The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

fallen loaf

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Chewy crusts's picture
Chewy crusts

fallen loaf

Help! I baked Yogurt Pumpernickel bread today from Beth Hensperger's Baking Bread, Old and New Traditions. I followed the instructions to the letter. The bread seemed done in the recommended 45 minutes--the internal temperature was 190 degrees. The crust seemed hard and brown, as I had hoped. The loaf sounded hollow. But then, on cooling, the top softened, and the bread inside seemed to collapse, so that it was about 1 1/2 inches below the outer crust. It was very disappointing! The texture seemed fine--no ribbons of underdone bread inside. The cooled loaf had a soft top crust. Not what I was looking for!

I did open the oven very briefly after about the first 20 minutes, to throw in a sweet potato. But by that time, the top crust seemed to have set. Could this have caused my trouble?

 

 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

I believe your loaf could have used a higher than usual initial baking temperature for the first 10 minutes for the crust to set. Furthermore, high moisture levels of most Rye breads will continue radiating from the loaf for a couple of hours, thus softening the outward crust. Different Rye flours absorb water in different ways, and it may well be that you have used a rye flour that does not absorb much water (Exp: Dark Rye vs. Regular or medium Rye), and thereby adding more moisture to your dough than recommended in the recipe.

Keep on testing your rye flour, and bake with an initially high (550F) temperature, reducing the temperature thereafter gradually as your loaf slowly cooks.

Chewy crusts's picture
Chewy crusts

I will try the same recipe again, using your higher initial oven temperature suggestion. I would like to continue to use the King Arthur Pumpernickel flour, as well as the whole wheat and bread flour called for. Do you think I should also knead in a tad more of the flour called for? (I had 1/2 c. left of the total flour called for when I stopped kneading. The instructions called for a tacky loaf, but I may have left it too wet. ) Eh?

Would a baking stone help, do you think?

Thank you for responding to my post!

 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Yes, use that and more, depending on your dough's need. A baking stone really helps to retain heat and radiate it back to the loaf. When using a stone try placing it on the middle shelve / rack, so that even heat can be attained.