The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Increasing height of the loaf

CountryBoy's picture

Increasing height of the loaf


My recipe is listed below.

I have been trying this recipe for 2 yrs. but never get enough height on my loaves. In the oven they seem ok but when I take them out and they cool,  they drop 1-2 inches in height.

Please help.


KA Bread Flour......    12 cups
Whole wheat Flour ......2 Cups or 1
Non fat dry milk......    2 cups
Active Yeast-(put in water  10-15 mins. early to activate).... 4-6 tsps
Salt....................... .. 4-6 tsps ?
Honey .......................4 T
Veg oil-Canola.......Use 3 tsps
Eggs......................    Use 2
Luke warm water......  6-7 cups depending on ambient  humidity.

It goes through 2-3 risings and then a final proofing in the pans. Kneading between the risings  usually takes about 8 mins.

I bake at 350 degrees for 20 mins. and then put in tin foil to tent it for another 40 mins.

Brot Backer's picture
Brot Backer

Two few things may help, cutting back on the eggs or dry milk and pre heating to at least 425 and turning it down about five minutes after putting the bread in. You can always soften the crust by putting it in a plastic bag after cooling. Anyway, it sounds like the starch structure isn't setting correctly and is causing collapse, this can be caused by over proofing (particularly when using fats with whole wheat), using a pan that is too thick or not baking hot/long enough (which I doubt but check your oven with a thermometer).

pmccool's picture

Not sure how heavy a cup of flour is when you measure it, so I'll assume 4.5 ounces.  That means you have 58-63 ounces of flour in the formula.  And you are using in the neighborhood of 56 ounces of water, plus the dab you get from the eggs and honey.  All in all, that's close to a 100% hydration dough!  If a cup of flour by your measure is heavier than my assumption, then the hydration level will be lower but it still sounds like a pretty wet dough.

I am impressed by your willingness to invest that much time and effort in a batch of bread.  Three kneadings after rising (plus an initial kneading after mixing?) of 8 minutes each, especially with what would appear to be a gloppy dough, is a lot of work.  The gluten should certainly be well developed!

The fact that the loaves look good while in the oven but are collapsing afterward suggests that the final rise went too long and the loaves were over-proofed.  How do you gauge their readiness for baking?  Is it by time?  By some other means?  

Another possibility is that they may look completely baked but are still a bit under-baked because of the high moisture content.  For an enriched dough like this, you should be seeing an internal temperature of around 195ºF (using an instant read thermometer inserted in the center of a loaf) if the loaves are completely baked.  If so, the crumb structure may be soft enough that it cannot stand up to the shrinkage forces that attend the cooling and drying of the loaf.

While I'd vote for over-proofing as the primary culprit, do check to see that the internal temperatures are indicating a complete bake.  If it isn't either of those problems, then maybe one of our more experienced bakers can offer some suggestions.


Edit: I see that Brot Backer was a faster typist and said about the same thing as I did. Plus, he does have prior experience as a professional baker.

Brot Backer's picture
Brot Backer

The younger man may be faster but the older is more thorough. I didn't even think about checking the hydration!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I got too much protein for the hydration and so the shrinkage was enourmous.  Rubber band like as Norm explained it to me.  Cutting back on milk, or eggs, or reducing to a lower protein AP flour would be my choice.  


CountryBoy's picture

My many thanks to all for their thoughtful commentary.

In answer to the question...

........................How do you gauge their readiness for baking?

I usually figure when the dough rises about one inch above the pan.

Again thank you.




CountryBoy's picture

Most grateful for people's insights......



CountryBoy's picture

I am confused by the suggestion of using AP flour.

King Arthur advises that "Higher protein flours take up more water.  With no water adjustment the loaf will naturally be firmer when made with bread flour."

Since I am just a student of bread baking could some one explain why AP flour is to be preferred over Bread flour?





Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

If any of the protein ingredients were dropped out of the recipe, adjustments would have to be made to have the same consistancy. 

My point is that too much protein is not always better.   With the suggestion of AP flour, gluten and protein bonds should be weaker and stretch with less memory to shrink the loaves while cooling.  You might prefer a mixture of bread and AP.  I am assuming that AP flours are lower in gluten.  Bread flour may be too much gluten for a straight yeasted bread unless there is a plan of long fermentation. 

The yeast amount implies a short fermentation.  Reducing only the amount of yeast and lengthening the fermenting time in the recipe might be a solution, thus giving the proteins in the whole recipe the chance to break down somewhat and reduce the "rubber band" effect.

Maybe using AP flour for most of the dough and equal parts of WW and Bread flour. 

That's where my thoughts are, 


richawatt's picture

I think you should try adding the yeast as a dry ingredient...Don't activate it in the liquid first.  I never do...unless of course I want the bread to move really fast sio I can mix and bake within an hour and a hlaf.  Your problem can be that the bread is too active, the added sugars and what not in the enriched dough can be speeding things up. 

I use almost the same recipe for hamburger buns, and they always come out nice.  Soft, because of the fats and sugars, but nice.

CountryBoy's picture

Hi Folks,

I just did another go around on this recipe with the difference this time that I had only two periods of fermentation at 30 mins. each prior to final proofing.

Result was once again, the loaves look great in the oven but then when they cool down they deflate.

Everyone's ideas are great but I obviously can't change all the possibilities in one attempt so I try to isolate and eliminate factors as I go.

The suggestion has been made:

"I think you should try adding the yeast as a dry ingredient...Don't activate it in the liquid first. "

Does everyone agree with that? I am using Active Yeast and not Instant Yeast, so, I thought some 15 mins. in warm water first was preferable.

My thanks to all for their patient and thoughtful guidance..

Country Boy











Shaqgo123's picture

I see all the responses are trying to help with the root cause, as they should. As I read the recipe and the mention of pans I'm guessing you are baking sandwich , slicing loaves. If this is the case you might like to invest in a pain de mie pan like the one sold on KAF. It's a bit pricey but should last for ages.

Since the dough rises during baking against the pan lid it creates a very dense bread, great for slicing and sammies and highly unlikely to fall.

I hope you solve the root cause but if you're baking sandwich loaf bread you might want this anyway.

lazybaker's picture

How did you shape the loaf? Do you produce a tight surface tension?