My finger poke test never accurate????

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Senior Cook
Feb 9, 2009
I've watched MANY videos mentioning about finger poke test for proofing the dough to determine readiness for baking.

They all describe the same conditions.

However, my finger poke test always tells me that my dough is OVER-proofed, b/c it almost never springs back, or at least not within hours. I KNOW that most of the time, my dough is UNDER-proofed actually, because they normally crack open somewhere. Besides, my bulk fermentation and final proof time are very close to the recipes calling for.

BTW, I am usually baking 100% whole wheat bread, or sometimes, 50% whole wheat and 50% bread flour. Does the finger poke test is only working with all white flour, since whole wheat is much denser, and the dent usually seems to sink down more??



Site Team
Staff member
Feb 16, 2013
Waterdown, Ontario
chueh, do these video's actually demontstrate the 'poke test'?

You don't push your finger in too far.

If your bread were 'overproofed' it would probably collapse with a finger poike, not stay indented.

Yes, I believe your mix might have a lot to do with it. Whole wheat is much different to all-purpose.


Senior Cook
Feb 9, 2009
GotGarlic, sorry, I forgot to mention that the bread cracked open I referred to SANDWICH and ROLLS.

Dragnlaw, yes, the videos demonstrate the poke tests. They are all demonstrate the same conditions, but mine is just different, LOL. The only time the dough springs back is right after I finish kneading and up to the first hour to bulk fermentation. Yes, dragnlaw, my indentation stays indented.

One of the recipes I use:
Whole Wheat Sourdough Starter or Levain

40 grams (1 ½ tbsps) Sourdough Starter

40 grams (¼ cup) Whole Wheat Flour

40 grams (2 ¾ tbps) Water

Dough Baker's Percentages

250 grams (1 ¾ cups) White Whole Wheat Flour * 62.5%

150 grams (¾ cups) Hard Red Wheat Flour 37.5%

50 grams (⅓ cup) Vital Wheat Gluten** 12.5%

All the Levain (120 grams) 30%

335 grams (1 ⅓ cups) Water 83.75% USE 385g WATER if use regular WW entirely

50 grams (⅓ cup Extra virgin Olive Oil 12.5%

50 grams (2 tbsps) Agave Syrup*** 12.5%

8 grams (½ tbsp) Kosher Salt 2%


Make the Levain or Whole Wheat Sourdough Starter combine the water with the sourdough starter and the Whole Wheat Flour, mix all the ingredients well with a silicone spatula, until it comes together, then place it in a clean jar and cover it with a lid. Leave the Sourdough starter to proof for at least 4 hours in a warm place or until it doubles in size.

Combine in a bowl the water, the whole wheat flours and the vital wheat gluten, mix well with the dough whisk and then use your hands to incorporate well all the ingredients in the dough until no dry spots of flour remain in the dough. When you are done, cover the dough with a towel and let it rest in the counter for about 1 hour

After 1 hour place the dough in a stand mixer or you can mix this ingredients by hand, add the extra virgin olive oil, agave syrup, levain and kosher salt, use the hook attachment and start kneading the dough for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes your dough should be soft and elastic, leave it in the same bowl to rest for 1 hour.

After 1 hour of stretch and fold the dough to help the gluten develop, then cover with a towel and let the dough rest for one more hour

After 1 hour, get the dough out of the bowl and stretch it until you have a long rectangle, fold the sides of the dough in and start rolling the dough into a cylinder shape, fold the extremes of the dough in and pull the dough towards you to create more tension in the dough. Place the dough seam side down in a prepared 9x5 inch or 23x13 cm loaf pan. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it proof in a warm place for about 4 hours or until the dough reaches at least the rim of the pan,

When your dough is ready, place it in a preheated oven at 375 degrees Fahrentheit or 190 degrees Celsius for about 40 minutes. When your bread is ready, take it out of the oven and brush it with melted butter. Let your bread cool off for at least 1 hour before slicing it.


Senior Cook
Feb 9, 2009
I'm sorry, GotGarlic. I misguided you for providing the recipe.

Actually, I only followed the ingredients but not the BF and final proof time for this recipe. Most recipe creators come up the recipes with their conditions to fit their schedules, while mine is different. Thus, for this recipe, I did BF 4 hrs @79F (not overnight in fridge) and 4 hr for the final proof.

My bread baked fine without collapsing but nice. However, I kept doing poke test during the final proof, it always stayed indented...... Even though the bread came out fine, I just really want to reply on at least ONE THING to make sure the fermentation doneness, so it would be more predictable. I might be lucky just to get the bread from this recipe once, yet it may not be the next time. Thus, I just want to really know how poke test id properly indicating.

My sourdough starter and sourdough bread dough are never consistent in result, even with the CONSISTENT room temperature..... Thus, it's tough that all my dough reacts in fluctuations.

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