48. Should I use more than one rise for my bread?
Some will tell you "one rise is best". Others feel that you can get a finer crumb with multiple risings. Some feel that you can't get good rise on second, or third, risings. Others feel one rise is not enough, that good bread requires more than one rising.
Some people report good rises on second and third risings, others say the second stays as flat as a pancake.
Looking at the posts, I think there are a number of factors at work. Here are some of them:
1. The starter is an obvious difference, as some are more lively than others.
2. The baker's technique. A bit of gentle kneading is required between rises or the culture (or even baker's yeast) can't get to the nutrients in the dough.
3. Altitude. If someone is at a higher altitude, it's easier to get second, third, fourth, or more risings than at lower altitudes. Let's think in terms of higher altitudes being above a mile or so above sea level.
4. Flour - some flours have more nutrients than others, so some will keep feeding the culture longer, and let the bread rise better. Some have more, or less, gluten which also impacts rising. Some cultures will degrade gluten if they are allowed to work too long, which can tie into number 1, above.
5. The recipe. If the recipe provides other nutrients for the culture, or has ingredients that interfere with the culture's working, that can be an issue also.
6. Expectations. What is "a well risen loaf"? Some people look for big holes in their bread, others for small. Some want a light fluffy loaf, others want a dense loaf. All call their loaves "well risen".
On the pan front, a pan helps a loaf hold it's shape. To be a bit indelicate, think of a woman past her youth with, and without, a bra. A pan helps dough hold it's shape on five sides. A free form loaf has support only on the bottom.... or no support at all. So the free form loaf has to have good structural integrity to maintain it's shape. With higher hydration doughs, this becomes more of a challenge to the baker.
In my opinion, people new to sourdough bread baking should remain with one rise until they are satisfied with their bread density. People converting their bread baking from baker's yeast should also use one rise initially, as they will not be familiar with the enzymatic degradation of the dough one gets with sourdough, nor be familiar with the much slower rise times of sourdough bread.
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