What went wrong with your bread? (2024)

Are you on the quest to bake the perfect loaf? We know that although bread baking is fun with tasty results, there are sometimes mishaps along the way. If you're currently standing in your kitchenthinking 'What went wrong with my loaf?' we've written this just for you.We've answered the most commonly asked questions when it comes to bread baking to help your next loaf be its best loaf yet.

What to do when your bread dough is too wet or sticky:

The more you knead dough the less sticky it should become, just try to keep kneading for a few minutes and gradually the stickiness or wetness should reduce and a smoother dough with a satin sheen should form. This indicates the gluten strands are developing and the dough is becoming more elastic. If after 5 minutes of kneading the dough is still overly wet or sticky just add a few teaspoons of flour and knead this in.

Take a look at this useful video(one of our golden oldies from the archive) to see how to knead dough by hand.

What to do when your bread does not rise:

A room temperature of around 22°C-25°C is ideal for bread to rise (this is what we call the proving stage). Some breads will take longer than others to rise and this can be due to many factors such as temperature, ingredients and even the water temperature used. Check the liquid added to the dough is not over 37°C or it may kill off some of the yeast, similarly check the yeast is not too old or stale and inactive. Check that you haven’t added too much sugar or salt as both common mistakes may stop the yeast from working properly. If you think your room is just too cold you can always move your dough to a warmer location or just turn the light on in your oven and put the dough in – just the warmth from the light may be enough to give it a boost.

For more top tips on getting your dough to rise, check out what expert bread baker Peter Sidwell has to say.

What to do when bread is too dense:

What went wrong with your bread? (1)

There may be several reasons for a dense, cake like texture in bread. It may indicate the kneading wasn’t enough for the gluten to develop properly, or the dough was proved for too short a time or the dough may have been too dry. It is also worth checking the flour you used. Always use strong flour instead of plain and make sure too much salt was not added. This can cause the yeast to not be as effective. We recommend Allinson's strong white bread flour for bread baking.

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Will my bread rise in oven?

During baking, the dough continues to rise for a short while due to the steam generated and the continued action of the yeast. It will stop rising when the yeast dies and the crust hardens, usually within the first 10 minutes of baking.

How to know when my bread is cooked:

A loaf of bread is baked when it is golden-brown all over, firm to touch and sounds hollow when taped on the underneath. The bread is still cooking during the cooling process so it is important to leave to cool for as long as you can resist! 😊

What’s the optimum temperature for proving bread?

A room temperature of around 22-25°C is the ideal temperature for bread to rise (what’s called the prove time). A much cooler temperature will lead to a longer prove time but a more complex flavour due to enzyme activity. A much warmer temperature can speed up the proving, but you may start to get an unpleasant beery taste and smell.

We've answered the most commonly asked questions when it comes to troubleshooting bread, but if you're after some more specific tips, try our further reading:

How to freeze bread dough

How to freeze baked bread

How to shape dough into an oval

How to shape dough for a tin

What went wrong with your bread? (2024)

FAQs

What went wrong with your bread? ›

Too much flour and not enough water can cause crumbly bread – people often do this if the dough is too sticky and they add more flour rather than kneading through it. Other culprits can be overproving or not kneading enough – the things you need to do to get a good structure.

Why did my bread flop? ›

Baking temperature

Some ovens run hotter than its settings, some cooler. If the oven is too hot the loaf will be brown and crispy on the outside but doughy in the middle and may collapse as it cools. When bread is baked at too low a temperature it will not rise enough in the oven resulting in a dense and sunken loaf.

What went wrong with my dense bread? ›

There may be several reasons for a dense, cake like texture in bread. It may indicate the kneading wasn't enough for the gluten to develop properly, or the dough was proved for too short a time or the dough may have been too dry. It is also worth checking the flour you used.

What are some common errors in bread making? ›

Dough did not rise, or rose too slowly
  • Insufficient yeast or expired best before date. ...
  • Liquid was too hot – destroyed the yeast enzymes. ...
  • Liquid and/or other ingredients were too cold – slowed down yeast activity. ...
  • Too much salt was used which will inhibit or slow down yeast activity.

What if I put too much yeast in my bread? ›

This can affect the bread by adding a "yeasty" taste if you put too much into the dough. General amounts of yeast are around 1 - 2 % of the flour, by weight. Too much yeast could cause the dough to go flat by releasing gas before the flour is ready to expand.

How do you keep homemade bread from collapsing? ›

This tip applies to loaves specifically. For recipes like banana bread, lemon loaf, or pound cake, your best bet is to bake in a metal loaf pan. Metal is a quick and efficient conductor of heat. This helps to ensure your recipe will cook through the center and not collapse.

How can I make my bread lighter and fluffy? ›

Add Sugar

Adding sugar weakens the gluten structure, absorbs water, and eventually makes the bread lighter and softer. As a result, sugar improves the bread's taste, structure and texture. Yeast also eats up sugar to produce carbon dioxide, which raises the dough and makes bread fluffy.

Does letting bread rise longer make it fluffier? ›

Does Rising Bread Affect Its Texture? For a fluffy bread texture, the key is to let the bread rise long enough.

Can you over knead dough? ›

Over-kneaded dough will also tear more quickly, as the gluten strands in the dough have become so tight they easily break under pressure. If you believe that your dough is slightly over-kneaded, try allowing it to rise a little longer before shaping it into a loaf.

What is the secret to making good bread? ›

12 tips for making perfect bread
  • Use the right yeast. ...
  • Store your yeast properly. ...
  • Treat salt with care. ...
  • Take your time. ...
  • Try different flours. ...
  • Consider vitamin C. ...
  • Practice makes perfect. ...
  • Don't prove for too long.

What not to do when baking bread? ›

The 12 Most Common Bread Baking Mistakes to Avoid
  1. Over-flouring wet dough. ...
  2. Not using a digital scale. ...
  3. Failing to keep notes. ...
  4. Ignoring the water factor. ...
  5. Always using commercial yeast. ...
  6. Doing everything in a standing mixer. ...
  7. Switching up flours willy-nilly. ...
  8. Too hot, or too cold.
Mar 29, 2017

Why is bread not baked on Wednesday? ›

The color indicates the day of the week the bread was baked. Typically, commercial bread is baked and delivered to grocery stores five days a week. This gives bakeries two days off–Wednesdays and Sundays. The color system helps the store staff as they rotate in the freshest bread and remove the older loaves.

Can you let bread rise too long? ›

If the dough has risen too long, it's going to feel fragile and might even collapse as you poke it,” says Maggie. If this is the case, there's a chance you can save your dough by giving it a quick re-shape. Learn more about this fix in our blog on saving overproofed dough.

Is it better to overproof or underproof bread? ›

Properly proofed dough will be much more consistent in structure, with a soft and fluffy interior, and larger, but more evenly dispersed air bubbles present in the crumb. Over proofed bread is likely to have a very open crumb structure, due to the development of excess CO2 during the proofing stage.

What causes bread to rise and then fall? ›

Too much yeast—While it seems counterintuitive, too much yeast can actually cause your bread to collapse. The yeast will make the bread rise like crazy, but later it all falls in on itself. Try decreasing yeast by ¼ to ½ teaspoon.

Why did my bread come out soggy? ›

Let your dough rise enough before baking it

If the dough doesn't fill out with gas, perhaps because it hasn't had time to rise properly, the inside of the loaf will remain soggy and dense as the dough won't bake properly. You should therefore leave plenty of time for your dough to rise.

What causes quick bread to fall? ›

When the cell structure doesn't set, the air spaces created by the leavening in the recipe collapses, causing the bread to sink.

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