Troubleshooting Yeast Breads

Troubleshooting Yeast Breads

Even for the experienced home baker, bread holds a certain mystique. Here is how to come ever closer to the perfect loaf. In order to bake a perfect bread, you will need to know the possible causes and the solutions.

Problem

Possible Causes

Solutions / Suggestions

Dough is not rising

  • Yeast is old.

  • Yeast was dissolved in too-hot or too-cold water.

  • Dough was kneaded too stiff; gluten was overdeveloped

  • Rising location was too cold.

Try proofing new yeast and kneading it into the dough; additional flour might be necessary

Dough is bloated and blistering

  • Dough has over-risen.

  • Rising place is too warm.

Punch down, reshape, and let rise again.

Bread rises and bakes unevenly

  • Dough was shaped unevenly.

  • Dough was not scored or scored unevenly.

  • Oven heats unevenly.

Try rotating the loaf; there is little more you can do at this point.

Bread browns unevenly on top

  • Loaf is or was too close to the oven top.

  • Oven heats unevenly.

Rotate loaf if browning unevenly. Lower the rack on which the bread sits if browning too quickly.

Bread is too brown at bottom

  • Baking stone or oven is too hot.

Place a rack or wire cake stand between loaf and stone; check that oven is calibrated correctly.

Bread is too brown all over

  • Oven is too hot.

Lower heat; check that oven is calibrated correctly.

Bread interior has gaping holes

  • Too much yeast was used in dough.

  • Too little flour was used.

  • Too little kneading.

  • Dough over-rose.

  • Oven was too cool.

Use the bread for toast; the uneven texture is desirable in certain breads such as sourdough and French bread.

Bread didn't rise high enough

  • Water was too hot for yeast.

  • Too little flour was used.

  • Too little kneading.

  • Dough was under-risen.

  • Pan was too large.

Slice thin and serve small pieces.

Bread is heavy and dense

  • Too much flour was used.

  • Too little kneading.

  • Dough was under-risen.

Slice thin and serve small pieces.

Bread has a yeasty taste

  • Dough over-rose.

  • Temperature was too high during rise.

Let the bread dry 1 day and use to make bread crumbs.

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