Poor bread volume, dense bread
Problem: Your bread is not rising, or it did rise but it sank back down leaving the dough dense and heavy.
- Not enough yeast
- Yeast is past the “best by” date
- Too much salt or too little liquid
Sticky bread or bread sticks to pan
Problem: Your bread is finished baking it will not come easily out of the pan. Read: Prevent Bread from Sticking to the Pan
- Pan is not clean
- Pan was not prepped properly
- Bread is under-baked
Strange, sour taste or smell
Problem: Your bread has a fermented, alcoholic smell or taste to it.
- Too much yeast
A couple things to do if you catch yourself making any of the above errors while you are mid-recipe:
- I added too much yeast/salt/flour: Most bread recipes follow a similar percentage-based formula. If you determine the percentage of each ingredient in your recipe you can adjust accordingly.
- Example: Your bread recipe calls for one teaspoon salt, you unintentionally add two. You could then double the other ingredients. You will make more bread, but we do not ever consider it a bad thing.
- Do not rush the proofing process. The reason most recipes explain what you are looking for (for example, ‘the dough is done when it is doubled in size’) is because proofing times will vary based on the temperature where you are baking and your dough temperature. Times are helpful but bread is picky, and you are always better off keeping an eye on it yourself and going by look rather than time.
- Do not add more yeast than the recipe calls for. There is a point where it will not add anything to the proofing process (yeasts eat sugars in the recipe, the more yeast you add the less sugar there is for them to eat) and you will be wasting your ingredients without speeding along the process.
- Clean and grease your pans well. It takes a little more time, but it is better than the heartache of sticky bread!
- Double check your oven temperature. As always, just because your oven says it is 420° F (216° C) that does not mean it is. Test your oven temperature with a secondary thermometer so you know if it runs a little hot or cold. Bread is very temperature sensitive. Read: Baking Time
Troubleshooting Muffins & Quick Breads
|Soupy or bitter taste||Leaveners not mixed properly into the batter, too much baking soda||Sift leavener with dry ingredients, adust formula/recipe|
|Elongated holes||Overmixing||Do no mix until smooth, mix just until moistened|
|Crust is too thick||Too much sugar, oven temperature is too low||Adjust formula/recipe, adjust oven|
|Flat top||Oven temperature is too low||Adjust oven temp|
|Cracked, uneven top||Oven temperature is too high||Adjust oven temp|
|No rise, dense product||Old batter, damaged leavening agents, overmixing||Bake promptly, store new chemicals properly, stir until moistened|