The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Why did my loafs collapse upon baking?

Salin's picture

Why did my loafs collapse upon baking?

I made a couple of loafs of whole wheat bread last week, and half way through baking, the loafs collapsed.  I was wondering what causes this to happen and what should I do differently.  Both loafs tasted great and had a good crumb, they just didn't look that great.

dvuong's picture

Hi Salin,

I'm certainly no expert but did you by any chance overproof your dough during the final rise?  How long did you proof for and at what temperature?

Salin's picture

The recipe calls for the initial rise in a bowl and then once in the loaf pans for about an hour.  But the last few times I made bread, the loafs were well above the sides of the pans and then fell before I could get them in the oven, so I just let them rise again for about an hour before baking. 

I'm thinking I should just watch the rise the first time so as not to overproof them.

emmsf's picture

It sure sounds like you're  over-proofing the dough.  The dough should still have plenty of life left when you put it in the oven, so that you get good "oven spring" and significant additional rising in the oven.  Also, it is possible you're not kneading the dough quite enough to develop the gluten to give the dough adequate strength.  Good luck!

Salin's picture

I sure appreciate the feed back.  We'll make some alterations and see what happens.

G-man's picture

The problem with proofing by time alone is that conditions vary so much from day to day that proofing according to time is pretty unreliable. Any number of factors will have an impact on how fast your dough rises.

Proof your dough according to what you see and what you feel. A well-proofed loaf should be springy but not too springy. Press your finger into it and if it jumps back it isn't ready. If it slowly bounces back up but doesn't really vanish, it's close to done or done.

Hope this helps you solve your problem.

Bev619's picture

You'll learn to eyeball it later on, but in the beginning (and even I still use these) rise your dough in a container that has measurement markings (Smart & Final and other kitchen supply store have them cheap, theya are commercial storage containers).  You want the dough to ALMOST  double.  So if the dough mass comes up to the 2L mark when first put in there, you want to wait until it comes almost to the 4L mark.  Some say double it, I get much better results with just a hair under.

When it comes to the rise in the pan allow it to rise till it just rises above the level of the pan top by about an inch-ish.  In my loaf tonight that took 18 minutes.  Sometimes it's longer, sometimes shorter.  So I go by how much has domed above the top of the pan edge.

Good luck!

Salin's picture

I made two loafs yesterday and they turned out perfect.  Once I turned the dough out into the pans, I let them rise for about 40 min.  Last time I let them go for about 1 1/4 hours.  Now I realize that was way to and learn.

thomaschacon75's picture

When confronted with a hyperactive dough, I change temperature and/or yeast/starter amounts to slow things down.

Temperature slows everything down, so don't be afraid to adjust your water or flour temperature down some. Check the temperature before your first rise (bulk fermentation) and make sure it's not too warm, either from your ingredient temperatures or from over-mixing. The recipe should give you an ideal temperature, but much higher than 78F, then you're tempting fate. The bread might rise just fine, even better than you expected, but it will have no flavour. Also, don't be afraid to do a second punch down if first rise is proceeding too quickly.

As for yeast, especially if the recipes have some age to them, the recommended amounts and types (of yeast or starter) can be misleading. Try adjusting down some and see if that makes an appreciable difference.