The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help me solve my bread problem

lonelyfarmgirl's picture

Help me solve my bread problem

I make a really good loaf of WW bread in the bread machine. relatively no complaints. It folds for hotdogs for a day or two and keeps a week in the refridgerator. Here is the problem. I have the opportunity to sell my bread to a distributor for retail to stores and restaurants. I have only ever made bread in the machine. So I used my recipe on the dough setting, and kneaded it down for second rising in bread pans and baked it in the oven instead.

I did not get the same result. The crust was a bit thicker, ok I can deal with that, but the primary problem is the bread is very soft in the middle. the holes are not too big, I dont think. What I mean, is when you attempt to spread butter, for example, the middle tears out. Why is this happening and what can I do to solve this problem? I need to have some sample bread to hand him on saturday. Can someone help? thanks.

yy's picture

Hi lonelyfarmgirl

in order to provide any useful advice on your bread, we'll need some more details from you about your entire process, such as hydration of the bread, proofing times and temperatures, shaping process, baking temperature and technique. It would be great if you could also include photos of what you're talking about (the middle "tearing out.").

Jo_Jo_'s picture

I suggest watching some shaping videos also.  Here's a couple to start with:

These are for artisan breads, which usually have larger holes uniformly in the crumb.  For a more sandwich like loaf, you will roll the dough tighter forcing out the large bubbles.  I haven't seen any videos on that, so I suggest searching for sandwich bread shaping.  This should help with the crumb you desire.

I suggest searching in the search box above left for soft crust for information on how to make the crust softer and more tender. 


lonelyfarmgirl's picture

I know how to make the crust soft. I usually just wrap the hot loaf in plastic. I just find it interesting that the crust was thicker.

this is a recipe I have always used in the bread machine. I add the wets, then the drys, and turn on the machine. when made in the machine, the bread is pliable, does not rip and has a very thin crust. same recipe, kneaded and risen in the machine, then kneaded again by hand and baked in the oven gave these other results.


I do not know the rising temp in the bread machine. For the 2nd rising, I turned the oven on warm and put the loaves in there with the door open and covered with a towel. the temp went up to around 100 and then I shut off the oven and closed the door. It went down slowly to around 75 by the time the rising was done. I don't really know how to make a better rising environment for the loaves.  I baked them at 350 for 40 minutes.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

usually means the dough rose too long before baking.  Shorten or slow down the final rise before baking.  That should help.   (maybe not so long in the warm oven)   :)

lonelyfarmgirl's picture

so what is an appropriate rise time and temp? I was just guessing on temp and I rose until it looked right.

ehanner's picture

I'd love to help you make this transition from baking a single loaf in a machine to a wholesale bakery. This is more involved than simply finding why the crumb tears or the crust is thicker.

The variables that come to mind of hand are:

  • Dough temperature
  • Length of fermentation at a desired dough temperature
  • Mixing/kneading profile.
  • Stretch and fold vs stand mixer kneading.
  • Proofing time at what temperature.
  • Commercial yeast vs; natural (sourdough)
  • Bread pan types (pan material and finish will have a great impact on crust color and baking time) Glass, steel, non-stick and dimensions will all affect the product.
  • How much bread will you be wanting to bake and how many identical pans will you need?
  • What kind of oven will you be using?
  • What is the capacity (how many pans at a time) of your oven.
  • How will you mix the dough.
  • Do you have a way to control temperature of fermenting and proofing dough?
  • Baking profile. Pre heat and steaming temperature then finishing temperature.
  • Cooling and bagging. Bagging when hot or even warm is generally not recommended. The crust gets tough and soft. Refrigeration of fresh bread will hold moisture and encourage mold.

This is all doable. I know we can help you accomplish this goal if you are ready to take on the challenge and develop a plan. You need to beg for time and think this through so you understand the steps.

Then, the health department issue. Depending on where you live, you might be able to bake in your home following an inspection. Most States in the US don't allow that. Probably better to look at using a commercial kitchen during off hours. Lots to think about.


yy's picture

I second Eric's entire post. If baking bread is your passion, then there is no reason why you cannot make it into a career. However, there are numerous logistical considerations beyond just making a good loaf of bread. it boggles my feeble mind to think of them - production schedules, equipment, personnel management, your business model, financial considerations, finding good purveyors of flours, quality control, food safety, etc, etc. Production for commercial purposes is a whole different animal from home baking.

I'm sure there is great advice to be found in the professional section of the forums on transitioning from home baking to a professional operation. I've seen the topic pop up multiple times in my brief membership on TFL


Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

I'm still learning but i'd like to share some thoughts with you. 

Shaping is a challenge for me, but as said above there are many videos available.  And, it just takes some practice.  Whatever method you use, the goal is to have a roll of dough that has been gently handled but has a fairly tight surface from rolling and sealing the dough.

Once shaped, oil a pan with spray oil, oil or butter.  I like the dough to fill the pan about 2/3 full. 

Your oven can be used in the manner you described.  You must stay away from high temperatures (100 to 75 is ok).  A pan of hot water in the oven or microwave is another method I've used and I have a hot water closet that stays 75 F to 80F. 

The dough should rise above the pan walls and be 1.5 to 2 times the volume of the original dough.  For machine bread which is usually yeasted, this will be similar or slightly less than the first rise time in the machine or about 45 minutes.   Near the end of the second rise, a gentle poke with a wet finger will leave a hole that springs back a little or slowly.  Time to bake.

See  for some useful photos and this thread has links to videos and good discussion