Troubleshooting your Bread Machine Bread

Gnarly loaves are a reason for troubleshooting your bread machine bread. Noricum Flickr

Gnarly loaves? Try some troubleshooting tips. Noricum Flickr

Have you baked a mushroom-topped loaf or had a gooey loaf? Often, the bread tastes great even when the loaf isn’t pretty. But who wants a loaf that looks like a mushroom or is gnarly like an old oak tree’s bark?

This mushroom top bread stuck to the lid and made a mess. Alpha Flickr

This mushroom top bread stuck to the lid and made a mess. Alpha Flickr

Mushroom Top Bread Loaves

If you add too much yeast, your loaf can explode on top like an atom bomb cloud! Often, it sticks to the lid of the bread maker. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Did you use a tablespoon measure instead of a teaspoon measure?
  • Are you using the right yeast, usually fast-rising type or instant active dry yeast? Or are you using compressed cake or fresh yeast?
  • Did you add extra sugar? Did you use the wrong measuring spoon?
  • Are you measuring the water accurately?
A perfect loaf is hard to bake, but even when the top mushrooms, the loaf still tastes great! Trim off the top and serve! Alpha Flickr

A perfect loaf is hard to bake, but even when the top mushrooms, the loaf still tastes great! Trim off the top and serve! Alpha Flickr

Gnarly and Lumpy Bread Loaves

This bread suffers from too little moisture. It may be that you measured the liquids inaccurately or that you added too much flour. When bread is too dry, the machine cannot knead it properly. Check the dough during the kneading process and sprinkle in water until the dough forms a ball.

 

Flat, Unleavened Bread Loaves

Did you forget to add the yeast? If you did add yeast and the dough still didn’t rise, there may be another reason. Analyzing your bread machine failures can take some sleuthing. Here are some questions to ask:

  • Did you add too much sugar, which kills the yeast?
  • Did you accurately measure the salt? Or forget to add it?
  • Are you using low-gluten flour? Did you adjust the yeast to work with the low-gluten flour?
  • Did you add extra ingredients? Some additions, such raisins, dried fruit, chutney, or other ingredients, have “hidden” sugars.
  • Did you add a fruit that producers treat with sulfur dioxide, such as apricots?
  • Is your yeast old?

 

Swiss Cheese Bread Loaves

If your loaves are as holey as Swiss cheese, you may want to reduce the amount of yeast or reduce the liquid. Too much yeast or too much liquid can cause large holes in your dough.

 

Soft Centered Bread Loaves

You cut into your loaf and the center is like pudding or at least doughy and soft. This is another case for being a detective and troubleshooting your bread dough. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you substituting heavy flour for the flour the recipe requires? This can include whole wheat, rye, bran, oatmeal, or specialty flours.
  • Did you try to take a short cut and selected a rapid cycle instead of the recommended cycle, such as 1 1/2 pound or French cycle?
  • Did you skip an extra kneading cycle when the recipe recommended it?
  • Did you add a moist ingredient, such as canned fruit, yogurt, applesauce, or a moist fresh fruit? Drain canned foods thoroughly.
  • Did you add cheese to a recipe that did not call for it?
Check on your bread while it kneads, but not while it bakes. Otto Phokus Flickr

Check on your bread while it kneads, but not while it bakes. Otto Phokus Flickr

 

When you bake a bad loaf, make notes for future baking sessions. Did the applesauce add too much liquid? Make a note to reduce the other liquid in the recipe. Did the pure maple syrup add too much sugar? Reduce the amount of sugar in the next batch!

 

It is fun to enjoy a fresh loaf of bread from your bread maker. Troubleshooting your bread machine bread mistakes can ensure that you will bake beautiful bread!

When you have a baking fail, try troubleshooting your bread machine bread.

When you have a baking fail, try troubleshooting your bread machine bread. Neal Jennings Flickr

 



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