The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

bread not rising in MI

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colmus's picture
colmus

bread not rising in MI

I have a bread machine (Welbilt) which works great in KY and Alabama.  The bread rises as it should.  However, the same ingredients which we add to the machine in Michigan produces a loaf 2 to 3 inches smaller than normal.  Is there a difference in elevations which might cause this?  is there a way to remedy it by adding, or subtracting certain ingredients?   Anyone else ever had this problem?  If anybody could help me I would appreciate it greatly.  Thank you! 


Dick  -  colmusfamily@yahoo.com

JoeV's picture
JoeV

Are you using the same flour in MI that you use down South? Lower protien flour will not hold the gas like high protien bread flour. Elevation may make a difference, but you have not told us the elevation differential from your Southern to Northern locations. You need to analyze all the things that may be different, and let us know what you come up with.

colmus's picture
colmus

We used the same flour in Alabama and KY that we used in MI.  All other ingredients were the same.  I don't know the difference in elevation between the South and North and if that would be a factor in the smaller loaves?  Thanks! 

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Though quite unlikely, it's conceivable that one could view "the whole north" as culturally homogenous (especially if one describes the culture simply as "not southern":-). But it's clearly not useful to compress the geography of such a huge area down into a one-size-fits-all description. Most folks include Seattle in "the north", and its elevation is roughly sea level. Likewise most folks include Denver in "the north", and its elevation is very roughly 5000 feet (the "mile high" city). Without knowing more exactly where you are, all one can say is your elevation in Michigan is somewhere between 572 and 1979 feet.


When you say "the same" flour, do you mean the same brand, or do you mean you moved the sack of flour with you? I ask because in many cases "the same brand" of flour is intentionally produced and sold with a lower gluten content in southern states. If you're using one of these brands and bought a new sack of flour in Michigan, it's actually different from your old flour even though the sack looks identical.


Also, what kind of water are you using? Tap water varies enormously, and often contains enough chlorine to significantly affect yeast. If you're using tap water, try letting it sit out overnight in a fairly shallow pan before you use it in your bread machine.


Lastly, did you buy a new container of exactly the same kind of yeast, or are you using the old container that was moved? I ask because the temperature inside a moving van can sometimes get quite high  ...high enough to damage yeast. And if some portion of the yeast cells are now dead, there's no way you could tell by looking at it. If that might have happened, try buying just a small package of exactly the same kind of yeast in your new location and make a few loaves with it. If the problem goes away, then discard your old yeast and buy a whole new container.

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Ditto.  Additionally, if the elevations in MI vary from 572 - 1979 feet, elevation isn't your issue.  I live at just over 2000 feet elevation.  All baked goods work out nicely.  You'd have to get well above 2000 feet for atmospheric pressure to make any significant difference.

jcking's picture
jcking

Well that leaves the water, or the room temperature. Try bottled water. What was your room temp in KY/AL compared to Michigan?


Jim


sorry Chuch I think we bumped heads:)

colmus's picture
colmus

Hi Jim,


Will try bottled water.  The room temperatures in KY and MI were basically the same.  Thanks!  Dick

colmus's picture
colmus

Thank you, I'll try using bottled water.  The yeast is from the same container we used in Alabama and KY.  It hasn't been subjected to unusually high temperatures.  The flour we have was purchased in KY so maybe the gluten content is the culprit?  We are located in the central part of Michigan's lower peninsula.  Thanks for the advice.  Dick

jcking's picture
jcking

Could you please list ingredients and protein level of the flour, if it is on the bag of flour?


Jim

Chuck's picture
Chuck


  • If the yeast was the same container you used before and hasn't possibly been subjected to high temperatures, that's not the culprit.

  • If the flour was purchased in KY and is the same brand that worked before, it should work exactly the same way now, so that's not the culprit (at least not until you buy a new sack:-).

  • If the temperatures are basically the same, that's not the culprit.

  • If no possible elevation in Michigan is unusual, that's not the culprit.


So the most likely remaining suspect is the water. Filtered, or bottled, or "left sitting out" should all work for bread dough. (I don't know about "chemically softened" water though, and so would avoid it for now.)

jcking's picture
jcking

How many loaves have been baked in the new location?


Jim

colmus's picture
colmus

Hi Jim,


One loaf is all we've made in MI.  The bread machine is an old welbilt which we've had for many years.  It's made excellent loaves in this location in the past.  thanks!  Dick

colmus's picture
colmus

Thank you, Chuck,


I'll try the water next time we bake.  Dick

colmus's picture
colmus

Thanks Breadnwater!  Dick

JoeV's picture
JoeV

I live 25 miles East of Cleveland, Ohio, and we have a private water company that supplies our tap water that is drawn from Lake Erie, and at certain times of the year you can smell the chlorine in the water. I noticed a HUGE difference in the rise of my breads when I started using water from my Britta filter jug, vs the tap water. My loaves rise so high and so fast that I cut back on my yeast to get a slower rise. Since experimenting with Btirra water, I now use only water filtered through it for all of my bread baking. If it's too cold coming from the fridge, I just nuke it to get it warmed up. I made 28 loaves yesterday for a church bake sale, and this is the kind of rise I have been getting...



colmus's picture
colmus

JoeV,  thank you for the information.  I think the water is the culprit with us.  My wife made a load yesterday, with a different water source, and it rose like it is supposed to.  Your bread looks great!  Im sure the people who bought it yesterday will enjoy it.  Keep up the good work.  God bless!