The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Collapsing bread

amen2u's picture

Collapsing bread

I have been baking bread for many decades now, but have switch my methods over to a modified slap and fold technique.  I have also incorporated many ideas and suggestions picked up from browsing this forum, notably to increase the oven temperature to at least 425 degrees for the initial five minutes of baking time.  This gave the loaves a significant spring.  The result have been marvellous for several months now. 

But now I have a new problem.  I pan my loaves two to a pan for a total of six loaves.  For months the bread has turned out excellent --- no problems.

Then, several weeks ago one or two pans (never all three) have collapsed in the middle where the two loaves meet.  The only different thing I have been doing is to use a sheet of aluminum foil to cover the tops to prevent excessive browning.  Previously I had used dampened brown paper.

Here are a couple of sad pix:


As you can see, it is a miserable result.  I have been very careful in following both my recipe and my methods.

I need the forum's help.

Thanks in advance.



Ford's picture

This looks like something was pushed down on the risen dough before baking.  I think this is an artifact, not a natural occurance. Leave off the foil so you can see the dough when you put it in the oven.  Drop the oven temperature to 350°F after the first ten or fifteen minutes to prevent over browning.


Chuck's picture

Another idea maybe:

It's possible that in continually seeking a little more oven spring, and a little more, and a little more, you've slowly increased the proofing time by unnoticed amounts until recently your loaves have been slightly over-proofed, making them quite vulnerable to collapse if everything else isn't just right.

PaddyL's picture

I often make double loaves because they tend to push against each other, producing beautifully risen breads.  I think Chuck's idea might be right; I certainly can't think of anything else that would cause this.

amen2u's picture

Should have mentioned this in the original.  The dough at and surrounding the "collapsed" portions of the loaves is a bit under-baked.  Again, as I shift the positions of each of the three pans during the baking time ( I do this to compensate for poor oven heat distribution), I can see no reason for this.  Previous to all this, the loaves baked beautifully.

I think the "spring" comment has merit and I will try to remedy this.  There is nothing that could possible push down on any of the loaves.

Thanks for the interest and comments.



naschol's picture

Is it possible that, because of the foil, you are getting uneven heat on your loaves?  Foil is put on certain types of meat to prevent browning by lowering the heat affecting that area.  I can see that your middle is less brown than the ends.  Is the foil open on the ends and "sealed" or closer to the sides?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

in the oven?  and lowering the temperature?  Is there a way to monitor the oven temp with a stand or hanging oven thermometer inside the oven?  Opening the door can also drop the temperature requiring longer baking times.  The blotchy crust color does look under-baked and/or over-proofed.  Doughy insides can be related to both.  Try a shorter final proof first and try to get a thermometer into the oven to check the real temp.    You might be able to make temp corrections while the loaves are baking.

gerhard's picture

Foil has a shiny and a dull side, if the shiny side is up it reduces the heat below the foil more than if the dull side is up.  Maybe try switching which side of the foil is up.  I have no idea how much of an effect it will have on your baking but it might be worth a try.


Doc.Dough's picture

just remove the foil and you will be fine.  then reduce the oven temperature after 5 min to 350-375 and bake until the crumb temp reaches 200f.  the foil is reflecting the radiant heat of the oven back to the oven and you are putting down a piece that is big enough to prevent convective heat transfer from making up for the loss of radiative input.  the definitive experiment would be to use a short piece of foil (about 6" instead of 12") and see if the effect is reduced but not eliminated.

amen2u's picture

We have corrected the faults.  I threw away the tin foil, never to be used again as it was probably the major culprit in all this.  I also reduced the initial oven temperature a little and cut down on the final proofing time.  Everything worked out just dandy.  Here are the pix:


So thanks to one and all.  You came through again.  This forum is a marvel.

Have a great and joyous Christmas season and good baking to all.