The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread deflates upon cooling, why?

oah's picture

Bread deflates upon cooling, why?

I have been working with the KA pan de mie reciepe. I have figured out how to reduce it so the dough fits the pan. Double reciepe two loaves 34 ozs. Pan no longer pops the top. Loaves come out great as far as taste and texture.

The biggest problem I have is the baking timet. I've had these loaves come to 200 degrees in less than 20 minutes in my 350 degree oven. Reciepe says to bake 30 minutes with the tops on then remove the tops and bake an additional 15 minutes. I am using a 1950 O'keef and Merritt stove and have checked the oven temp with three thermomaters and it checks out right on the money temp wise.

The shorter baking time wouldn't be a big deal because the bread is beautiful upon removing from the pans to a cooling rack, but with in 3 or 4 minutes the top and sides seem to shrink in or deflate. Some of my bread shrinks so much it looks as if it has points rather than corners.

Any ideas of what I am doing wrong?



K.C.'s picture

Bread collapses on cooling either because it's been over proofed or under baked.

oah's picture


I was guessing under baked, but after reading about bread temp. I was confused about why the bread was reading about 210 when I took it out of the oven when most books I have say 200 it the target tempature.

G-man's picture

I know it's difficult to let go of some indicators, but I've found bread temperature to be a very poor indicator of whether a loaf is done baking. I'd get rid of the thermometer and let the bread bake longer. Rely on other things such as the weight of the loaf and the heft of it (it should feel somewhat hollow) to determine its doneness. I know that isn't incredibly helpful, but thermometers tend to be less so.

OldWoodenSpoon's picture

with the Vienna Bread recipe in the Inside the Jewish Bakery book by Stanley Ginsberg and Norman Berg.  You can find the original blog post in my blog here.  There you will find a lot of comments on a variety of possible causes ranging from too strong a flour, incorrect malt, and on to alpha amylase and shiny vs dark baking pans.  I suggest you pay particular attention to the post by  elagins (Stanley Ginsberg, author of the book referenced above) and the link to the book by Stanley Cauvain in the first post by ananda.   You will notice I baked this bread repeatedly using a variety of approaches, all while still trying to remain true to the original recipe, and it was not until I just stopped, baked a few other things, and finally came back for a fresh new try that I had success.  The biggest lessons I learned were to pay attention to the strength of my flour, make sure I have the correct ingredients, and to be persistent!   In my case, at least, persistence paid off.  I wish you the same success, and I hope looking through my experiences with this problem help you find some useful clues.

Hang in there!

oah's picture

You are way beyond me as far as baking. I have read all the lingo, but haven't got that far with my own baking.  I am not sure what you mean by strength of the flour. I my pans are heavy, none shinny and not black. My oven is small, gas, and coated on the inside with black enamel. The stove is very heavy, and solid so I was thinking it holds the heat better than most.

I will buy the book you mention, and check out the blog. I have spent days trying to come up with a search that would lead me to the answer. Darn internet!!!!

I just bought some KA, AP and was hoping that it would solve the problem (flour strength). I live in the south but buy my flour from GFS so that could be it. I have tried with the AP from Sam's and bread flour from GFS. Still I think it is something to do with how fast it is baking and not releasing enough steam before it is up to temp.

Again many thanks,



BettyR's picture

though not quite to that extreme and discovered that I wasn't developing my gluten properly.

ehanner's picture


The recipe you are trying to bake is a complicated one that requires good development of the proper flour and adherence to the ingredients. It is baked at a relatively low temperature for a longer time than other more lean breads. If you are getting shrinking it must be that the structure isn't baked in place.  I disagree that you should ignore thermometer readings but would use them as a confirmation that the interior crumb has reached the minimum temperature to considered done. It could still be gummy at 190F and need additional baking however. This is supposed to be a soft sandwich loaf with very little crust to support the crumb. It's a fine line between gummy and collapsing to over baked with a harder crust. Given the choice, you would have to bake a few extra minutes to assure yourself a good outcome. You could also dry the loaf out a little by holding the door open with a spatula the last 5 minutes of baking.


jstreed1476's picture

Oddly enough, in The Bread Bible, Rose Levy Beranbaum suggests that with Pan de Mie,

The object is to create a slightly weak dough. A more developed strong dough would have larger holes and tend to keyhole (cave in) at the sides as well as the top.

She also says this about baking time:

It is essential to bake this bread for the full baking time, as a dark firm crust will keep it from caving in or collapsing; even so, the center still tends to dip about 1/2 inch.

Elsewhere, for other sandwich loaves, she recommends baking at a lower temperature for a longer time, as high temps result in thinner crusts and a tendency for keyholing.

I'd be tempted to remove it from the pan entirely and bake it 3-5 minutes on a hearth stone. I did that once to rescue a loaf that had been left in its pan 20+ minutes after it was removed from the oven. (A neighbor was kind enough to help when I had to leave the house unexpectedly--but she is not a bread baker and treated it as though it were banana bread.) It turned out fine, actually, with a fascinating, extra-crunchy crust.

For what it's worth, even the KA recipe pic shows a loaf with slight keyholing. Perhaps it is an inherent characteristic of the loaf. 

oah's picture

This is the end of the better loaf. This end was also browner than the other. It has less of the sinking. The other loaf, was less brown and looked like a 4 pointed star. This one also has more small holes. It has been out for a week and is still very soft.  This was baked for 30 minutes and to a temp of 209.

I think I will try lowering the temp and baking longer. As far as the dough development, I thought I was over doing it when I kneaded it for 12 minutes in my mixer. It was still a little sticky, but I didn't want to keep adding flour. I seem to wreck more dough that way. It was slow to rise, my kitchen was cool so I think that was the problem there.



carmansharp's picture

that looks better than mine, I am new though been baking bread for only a couple months now. Is there somewhere to get that recipe from? I have tried a few different recipes from various books and magazines. This looks pretty good though I would like to try your recipe.