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Assessment of Bread Dough Expansion during Fermentation


The aim of this work was to investigate different methods of measuring the expansion of bread dough during fermentation and to develop a mathematical model to describe the variation of dough volume. Dough was prepared with wheat flour, salt, yeast, and selected amount of water (56%, 58%, and 60% w/w flour basis). Proving time was 1 h and proving temperature investigated were 25, 30, and 35°C. Dough volume was measured with three methods: (1) vertical expansion in a flask, (2) horizontal expansion between two plates, and (3) free expansion method. Volume was measured either using displacement transducer or from image analysis of pictures taken during expansion. All the methods allowed monitoring the increase in dough volume as a function of proving time. Small differences were observed between the three methods. Free expansion shows a faster start of expansion in comparison with the two other methods. Expansion curves have been fitted with a modified Gompertz model (Romano et al., J Food Eng 83:142–148, 2007). They exhibited three phases: a lag phase, followed by a linear phase (constant expansion rate), and finally a phase with a decreasing expansion rate. Statistical analysis of the set of data showed that the proving temperature had a significant effect on the different parameters calculated (volume expansion ratio, expansion rate), while the water content had no significant effect.

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The authors thank Marina Coconnier and Jeremy Moos for their participation in this work. This study has been carried out with financial support from the Commission of the European Communities, FP6, Thematic Area “Food quality and safety”, FOOD-2006-36302 EU-FRESH BAKE. It does not necessarily reflect its views and in no way anticipates the Commission’s future policy in this area. Thanks to Christophe COUEDEL and Luc GUIHARD for technical support.

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Correspondence to Sylvie Chevallier.

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This study has been carried out with financial support from the Commission of the European Communities, FP6, Thematic Area “Food quality and safety,” FOOD-2006-36302 EU-FRESH BAKE. It does not necessarily reflect its views and in no way anticipates the commission’s future policy in this area.

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Chevallier, S., Zúñiga, R. & Le-Bail, A. Assessment of Bread Dough Expansion during Fermentation. Food Bioprocess Technol 5, 609–617 (2012).

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  • Bread dough
  • Fermentation
  • Image analysis
  • Modeling