Why Does Bread Sink? – Britain Loves Baking (2024)

Why does my bread sink in the middle after baking?

So, you have followed the recipe, gently cared for your dough but open the oven to find your expectations have sunk. This is a common problem that can be rectified easily once you have identified the problem.

Dry ingredients

One of the most important items in your breadmaking toolkit is yeast and it could simply be too old. Yeast is a living thing and if it is left too long it could expire. So, before you mix any ingredients together it is best to test your yeast.

To do this just add the amount of yeast specified in the recipe to some warm water along with a little sugar. Set aside for a few minutes and live yeast will start eating the sugar and foamy bubbles will form at the surface. In nothing happens after 10 minutes buy a new pack.

The proof is in the pudding

Dough needs time for the gluten to develop to let the yeast eat the starch in the flour converting it to carbon dioxide and alcohol.

Gluten is developed through kneading and proofing and too little of both will affect the structure of the dough resulting in sinking.

When proofing your dough, the two crucial elements are time and temperature. The lower the temperature in your kitchen the longer the dough takes to proof. Conversely, the warmer the environment, the less time it takes to proof.

If the dough sits too long the yeast would have eaten up all the starch and will stop rising and collapse in on itself.

The ideal temperature for proofing dough is between 24 and 36C or 70 to 115F and generally, the first proofing time is no more than two hours and the second no more than one. But remember, if the dough has doubled in size before these times it is ready to use.

Baking temperature

All ovens have their own foibles, and you need to get to know yours. 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.

If you suspect your oven is not baking at the right temperature a little experimentation is required.

The easiest way is to use an oven thermometer to work out the accuracy of your thermostat or through trial and error by setting the knob a few degrees higher or lower for your loaf and checking the results.

Any master baker will tell you that you can have the best equipment and perfect technique but if the quality of your ingredients is substandard your loaf will be of poor quality.

If you're looking to get excellent results with every bake, then take a look at our full range of top-quality <a href="https://britainlovesbaking.com/collections/baking-boxes-and-kits">baking kits</a> available at Britain Loves Baking

Why Does Bread Sink?

				– Britain Loves Baking (2024)


Why Does Bread Sink? – Britain Loves Baking? ›

Dough needs time for the gluten to develop to let the yeast eat the starch in the flour converting it to carbon dioxide and alcohol. Gluten is developed through kneading and proofing and too little of both will affect the structure of the dough resulting in sinking.

Why does bread sink when baking? ›

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 does bread machine bread sink in the middle? ›

Bread that rises, then collapses in the middle as it bakes -- the infamous “crater bread” -- contains too much liquid. Adjust your formula. Adding a couple of teaspoons of flour along with the raisins/nuts helps the dough in the machine to “open up” and accept whatever you're adding more easily.

Why does bread split when baking? ›

If the dough is too wet it can create extra steam in the bread and add to the pressure that is already building up in the bread by the gases produced by yeast. This will cause your bread to burst in odd spots and not where you have slashed it. Try reducing the hydration of your bread dough.

What causes quick bread to sink in the middle? ›

Quick bread was underbaked and cell structure wasn't set. When the cell structure doesn't set, the air spaces created by the leavening in the recipe collapses, causing the bread to sink. Oven temperatures vary over time. To insure the correct temperature each time you bake, always use an oven thermometer.

Is bread floating or sinking? ›

Bread typically floats in water. This is because bread is less dense than water, so it displaces an amount of water that equals its weight. As a result, it stays afloat.

Why is bread so dense when baking? ›

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 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.

What happens if my bread is overproofed? ›

underproof dough will spring back completely correctly, proof will spring back slowly and only halfway, and overproof dough won't spring back at all. after baking, the underproof dough will be dense and deformed. while the dough that was ready will be fluffy and light. and the overproof dough will be flat and deflated.

Why did sourdough crack? ›

If your sourdough bread is breaking your scoring or cracking where you haven't scored, chances are, it needs more time. If your main utility score is looking more like a huge wave than a neat ear, this is also a sign that your dough needed more time to ferment.

Why does my homemade bread fall apart when I slice it? ›

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 does my banana bread crack on top? ›

First, why the crack occurs: Since quick breads and pound cake batters tend to be thick and dense, the exterior bakes first. But as the center of the cake continues to bake, releasing moisture, it rises, pushing through the top crust, and creating a crack.

Is overproofed sourdough edible? ›

Overproofed sourdough is preventable but also salvageable. Reshape the dough, bake it as a pizza or flatbread dough, or bake it and turn it into breadcrumbs for granola. Third-generation Parisian baker Apollonia Poîlane shows you the signs of overproofed dough and how to save it.

Why does my zucchini bread sink in the middle after baking? ›

The most common reason for zucchini breadand other quick breads (and cakes) to collapse as they cool is the ingredients are too vigorously or quickly mixed, which incorporates lots of less stable air bubbles into the batter.

Why does banana bread sink after baking? ›

The banana bread will not rise much during baking and may sink slightly in the centre on cooling, but should not collapse competely. If it did collapse then it is likely that the banana bread had not quite baked fully (and in light of the ingredient change may have needed a slightly longer baking time).

How do you keep bread from caving? ›

But my recommendations would be:
  1. reduce hydration - if you include the eggs and oil, your hydration is 92%, which is pretty high. Try reducing the water somewhat.
  2. bake longer - aim for 203F internal.
  3. leave the loaves in the tins for a few minutes when you take them out of the oven.
Sep 6, 2022

How do you keep homemade bread from getting dense? ›

Getting the amount of flour right is vital due to the high flour ratio to the other bread ingredients. Measuring one or two tablespoons too much per cup (easy to do) can cause your bread to be dense.

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