The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

bread machine problem

djmorrow's picture

bread machine problem

I bought a Food Network bread machine and the bread is not coming out right. I have searched for a way to contact some form of support, but they don't seem to offer it.

My bread machine basic setting defaults to 3 hours, which seems to me to be too short.

Even using recipe from the manual, and also using other bread machine recipes, the bread does not rise properly and a 2 lb loaf comes out about the size of a 1 lb loaf, and too dense. I have tried 5 loaves and only one of them came out sort of OK.

Any advice or pointers to where I should look for info?

Thanks much

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Sometimes when there's too much, the loaf ends up overproofed.  Cut back on the yeast and see if that helps. 

Chuck's picture

I'm sorry to hear you got stuck with an appliance that appears to have no support available. (Even though there appears to be no "official" support, there may still be some unofficial support. Type in the manufacturer's name and the model to Google and see what you find:-)

If even the recipe for "basic" bread appears to not be working right, the problem may not be in the bread machine or the recipe at all, but rather funky ingredients. How old is your flour and your yeast, and how have they been stored? Are you using tap water (sometimes flaky) or bottled water (preferred)? (If you're keeping bottled water in your refrigerator though, be sure to warm it up before you put it in the bread machine.)

(Also, sometimes measurement abbreviations can throw off somebody who isn't watching out for them. In particular, sometimes "teaspoon" is abbreviated 't' [lower case] and "Tablespoon" is abbreviated 'T' [upper case]. [Or maybe they're abbreviated "tsp" and "tbs", which look almost identical, especially to the dyslexic.] This can sneak up on you, causing you to use a whole lot less yeast than the recipe intended.)

Finally, there's usually a warning somewhere in the small print on bread machines to put the salt and the yeast in at different times in such a way that they don't touch each other, often one before the flour and the other after the flour. This tip is much more important than it may seem, as damp yeast contacting concentrated salt may kill some of the yeast.

kolobezka's picture

Could you please post your recipe?

I my (and not only my) experience, the recipes that go with the bread machines are not correct. Either there is too much yeast or too much water...

Also a photo of your the cut bread would tell more


Janknitz's picture

I'm wondering if your expectations from machine baked breads are too high.  In my experience, even the best machine baked bread is only marginally as good as an oven-baked loaf.  

Bread machine-baked bread has a different texture and rise than oven baked breads, not to mention an awkward shape (not a problem in some of the pricier models).  Some of the more expensive machines more closely approximate oven-baked breads, but all of them are somewhat different, just because the machine has limits to how it can heat to bake a bread.

Bread machines are great if you have time constraints or if you want to avoid heating the oven,  and they are wonderful for making certain types of dough that you can finish off with oven baking.  But for bread made totally in the machine, especially in lower end machines, the results (IMHO) are just so so.  

With some of the no knead books out there (i.e. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, Lahey's "My Bread"), you can put in as little time and effort in as you do with an ABM and have much better oven baked bread.  Artisan Bread in Five is especially useful if you have time constraints--you can pull out a lump of dough any time you want and soon have freshly baked bread from your oven.  


djmorrow's picture

You have all been great to reply so quickly and to try to be helpful.

I have followed the recipes I was using exactly.

20 years ago I had a bread machine and the loaves from it turned out fine, so I have some past experience using bread machines with success.

The way these loaves are turning out makes me think it is a yeast problem--too much or too little. I am going to try a loaf being sure that the salt and yeast are separate as Chuck suggested. I am just not sure if I was careful about that with these loaves that didn't turn out.

Thanks very much for all the response. I'll let you know if I resolve it.

Chuck's picture

One more thought: What colors (including extraneous stripes) is your yeast package/bottle? Bread machines rely on the newer style "instant" yeast, which goes by many different names, but always says something like "for bread machines" somewhere on the package/bottle.

Maybe because the capital invested in old manufacturing plants isn't fully amortized yet, the older style yeast (often known simply as "active dry") is still so widely available it's easy to get some by accident. In most cases it works nearly as well  ...especially if you use a "little bit more". Unfortunately though the older style active dry yeast will not work right in a bread machine.

frizzle1229's picture

 I have had three breadmachines. At first it was great, now all do the same--no rise.  I am not the only one having  troubles,  I even bought the speciality flour--no luck.  I even added the yeast later--nothing.

Chuck's picture

What brand of flour do you use, and is it the same as what you were using when the bread was rising okay? What brand of yeast do you use, and how do you store it? Have you tried "proofing" the yeast to find out for sure that the yeast is still alive (not dead)?

Most importantly, do you use bottled water? Frequently towns get in trouble for having too much bacteria in their water, so they greatly increase the amount of chlorine they use. The tap water doesn't taste significantly different, but suddenly it will kill yeast (and often deteriorate the guts in toilets too  ..."running" toilets is a dead giveaway this is what's happened).

bob13's picture

I started with bread machines and over time began to experience similar, little to no, rise issues.  My machines say to add liquids first, so I tried making a polish (yeast & water & flour and be sure it foams) over night before I make bread.  Make sure to reduce the liquids by what is already in the polish, and put in the machine first.  Than add the dry inputs and turn on machine.  This way the salt never sees the yeast directly, and I think it develops a better flavor.  I do not use my machine as much as before, but it it great for those times I need to put the inputs into the machine and go do other things.  Hope this helps.

Chuck's picture

I've not been able to resist approaching  bread machine problems using my old software support skills rather than as a baker...  If I were doing telephone support for a bread machine company, I'd use a "decision tree" something like this:


Did it "used to work" or "never worked"?

I. If it "used to work" but doesn't any more, almost certainly something changed around the time it stopped working. - Did it deteriorate "slowly" or "suddenly"?

Ia. If there was a slow deterioration from "works well" to "works" to "sorta" and so on, the most likely culprit is inadequate yeast storage. One of the best ways to store yeast is in a jar with a tightly fitting lid (a screw top?) in the refrigerator.

Ib. If the change was sudden, all the way from "works well" to "not at all" in just a few days, the most likely culprit is the water plant changed the water that comes out of your tap (probably they added a lot more chlorine). Try using bottled water for all breadmaking steps.

II. If on the other hand it "never worked", there are several common culprits: dead yeast, unsuitable tap water, or insufficient attention to warning about keeping salt and yeast apart. We'll consider each one in turn until we figure out what's causing the problem.

Tricks like modifying recipes or using pre-ferments may provide better flavor or texture and so you may prefer them for that reason.

But you should not have to use these tricks just to make a successful loaf at all. If without tricks the bread won't work at all, then something is "almost" wrong (for example dying but not fully dead yeast). You're muddling past the real problem by compensating for it with tricks, something that should not be necessary.

The common advice to "look to the flour" is almost certainly irrelevant. It makes good sense only if you're using "questionable" flour (years old, wet packages, bulk bins, no-name brand, etc.). But for folks on TFL who are generally already using "good" flour, changing flour is quite unlikely to help.

hanseata's picture

I started out baking with a breadmachine, but very quickly disliked not only having always a hole (from the dough hook) in the bread and its odd shape, but its bad crust.

Until it gave up its ghost, I put my machine to good use, though, just for kneading the dough and the first rise. But then I would shape it, proof it in a banneton and bake it in the oven.

I didn't buy a new one because now I use either my mixer or my hands for kneading.

Happy New Year,


djmorrow's picture

I am gratefull to everyone for taking a moment to help and advise.

The best info I got on this inquiry was to be certain to keep the salt and yeast separate, as the salt will kill the yeast if they have direct contact.

And also, to use only yeast that is marked "For Bread Machines" on the package. I have been told that the new bread machines require the 'Fast Rise' yeast and will not have good results with the regular yeast.

And, the machine directions say before adding the yeast to use a spatula to push all the ingredients to the sides so they are not built up only in the middle.

I was so new to bread machines I wasn't doing any of these things.

By using only 'Fast Rise' yeast 'For Bread Machines' and preventing the salt from contacting the yeast, plus pushing all ingredients off to the side before adding the yeast, I have had good results. The fact that some things so simple were the solution to my problem illustrates the importance of chiming in and offering advice when someone asks for it. Thanks to eveyone for being kind enough to do so.

I tried something else that seemed to work, but I don't think this type of extra step should be necessary--the whole point of the machine is to turn it on and let it do what it is meant to do, but I did try this: I have let the bread machine go through the first rise, then completely removed the pan from the machine and turned it off so it will reset. After letting the pan of dough rest in the oven for 30 minutes, putting it back in and restarting the machine from the beginning, as if it was starting a new loaf. That adds about one hour time for the dough to rise. I tried this and it seemed to have no setbacks, but I have used the other above-mentioned methods and my bread seems to turn out fine without this extra step.

BjD321bJd's picture


ATTN:  djmorrow

Hi.... our son got the same machine with the same problem.  We checked it ourselves and got the same results as you did.  We did a temp check and found the inside temp to be 91 degrees.  Way too high.  Most bakers report the temp should be between 70 to 80 degrees.

Suggest you return the machine.  We used a remote thermometer like the kind one uses to monitor the temp of meat when grilling.

We have two Panasonic SD-YD250 and made over 2,000 loaves with one or two fowl-ups caused by our faulty measurements!

We use a Retsel 1/2 hp flour mill.  It is a gem!  Strongly suggest the metal plates.  Use 25% whole wheat flour and 75% bread flour.

Chuck's picture

We did a temp check and found the inside temp to be 91 degrees. Way too high.

I beg to differ; it's not too high. Yeast isn't subject to thermal death until something like 130F-140F.  The optimal rising temperature for handmade dough is generally thought to be somewhere in the range 70F-80F (or more broadly 60F-90F)  ...but that doesn't mean 91F is either unworkable or inappropriate for bread machines.