The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Breadmaker makes heavy, dry and tough bread.

boophils's picture

Breadmaker makes heavy, dry and tough bread.

Have obtained a Morphy Richards Fast Bake from a friend who no longer wanted it. Downloaded manuals and following it to the letter, however the bread is heavy, dry with a very tough crust. It is edible, but not what we were hoping. Tried 3 different recipes and new yeast sachet used each time. I have seen many people saying that they use bread machines for making the dough and bake it themselves in an oven. Is the the best way to get a good texture and a good crust or does anybody have any other ideas?

For information our favourite general breads are granary, baguette and tiger loaf.



ananda's picture

Hi boophils,

I know very  very little about breadmaking machines.

However, I would suggest that bread is best made using a proper fermentation cycle.   If your machine has a longer time setting on it, I would try using that.

Best wishes


Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

You haven't really told us much about the recipes you are using, the ingredients, what the bread maker did, or how the bread looked.  Did it rise at all?

Andy gave you some good advice, I'll try to add to it.

The whole process with a bread machine revolves around timing.  A certain number of minutes after you press the start button, the machine will start to bake.  Even if the dough overflowed the container and has covered the heating elements.  Even it it never rose.  Even if it rose and collapsed without making a mess.  Your goal is to have the dough at it's peak when the heating element is turned on.

The tools at your disposal are the riser, water, flour and salt - this includes the  the quantity, quality and condition of these ingredients.

Since you have a Morphy Richards machine, I suspect you are in the UK.  If you aren't using strong flour, you should be.  Regular flour in the UK isn't, from what i've read, all that good for making bread.

Next, be careful with your water temperature.  Water that is too hot will kill your yeast.  100F/39C is about as far as you want to go.  Simiiarly, water that is too cold can kill, or slow, your yeast.  You want a final dough temperature around 78F/25C for good dough development and rise in a reasonable time frame.

The next tip is from Linda Rehberg and Lois Conway of Bread Machine Magic.  After you start your bread machine, give it a few minutes.  Then raise the lid and look at the dough.  For most breads, you want to see a ball of dough being batted around or being kneaded by the paddle.  Not a soupy mess being stirred, not a lump of hard dough with flour that hasn't been incorporated into the dough.

If your dough is soup, add more flour a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together.  Give the machine a minute or so between additions.

If your dough is a dry lump, add water a teaspoon full at a time until it loosens up and the stray flour in the machine is incorporated into the dough.  Again, give the machine a minute or two between additions.

Once you have an idea of how much more water or flour you need, you can start the process with those ingredients already in place.

A last tip - if you have too wet a dough, or too much yeast, your dough an rise to a peak and then collapse.  At first glance, it looks like the dough never rose.  Checking the dough from time to time helps here.  However, the other clue is the top of the loaf.  If the top has a dome to it, it probably didn't collapse.  If the top is flat, or if the center is lower than the edges, the chances are good the loaf collapsed.  In this case, you may want to cut back on the amount of yeast you are using.

This collapse can also happen if you omit the salt.  Unsalted bread tends to rise quickly, but have too little strength to stay risen.

Hope this helps - please report back and tell us how things are going!


kolobezka's picture


as Mike already metioned. the dough consistency  is very important when baking in a breadmachine.

About 3-4 minutes after the beginnig of kneading, open the machine and see if the dough has formed ONE HOMOGENOUS and ELASTIC BALL. It musn´t be too dry neither too wet. There musn´t be any dough left at the bottom. If you want, you can pause the machine and check the elasticity with you finger.

If the consistency is not correct, just add water or flour, one tablespoon at a time.

I do not know what are you recipes, but the average amount of water for baking in a bread machine is about 56-58%.

If you can post some photos, it would be easier to help.