Troubleshooting Bread Making Difficulty

This article is part of “Everything You Need to Know to Start Baking Awesome Bread Using a Bread Maker“.

Everybody knows that I love to bake homemade bread from scratch. Using a bread machine it couldn’t be easier and it makes some fantastic bread! A bread machine combines convenience with flexibility. If you enjoy a fresh loaf of bread, but don’t have the time or space to bake from scratch, a bread machine is for you.

If you have never baked homemade bread before, and find the instructions a wee bit intimidating, I encourage you to try it. It may seem intimidating at first and the various steps do take a bit of time to learn, but overall, it is truly easy.

The simplest way to learn how to bake bread is to follow a basic recipe. Try Fast2eat Bread Recipes (much more to be published – keep checking), they are kind of foolproof 😉 really easy and the bread delicious.

Troubleshooting Bread Making Difficulty

Even though Bread is one of the simplest, oldest foods on earth, it also takes a lot of finesse and practice before you can make it confidently and well.

This isn’t about making baking scary! It’s all part of the learning process. Although Fast2eat Bread Recipes are kind of foolproof 😉 difficulties may happen, therefore, let’s talk about common Bread Machine difficulties with possible solutions.

Loaf size & shape

The sides of the bread collapse and the bottom of the bread is damp

There are several possible solutions:

  • The bread may have been left in the bread pan too long after baking. Remove the bread from the pan sooner and allow it to cool
  • Try using more flour (a tsp. at a time), or less yeast (1/4 tsp. at a time), or less water or liquid (a tsp. at a time)
  • This could also be the result of forgetting to add salt to the recipe

Collapsed while baking

  • Maybe caused by baking at high altitude – Make adjustment for high altitude baking by reducing:
    • yeast by ¼ teaspoon
    • liquid by 1-2 teaspoons (a tsp. at a time)
  • Use a thermometer to accurately measure the liquid temperature
  • Use less liquid – Reduce liquid by 1-2 teaspoons (a tsp. at a time)
  • Increase the amount of salt – Use recommended amount
  • Too much yeast was added – Use recommended amount
  • During periods of warm weather with high humidity, use less water and cooler water

Top and sides cave in

  • Too much liquid – Reduce liquid by 1-2 teaspoons (a tsp. at a time)
  • Too much yeast – Use recommended amount

Rose too much

Try using less yeast (1/4 tsp. less at a time).

This could also be the result of forgetting to add salt to the recipe or forgetting to put the kneading blade into the baking pan.

Uneven, shorter on one end

Dough too dry preventing even rise in the bread pan – Increase liquid by 1-2 teaspoons.

Did not rise enough

There are several possible solutions.

Try using less flour (a tsp. less at a time), more yeast (1/4 tsp. more at a time), or less water (a tsp. less at a time).

This could also be the result of:

  • forgetting to add salt to the recipe
  • using old flour or the wrong kind of flour for the recipe
  • Using flour with low gluten content (Substitute only part of the bread flour for rye flour, whole wheat flour, or other whole grain flour; use bread flour instead of All-purpose flour.)
  • using old yeast – Check the yeast activity
  • using water that is too hot (except otherwise noted in the recipes and for ExpressBake® setting recipes use lukewarm liquids 80-90°F (27-32°C), all other ingredients at room temperature)
  • Measuring errors – check recipe

Short and dense

  • Use high protein bread flour – Certain flours, such as whole wheat and rye, create heavier products than white flour. Wheat bread will be shorter than white bread due to less gluten-forming protein in whole-wheat flour. Add 1/2 tablespoon of Vital Wheat Gluten to each cup of Whole Wheat Flour to make it lighter and to prevent the bread collapses during the baking period due to less gluten-forming protein in whole-wheat flour
  • Not enough liquid – Check consistency of dough after 5-15 minutes into the kneading time. If dough is too dry, add liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time
  • Sugar omitted or not enough added – Assemble ingredients as listed in recipe
  • A wrong type of flour used – Do not use all-purpose flour
  • Not enough yeast used or too old – Measure amount recommended and check freshness date on package and Check the yeast activity
  • A wrong type of yeast used – Use fast rising or bread machine yeast. Do not use compressed yeast or Baking Powder

No rising / Flat

  • Yeast omitted – Assemble ingredients as listed in recipe
  • Yeast too old – Check expiration date and Check the yeast activity
  • Liquid too hot – Use lukewarm liquids 80-90°F (27-32°C)
  • Too much salt added – Use amount recommended in recipe
  • Sugar or another sweetener (honey, molasses,…) omitted – Assemble ingredients as listed in recipe

Loaf Texture

Floured top

This is usually a result of using too much flour or not enough water. Try using less flour (a tsp. less at a time), or try using more water (1/4 tsp. more at a time).

Flour on side

During kneading cycle open machine and use a rubber spatula to push flour off sides of the pan.

Heavy, dense and thick texture

  • Too much flour – Measure accurately, leveling off the measuring cup or try using less flour (a tsp. at a time)
  • Not enough yeast – Add recommended amount of yeast or more yeast (1/4 tsp. at a time)
  • Not enough sugar – Add recommended amount or more sugar (1/4 tsp. at a time) 
  • This could also be the result of using old flour or the wrong type of flour for the recipe

Gnarly or knotted top, not smooth

  • Not enough liquid – Increase liquid by 1-2 teaspoons (a tsp. at a time)
  • Too much flour – Measure flour accurately, leveling off measuring cup

Raw, not baked through in the center (doughy center)

  • Try using more flour (a tsp more at a time)
  • Too much liquid – Reduce liquid by 1-2 teaspoons (a tsp less at a time)
  • Do not lift the lid too often during baking
  • Power outage during operation – If the power goes out during operation for longer than 5 minutes, the breadmaker will remain off when the power is restored. Remove the unbaked loaf from the bread pan and start over with fresh ingredients. Or use Bake cycle
  • Forgot to put knead blade in the bread pan – Always make sure the knead blade is on the shaft in the bottom of the bread pan before adding ingredients
  • Check the yeast activity
  • Bread machine may be malfunctioning; check user’s manual
  • Unplug the cord from the outlet and allow the breadmaker to cool down for 10 to 20 minutes with the cover open and the pan removed. Plug the cord back in the outlet, add bread pan and start the machine in the BAKE cycle

Large mushroom top

  • Reduce the amount of water (a tsp less at a time)
  • Reduce the amount of yeast (a tsp less at a time)

Open, coarse or holey texture

This is usually the result of

  • Salt omitted – Assemble ingredients as listed in the recipe or Increase the amount of salt
  • Too much yeast – Add recommended amount of yeast
  • Too much liquid – Reduce liquid by 1-2 teaspoons (a tsp less at a time)

Doesn’t slice well, very sticky

  • Sliced while too hot – Allow bread to cool on rack at least 15 minutes before slicing to release steam
  • Not using a proper knife – Use a good bread knife or electric knife

Crust and Colour Thickness

Too brown (Dark crust) or too thick

This is usually the result of adding too much sugar to the recipe. Try using less sugar (1 Tbsp. at a time).

Bread machine cycles can be picked to control crust colour and crispiness. Sweet bread cycle is intended for bread that has a higher fat or sugar content, or recipes that call for eggs or cheese. The baking temperature is lower to prevent a burned or dark crust, which can be caused by these ingredients.

You can also try selecting a lighter crust color selection. If your machine does not have this feature, remove the loaf a few minutes before baking is normally completed.

Burned

Breadmaker is malfunctioning – See Warranty page for service information.

Not brown enough / Unbrowned top

This is usually the result of repeatedly lifting the lid of the bread machine or leaving the lid open while the bread is baking. Be sure the lid is shut while the breadmaker is in operation.

You can also try

  • selecting a darker crust color selection
  • Increase the amount of sugar or fat by half the amount recommended in case of Not enough sugar or fat
  • Select a smaller size recipe
  • If the machine has an all-glass top, tent outside of dome with foil

Crust is too thick

Remove bread from machine immediately after bake cycle is completed.

Taste

Rancid taste

Check the whole grain ingredients. Whole grain flours, wheat germ and similar ingredients should be kept in the refrigerator or freezer. They spoil rapidly when left at room temperature and can give your bread a rancid taste. Flours are not subject to the same type of spoilage and can be kept at room temperature.

Bread Maker Problems

Knead blade cannot be removed

Add warm water to the bread pan and allow the knead blade to soak before trying to remove. Follow the cleaning instructions. You may need to twist the knead blade slightly after soaking to loosen.

Do NOT immerse the bread pan in water.

Bread sticks to bread pan/difficult to shake out

Can happen over prolonged use.

  • Wipe the inside of the bread pan, from the ribs down with vegetable oil or solid shortening
  • Or add 1 tsp. vegetable oil to the liquid in the bread pan before adding dry ingredients
  • Do NOT use vegetable spray as sticking can worsen
  • Or, let bread sit in the bread pan for 10 minutes before shaking out
  • Replacement bread pan may be ordered. See Warranty section

Bread Maker Mechanics

Ingredients not mixed

  • Did not start machine – After programming the control panel, press the “START/STOP” button to turn on
  • Forgot to put knead blade in bread pan – Always make sure the knead blade is on the shaft in the bottom of the bread pan before adding ingredients

Burning odor noted during operation

  • Ingredients spilled inside the machine – Be careful not to spill ingredients when adding to the bread pan as they will burn on the heating unit and cause smoke
  • Bread pan leaks – Replacement bread pan may be ordered. See Warranty section
  • Exceeding capacity of bread pan – Do not use more ingredients than recommended in the recipe and always measure accurately

If you have a power outage during use or Machine unplugged by mistake for longer than 5 minutes. How can I save the bread?

If there is a brief power interruption of less than five minutes, the program position is stored in memory and the machine will resume when the power is restored.

If the power goes out while you are using your breadmaker, the display will go blank.

When the power comes back on, you should do the following:

  • Hold down the “Start/Stop” button for at least 3 seconds. If the display does not return to the time set before the outage, unplug the breadmaker and then plug it back in
  • If the machine still does not start, hold down the “Start/Stop” button a second time for 3 seconds. Continue to unplug and replug the machine and hold down the “Start/Stop” button until the display returns to the cycle time before the power outage
  • If the machine is in knead cycle, reprogram to the same bread setting and turn the machine back on
  • If the machine is in rising cycle – wait until it rises and use the bake cycle OR preheat conventional oven to 350°F (177°C). Carefully remove the bread pan from the machine and bake on the rack in center of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
  • If the machine is in bake cycle – use the bake cycle
  • If the power goes out for more than 20 minutes – start from scratch with a new loaf

Alert sounds, the display shows “H H H” / E:00 / E:01 and machine cannot be turned on

Breadmaker too hot to make consecutive loaves. After a baking cycle, the breadmaker will not operate until it has cooled down. If you wish to make another loaf of bread right away, please Unplug the cord from the outlet and allow the breadmaker to cool down for 10 to 20 minutes with the cover open and the pan removed. Plug the cord back in the outlet, add bread pan and start the machine.

Alert sounds

  • At the pressing of any button that allows function selection. If the button doesn’t beep, that function choice is not available
  • During the second kneading cycle of the “BASIC,” WHOLEWHEAT,” and “SWEET” programs to signal that the cereals, fruit, nuts or other ingredients can be added
  • When the end of the program is reached
  • During the warming phase at the end of the baking procedure, the alert sounds several times

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Comments

My Bread maker is stirring for over 10 minutes on th stir cycle. Is this norml? How long shoul the bread maker stir?

5 stars
Hello Floyd, Yes, it is normal. The kneading time depends on the cycle you are using.
You can check the time for each cycle at Bread Maker Cycles Settings.
Note: Those cycles are for my machine, for your specific machine cycles, refer to your owner’s manual.

Thanks for reading and sharing.
If you have any other question please just ask anytime.
Remember, once you make my recipes, I would love to see your creations, so please let me know!
Leave a comment below, take a photo and tag it on your preferred Social Media with hashtag #Fast2eat.
And also subscribe to receive new posts updates.

What is the purpose of adding the yeast in the flour? Some recipes say to mix water, sugar and yeast. Can we put this in the bread pan and then add flour and rest of ingredients?

Susana Macedo

Hello Faye,
Yeast is a living organism, when moistened by a liquid, fed by sugar and carefully warmed, yeast produces gases which cause the dough to rise.
In traditional bread baking, active dry yeast should be dissolved in water before being used, but bread machine yeast can be mixed in with other dry ingredients.
We recommend using Active Dry Yeast, added directly into the flour (no dissolving necessary) if the liquid ingredients are 80°F (27°C), unless stated otherwise.
The order may vary from one Breadmaker to another. With some bread machines, the wet ingredients go in first; with others, the dry ingredients. Please carefully read your manufacturer’s directions and follow instructions for adding and layering ingredients.
Mine, and for the most Bread Makers the order is:
FIRST: liquid & fat ingredients
SECOND: dry ingredients
LAST: yeast – For best results level the dry ingredients before adding the yeast. With a finger or a knife, dig a shallow hole in the middle of dry ingredients and place the yeast in the hole so that there’s absolutely no contact between the yeast and any liquids or salt.
Bread Machine Yeast (instant yeast) was developed to be added directly to dry ingredients. Yeast activity may decrease if it comes into direct contact with salt or sugar.
This is especially important when you’re using the Delay Bake option. You don’t want the yeast to be activated too soon in the process!

But, if you are making the bread immediately after adding the ingredients, it probably (I have never tried) doesn’t matter much how you add the ingredients.
Bread Machine Yeast can be dissolved in liquids before using, if desired, just remember:

  • Rehydrating Dry Yeast before using gives it a “good start” – the yeast feeds on the sugar allowing it to become very active and ready to work in your dough.
  • Water is recommended for dissolving yeast.
  • Dissolve 1 tsp sugar in 1/2 cup 110°F-115°F water.
  • Add up to 3 packets of yeast, depending on your recipe, to the sugar solution.
  • Stir in yeast until completely dissolved.
  • Let mixture stand until yeast begins to foam vigorously (5 – 10 minutes).
  • Add mixture to remaining ingredients.
  • Remember to decrease the total liquids in your recipe by 1/2 cup to adjust for the liquid used to dissolve the yeast.

Thanks for your comment, reading and sharing.
Remember, once you make my recipes, I would love to see your creations, so please let me know!
Leave a comment, take a photo and tag it on your preferred Social Media with hashtag #Fast2eat.

Breadmaster bread machine is on 1st rise but the ingredients are not mixed together, is the normal?

Hello Cristine,
No, it is not normal, it should be well mixed by the the time it bips – second kneading cycle.
Open the bread machine’s lid during the second kneading cycle and check the consistency of the doughball.
Read more info about what to do here at “Check the Doughball”.
I believe it might be too dry or there is some issue with you breadmaker, maybe the Knead blade is not working well.
Hope it helps.
I appreciate your comment.
Thanks for reading and sharing.
Remember, once you make my recipes, I would love to see your creations, so please let me know!
Leave a comment below, take a photo and tag it on your preferred Social Media with hashtag #Fast2eat.
And also subscribe to receive new posts updates.
All the best,
Susana

Sharon Stockhal

When baking sweet breads they always tend to burn on bottom and sides. Why would that be and how do I fix it.

I appreciate your comment. Thanks for reading and sharing.
Are you using the sweet bread cycle?
The bread machine cycles offer you the flexibility to optimize your bread characteristics. Each cycle has a specific time and temperature to maximize dough performance. Bread machine cycles can be picked to control crust color and crispiness.
Sweet bread cycle is intended for bread that has a higher fat or sugar content, or recipes that call for eggs or cheese. The baking temperature is lower exactly to prevent a burned or dark crust, which can be caused by these ingredients.
You can also try selecting a lighter crust colour setting. If your machine does not have this feature, remove the loaf a few minutes before baking is normally completed.
If you’ve done all above, maybe your Breadmaker is malfunctioning – See Warranty page for service information.
Another option is taking the dough out of the machine, and forming and baking it by hand.

Remember, once you make my recipes, I would love to see your creations, so please let me know!
Leave a comment below, take a photo and tag it on your preferred Social Media with hashtag #Fast2eat.
And also subscribe to receive new posts updates.

Too much sugar in a recipe will also be a problem that creates too dark or almost burned crusts. If you are committed to completing the bake in the bread machine try reducing the amount of sugar used. Not knowing the recipe causing the problem it’s hard to say just how much you should reduce.

Susana Macedo

Rick, I appreciate your comment and tip.
Thanks for your collaboration, reading and sharing.
Remember, once you make my recipes, I would love to see your creations, so please let me know!
Leave a comment, take a photo and tag it on your preferred Social Media with hashtag #Fast2eat.
And also subscribe to receive new posts updates.

 
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