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The last two attempts at my sourdough have resulted in flat bread...I mixed the dough, let it proof for the 12-18 hours. Then when I went to shape it for the final proof, it became much more moist and then wouldn't shape or rise. Just blah. Is it possible if this happens to add more flour and water and let it rise? or will it just remain flat?

Why would it over proof in the first proofing/fermenting? I would like to be able to make consistently good loaves of bread.

Thank you for any insight you can give.

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    Welcome! Could you please edit your post with more details about your current recipe and method? Our experienced bakers will then have more to start with an could come up with better answers. And for all new users we recommend the tour and our help center, especially How to Ask, to learn more about how the site works. – Stephie Aug 13 at 18:37
  • 12-18 hours seems excessive unless you are starting with a very small amount of starter or live in siberia – aris Aug 13 at 21:46
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    @aris For the record, 12-18 hours is pretty normal for a sourdough bread that doesn't use commercial yeast, which is what I assume when I hear "sourdough," lol. – kitukwfyer Aug 14 at 3:24
  • @kitukwfyer as I said it depends on the amount of starter you use and your dough temperature. Popular recipes like Tartine's country loaf usually call for 3-4 hours of fermentation. – aris Aug 14 at 3:43
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    @aris Sorry I misunderstood your comment, but keep reading through step 11 of Tartine's loaf. It requires a minimum of ~7 hours of resting/rising. 3-4 for the first rise as you say, but a further 3-4 hours at room temp for the second rise, or 10-12 in the fridge, which together is 13-16 hours. I checked out the recipe because I've never seen a true sourdough with a 3-4 hour total rise time, lol. It's preferable to let a sourdough loaf rise "in Siberia" for a long time to allow flavors to develop. :) – kitukwfyer Aug 14 at 3:54
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If you are making the traditional type 1 sourdough bread, after the first 12-18h fermentation (stage 1), you need to add more flour and water to refresh the dough (aka backsloping) for 1-2 hours (stage 2). The reason is that by the end of first stage fermentation, sugar in the dough is already been used up by the yeast and lactic acid bacteria (LAB), so dough refreshing is critical to activate the yeast and LAB again. After the second stage, you can shape the dough to the shape you want, and then rest them for another hour before baking. Hope that helps.

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