Ten Troubleshooting Tips for Yeast Breads

Even for the experienced home baker, bread holds a certain mystique. Here is how to come ever closer to the perfect loaf.

Problem: Dough is not rising
Possible Causes: Yeast is old; yeast was dissolved in too-hot or too-cold water; dough was kneaded too stiff–gluten was overdeveloped; rising location was too cold.
Solutions/Suggestions: Try proofing new yeast and kneading it into the dough; additional flour might be necessary.

Problem: Dough is bloated and blistering
Possible Causes: Dough has over-risen; rising place is too warm.
Solutions/Suggestions: Punch down, reshape, and let rise again.

Problem: Bread rises and bakes unevenly.
Possible Causes: Dough was shaped unevenly; dough was not scored or scored unevenly; oven heats unevenly.
Solutions/Suggestions: Try rotating the loaf; there is little more you can do at this point.

Problem: Bread browns unevenly on top
Possible Causes: Loaf is or was too close to the oven top; oven heats unevenly.
Solutions/Suggestions: Rotate loaf if browning unevenly; lower the rack on which the bread sits if browning too quickly.

Problem: Bread is too brown on bottom
Possible Causes: Baking stone or oven is too hot.
Solutions/Suggestions: Place a rack or wire cake stand between loaf and stone; check that oven is calibrated correctly.

Problem: Bread is too brown all over
Possible Causes: Oven is too hot.
Solutions/Suggestions: Lower the heat; check that oven is calibrated correctly.

Problem: Bread interior has gaping holes
Possible Causes: Too much yeast was used in dough; too little flour was used; too little kneading; dough over-rose; oven was too cool.
Solutions/Suggestions: Use the bread for toast; the uneven texture is desirable in certain breads such as sourdough and French bread.

Problem: Bread didn’t rise high enough
Possible Causes: Water was too hot for yeast; too little flour was used; too little kneading; dough was under-risen; pan was too large.
Solutions/Suggestions: Slice thin and serve small pieces.

Problem: Bread is heavy and dense
Possible Causes: Too much flour was used; too little kneading; dough was under-risen.
Solutions/Suggestions: Slice thin and serve small pieces.

Problem: Bread has a yeasty taste
Possible Causes: Dough over-rose; temperature was too high during rise.
Solutions/Suggestions: Let the bread dry 1 day and use to make bread crumbs.

Excerpted from Brilliant Food Tips and Cooking Tricks, by David Joachim. Copyright (c) 2001 by Rodale, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Rodale Press.
Excerpted from Brilliant Food Tips and Cooking Tricks, by David Joachim.

16 comments

Aud Nordby
Aud nordby3 years ago

ty

Talya Honor
Tal H.3 years ago

Thanks for the article!

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.3 years ago

Yeast is very unhealthy. It's a parasitic fungus.

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton3 years ago

Thanks for the tips.

KELLY ROGERS
Kelly Rogers3 years ago

ty

Phillipa W.
Phillipa W.3 years ago

thankyou. I needed that

Duane B.
.3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Wen Ping
Lea Thng4 years ago

yum yum bread tips

Heidi Awes
Heidi Aubrey4 years ago

Very informative. My bread tend to be too dense. That's why I quit making it. I'll try again.

Judith Emerson
Judith Emerson4 years ago

Thank you for inspiring me to get bizzy baking bread again! :-)