Troubleshooting Breads


Problem Cause(s) Solution
Dense Too much flour forced into the dough Gradually add water, adust formula/recipe
Crust too pale

Oven temperature is too low, dough over-proofed, too much steam, underbaked

Adjust oven temp, proof only until almost doubled then bake, adjust steam, bake longer
Crust too dark Oven too hot, too much sugar in dough Adjust recipe/measure carefully
Top crust separates from loaf Dough improperly-shaped, crust not scored properly, dough dried out during proofing Shape dough carefully, score dough to a depth of 1/2 in (1.2 cm), cover dough during proofing, increase humidity in proofer (or spray with water)
Sides of loaf are cracked Bread expanded after crust formed in oven, bread under-proofed Score top of loaf before baking, proof until loaf almost doubled
Dense texture Not enough yeast, not enough fermentation time, improper molding technique, too much salt Adjust recipe/measure carefully, let dough rise until doubled, handle dough carefully, adjust recipe/measure salt carefully
Ropes of undercooked dough running through product Insufficient kneading, oven too hot Knead dough until smooth and elastic and passes window pane test, adjust oven temp
Free-form loaf spreads and flattens Dough too soft Adjust recipe/measure carefully
Large holes in bread Too much yeast, over-kneaded, inadequate punch-down Adjust recipe/measure carefully, knead only as directed by recipe/instructions, punch down properly to knead out excess air before shaping
Blisters on crust Too much liquid, improper shaping, too much steam in oven Measure ingredients carefully, knead out excess air before shaping, reduce amount of steam or moisture in oven