 30 minutes. Before baking, some recipes call for two or even three proofs. If required, repeat each step as many times as necessary.



Calories: 1080kcal | Carbohydrates: 97g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 65g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 649mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 11g | Iron: 21mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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