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Common Problems With Possible Solutions

Traditional Baking Methods

Hand-held mixer, Stand Mixer and Food Processor

 

Watch our 'How to Bake Videos' for demonstrations on bread making.

 

 

Dough did not rise, or rose too slowly

 

1. Insufficient yeast or expired best before date

  • Double-check recipe for amount needed.
  • One packet of yeast is equal to 2-1/4 tsp
  • See Yeast Conversion Table for help in determining amount needed.
  • If the ratio of sugar to flour is more than 1/2 cup sugar to 4 cups flour, an additional packet of yeast (2-1/4 tsp) per recipe is needed. An excessive amount of sugar slows down yeast fermentation.
  • Use the Yeast Freshness Test to determine if your yeast is active before using

 

2. Liquid was too hot - destroyed the yeast enzymes.

 

3. Liquid and/or other ingredients were too cold - slowed down yeast activity.

 

4. Too much salt was used which will inhibit or slow down yeast activity.

  • Check recipe for amount of salt needed.
  • See How to Measure Correctly for tips
  • Visit the section on Salt for more information
  • Do not let yeast come in direct contact with the salt

 

5. Too much sugar or not enough will inhibit or slow down yeast activity.

  • Check recipe for amount of sugar needed
  • See How to Measure Correctly for tips
  • Visit the section on Sugar for more information
  • Do not let yeast come in direct contact with sugar
  • If the ratio of sugar to flour is more than 1/2 cup sugar to 4 cups flour, an additional packet of yeast (2-1/4 tsp) per recipe is needed. An excessive amount of sugar slows down yeast fermentation.

 

6. Rise temperature was too low or too high

  • Ideal rise temperatures are 85°F - 95°F
  • Visit our Rising section for more helpful tips and information

 


Dough was sticky

 

1. Not enough flour was used.

  • Check your recipe for the amount listed
  • See How to Measure Correctly for tips on the proper way to measure flour
  • The amount of flour can vary by up to 1/2 cup. The dough should be not be sticky after kneading is complete. Add a small amount of flour after every few turns to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and to the kneading board

 

2. Flour was too old or too low in gluten. Bread flour was not used.

  • Always make sure your flour is fresh (along with all of your other ingredients)
  • Bread flour is the best flour to use when baking with yeast
  • Click on flour for more helpful information and tips

 

3. Too much kneading

  • Over-kneaded dough is soft and sticky and no longer able to be stretched, much like worn-out elastic.
  • See our Kneading section for tips on how to know when your dough is kneaded enough

 

 

Bread rose, but collapsed in oven

 

1. Flour used was too weak

  • Use bread flour when baking with yeast
  • The bread flour contains a higher amount of protein that results in better dough/gluten forming properties. With bread flour, your doughs will rise well and hold their structure well. It is particularly important to use bread flour anytime you make a dough containing rye or another whole grain flour.
  • Adding gluten to the recipe is another way to strengthen the dough while using all-purpose flour - add 1 teaspoon of gluten for each cup of flour.

 

2. Dough was over-proofed / over-risen

  • Perform the ripe test to determine if your dough has risen long enough.

 

3. Oven temperature was too low

  • Always preheat your oven before baking
  • See our Baking section for helpful tips.

 


Crust is too thick

 

1. Oven temperature was too low

  • Always preheat your oven before baking
  • See our Baking section for helpful tips.

 

2. Too much flour was used

 

3. Dough was too dry

  • It is important to keep the dough moist during the rising steps. Visit our Rising section for descriptions on rising methods.

 

 

Bread is dense and gummy

 

1. Oven temperature is too hot

  • The crust bakes (browns) too soon, not allowing the dough to reach its full volume.
  • See our Baking section for helpful tips

 

2. Bread taken out of the oven too soon

  • See our Baking section for helpful tips.

 

 

Bread is too large and poorly shaped

 

1. Rising period was too long

  • Use the ripe test to determine when your dough has risen enough

 

2. Too much yeast was used

  • Double-check recipe for amount needed
  • One packet of yeast is equal to 2-1/4 tsp
  • See Yeast Conversion Table for help in determining amount needed.

 

3. Oven temperature was too low

  • Always preheat your oven before baking
  • See our Baking section for helpful tips

 

 

Crust is soggy

 

1. Bread not cooled properly

  • For most breads, remove from pan immediately after baking and cool on a rack to prevent the bottom crust from becoming moist and soggy. Cool completely before storing. For some richer coffeecakes baked in tubed cake pans, cool in pan for 10 minutes to prevent coffeecakes from breaking apart.

 

 

Bread has coarse grain texture and is crumbly

 

1. Dough rising period too long

  • Use ripe test to determine if your dough has risen enough

 

2. Too much flour used

  • Double check amount needed in recipe
  • See our How to Measure section for helpful tips on measuring flour
  • Know your dough - see our sections on Kneading and Domestic Baking Lessons for more information and helpful tips.

 

3. Oven temperature is too low

  • Always preheat your oven before baking
  • See our Baking section for helpful tips

 

4. Dough not kneaded long enough

  • See our Kneading section for helpful tips and how to tell when your dough is kneaded enough.

 

 

Bread is solid and compact

 

1. Dough rising period was too short

  • Use Ripe test to determine if your dough has risen enough

 

2. Flour used was too weak

  • Use bread flour when baking with yeast
  • The bread flour contains a higher amount of protein that results in better dough/gluten forming properties. With bread flour, your doughs will rise well and hold their structure well. It is particularly important to use bread flour anytime you make a dough containing rye or another whole grain flour.
  • Adding gluten to the recipe is another way to strengthen the dough while using all-purpose flour - add 1 teaspoon of gluten for each cup of flour.

 

 

Large holes in bread

 

1. Dough was poorly moulded/shaped

 

2. Dough allowed to rise too long

  • Use the Ripe Test to determine when your dough has risen enough