The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Problem: Bread slices falling apart easily.

BKSinAZ's picture

Problem: Bread slices falling apart easily.

Only when I substitute any whole wheat into my sandwich bread recipes, the slices of bread fall apart very easily; almost crumble to the touch.

My 100% white flour breads do not have this issue.

I used this KA recipe

I used KA white flour and in the recipe you will notice that it calls for 3 cups. I only substituted 1/2 cup (one half cup) of freshly grounded whole wheat berries (Red)

Not sure if anyone knows what a vita-mix blender is, but I used that to grind the wheat berries. Not sure that it matters, but wanted to add in some additional clues.

Also, the recipe calls for 1 'packet' of active dry yeast; I don't have packets, but only have a jar of active dry yeast. So I estimated that each packet had & added 2 1/4 (two & one forth) teaspoons of the the yeast.

The bread comes out of the oven looking normal each time, but the texture of the bread is weak. Falls apart very easily. Please help..

Ford's picture

Two thoughts come to mind.  Make that three.

1/ you are not kneading the bread sufficiently.  Try the window test. 

2/ Your ground wheat berries are too coarse and are tearing the gluten structure.  Try soaking them in the hot water in the recipe for about an hour before adding them to the rest of the dough.  You may have to increase the liquid slightly.

3/ try scalding the milk to denature the protease.  Heat the milk to 190°F then cool to room temperature.


thomaschacon75's picture

Hamelman, Bread, p. 8:

With each rotation of the mixing arm, oxygen is incorporated into the dough and a new portion of the dough is mixed by the arm. The incorporation of oxygen is important, as it contributes to the strengthening of the gluten network. An excess of oxygen, however, has a devastating effect on dough. Carried to an extreme, the dough becomes overmixed, and the gluten bonds, after first stretching and developing elasticity, begin to break down; the dough becomes shiny and sticky as water is released back into the dough, elasticity decreases, and the entire structure of the dough unknits. Even before reaching that point of breakdown, an excess of oxidation can occur, reducing flavor and therefore bread quality.

Every once in a while, someone will post a question about why their crumb looks gelatinous or shiny; overmixing is the usual culprit. I don't know if it's your problem here, but it's possible. 

clazar123's picture

Put "autolyse" in the search box and also look in the whole grain forum. Whole grain flour has a lot of bran type fibers that takea lot longer to absorb water into its structure. If you don't allow that to happen as a dough, then when you bake the bread,it absorbes the moisture from the crumb-hence the crumbly crumb.

So if you addd a little more water to the dough(making it a bit sticky) and let it sit for about 30-45 minutes after an initial mix, you will find the dough is the correct tackiness and the crumb less crumbly.


clazar123's picture

Are you in Arizona? You will probably need to increase the liquid in recipes significantly to counteract the inherent dryness in your local environment. When you autolyse,ferment,proof or just let set the dough, you should provide extra humidity. Have a cooler or plastic storage box with a warm wet towel in the bottom to act as a proofer.Have a damp towel to throw over the bowl if you are going to let it sit for even a few minutes. Dry air can literally suck the moisture out of your dough.