The Fresh Loaf

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Why isn't my bread rasing in my bread machine?

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cathdays's picture
cathdays

Why isn't my bread rasing in my bread machine?

i am knew to bread making. The other week I baught a used bread machine, looked up a user manual online and  have attemped to make bread about 7 times. I have bread flour plus fresh ground wheat. I have 2 differant yeasts, 1 in a jar the other from the bakery.

My problem? When done I get this short 5 inch round loaf.

The machine is a Welbilt, 2 cup flour model. I have tried 3 differant resipes, differant temp water, taking it out and baking it in my oven, not adding salt, adding more yeast. When I took out the dough to bake it in my oven, it didn't raise as much as I thought it would, then colapsed while baking.

Maybe this is how it's suppose to be. I thought it would be as tall as the bucket at least.

Help. It teasts great but is heavey.

cathydays@hotmail.com

proth5's picture
proth5

I don't know why your bread isn't rising, but I am an experienced baker.  I decided to try working with machines and used a recipe that I had made by hand successfully many times and tried to make it in a bread machine.

It was a brick.

Bread machines, as it seems, are very sensitive to the recipe used.

Have you tried the recipes that are in the user manual - and I mean the exact recipe in the user manual, not one with a little variation? And the exact process - not one with a little variation. 

That is what I would try first - especially if I were a beginning baker.  I would leave fooling with variations based on freshly ground flour until I had made some loaves successfully per the recipe.  Freshly ground flour can be tricky even in the hands of an experienced baker.

If you have tried that, the places that I would look are water temperature (yours might be too low - as long as it doesn't go above 100F or so) and the yeast - which may not be fresh or might not be the exact type as called for in the recipe. Then, because of the fresh ground, presumably whole wheat flour, I would look to the machine's cycle.  Is it meant to handle whole grains?  They require longer mix and rise times than white flour and your machine may not have or you may not be using that cycle.

The user manual to my bread machine contains a troubleshooting section - you may wish to consult that for yours.

Just some thoughts.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

sounds to me like overproofed dough or too much fermentation.  Try using less, start with half as much.

proth5's picture
proth5

I was thinking it was not overproofing, but now that you mention it, it might be.  In that case water temperature (it apparently needs to be quite cool in some bread machines and warmer in others) and type of yeast would be big variables - as well as the amount.

For me, as a formula developer, the bread machine presents quite a challenge as cycle times are fixed and you cannot use eyes and hands to adjust (who would have thought it - it is harder for me to make good bread in a machine than by hand - seems backwards, somehow.)  Even the order of the ingredients as they are placed in the machine will cause problems.  I've got to give some credit to those folks who do bread machine recipes and really, the folks who built the machine spent a lot of effort getting them right for their machine and a beginning baker should follow them.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Looks like we posted at the same time, do we owe each other a drink or something?

Cathdays, What kind is yeast is two kinds?  If Active Dry or Fresh, make sure the recipe also calls for it.  Instant yeast or even Rapid rise is most commonly called for.  Each type of yeast is a bit different in the amount and how to use it in a machine.  

proth5's picture
proth5

We might owe each other a virtual drink.

I was surprized when I read the formulas that came with my Zo that the vast majority of them called for Active Dry Yeast.  Only the formulas for "Quick Cycle" (with only one rise) call for instant (or "bread machine") yeast.

This is obviously a consideration when writing formulas.  One can adjust yeast quantities, but it needs to be pretty precise adjustments.

Also, the full cycle on my machine has a wait period before mixing (Not completely sure of the exact function of that...) - so loading the machine in a way that the yeast hits the water to early will produce bad results.

Obviously  I can whip up loaves by hand pretty easily, but the bread machine is a real challenge. The formula is so very important and the exact temperatures and timings need to be understood.  It really does pay to follow the manufacturer's formulas to the letter.

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

Since you're new to bread making, I'll start with basics: Dough needs to rise to a certain extent (height or volume), not to a certain time. It should double in the first rise, then after being punched down, should rise by about 75% to 100% before baking starts (we could quibble on this and discuss oven spring, but let's keep it simple). If you're lucky you'll get additional height ("oven spring") during the baking.

If your dough is rising slowly for whatever reason (low ambient temperature, sluggish yeast or inadequate yeast quantity, insufficient water in the dough, etc.), and the bread machine just uses a dumb timer that doesn't allow enough time, the bread will be underproofed, short and dense. (This is why I don't use a machine.) If your dough is rising very quickly and the machine timer leaves it too long (less likely; this is called overproofing), the dough may collapse.

Watch your machine, and check the dough every five minutes to see what the state of the dough is; does the machine let it double in height before it punches (spins) the dough down for a 2nd rise? In the 2nd rise, does it let the dough nearly double or double again in height before it starts baking it? If the answers are no, you need to adjust the machine (if it lets you) for a longer cycle, or do something to speed the rise (e.g. increase the yeast and/or water slightly or use slightly warm water not cool water), or switch to a more flexible machine, or switch to making bread by hand (which I prefer).

Also, if you change ingredients from what a  recipe says to something that absorbs more water (e.g., high protein bread flour absorbs more than AP flour; whole grain flours do too), the dough will be denser, and thus the rise time will be longer, leading to the same problem, a dense, short loaf. If you measure your flour by scooping a cup into the flour, you're packing too much in, as flour is compressible, and the same problem will occur. Spoon flour into the cup, and level it by sliding a knife horizontally across the top, or use recipes in weights, and a scale. If all these problems occur simultaneously, it's easy to produce a hockey puck in a bread machine.  

Toni3709's picture
Toni3709

I don't know where you live, but could it be the water?  I live in the Washington, D.C. area, and our water has so much chlorine that you can smell it.  I use bottled water when I make bread, because chlorine can kill yeast cells.  Just a suggestion, for what it's worth.

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

I'm having the same problem as the original poster - bread not rising, in my brand new Zo machine.  I can make decent white bread, but it doesn't seem to be able to cope with whole wheat recipes at all.  The dough never rises in the machine.  I'm using the type of yeast recommended, the types of flour in the recipes, adding items in the correct order and using the cycles in the recipes.  

I've also tried some "foolproof" recipes from a bread machine cookbook, with even worse results, as if that's possible (I can't understand how dozens of people have bought the same cookbook and used the recipes in the very machine I have and allegedly had consistently great results when I've had nothing but epic failures.  It makes no sense. I'm not a complete novice).

Also, I've noticed that there is no heat at all in the baking chamber during the rise cycles.  Is this a fault in the machine? Because the temperature in there is far lower than I would use if I was making bread by hand, especially whole wheat - I would normally put the dough in its bowl in the bathroom and close the door.  It gets nice and warm in there and the dough rises beautifully. I can't see how it could possibly rise in a stone cold machine.  Again, it makes no sense.

I'm thinking of adding gluten, or a bit more yeast, or even a bit more water.  Anyone have any ideas which of these might work?  According to some sources Canadian wheat does not require the addition of gluten, but so far I can't say I believe it, based on my experience.

 

 

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

 it doesn't seem to be able to cope with whole wheat recipes at all.  

Whole wheat flour absorbs more liquid, so your dough will end up drier unless you increase the water.  It also interferes with gluten development so it's best to use only part whole-wheat, and make sure the remaining flour is high gluten, or add vital wheat gluten (and you also need to add extra water for these last two). So yes, add more water. A bit more yeast couldn't hurt.

Also, I've noticed that there is no heat at all in the baking chamber during the rise cycles.  Is this a fault in the machine? 

I'll venture a guess that yes, it's a fault in the machine. Try using warm water instead of cool, and try putting it in a warm spot.

Finally, bread dough needs time to rise, and should be shaped (and baked, respectively) when it has risen adequately, rather than when some timer (like in an unintelligent bread machine) goes 'ding!'  So I recommend against using bread machines. I chucked mine long ago due to similar frustrations.

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

Thanks for your detailed comments.  I'll try adding gluten to everything and increase the water and yeast a tiny amount.  

I don't have the option of chucking the machine, since it was a gift lovingly presented on the purchase of our new home.  There would be too many hurt feelings.  

I have contacted the manufacturere to find out about the unheated rise cycle. I have made bread using a Kitchen Aid, and so I know what the dough should be like, and the lumpy blobs I see ithrough the window of my machine are definitely not that! 

I guess the allegedly foolproof bread cookbook I bought isn't for my machine, though the authors swear it is.  Hm.  Now I have to wonder about all those glowing reviews on Amazon.

Toni3709's picture
Toni3709

I only use  vital wheat gluten when I'm using whole wheat flour.   I use my bread machine to make bread and rolls, and the amount of water needed, varies depending on the relative humidity on that particular day.  I always keep watch early on, as the ingredients are being incorporated, and on many occasions I have had  to add additional flour or water depending on how the dough was coming together.    It's no different if you were making bread dough manually.

     Don't give up on your bread machine.  I don't have my King Arthur Flour Baking Companion in front of me, but based on their test kitchen results, the bread machine does a better job of kneading bread doughs than stand mixers or even folks who mix doughs by hand.

     I don't use fast rise yeast for my breads.  I purchase an active dry organic yeast from a company called www.frontiercoop.com that is absolutely fantastic.  Every recipe that calls for 1/4 ounce of yeast, or one pre-packaged packet that contains 2 1/2 tsps, is too much for my regular recipes.  I only use 2 tsps for my recipes and it is sufficient.  Perhaps the brand that I use has more live cells than other commercial brands that I've tried in the past.  Every machine has it's unique quirks.

      This is my second machine, which is a West Bend model, and I am very happy with it.  My first one was a Breadman and it still works great.  What I have found out is that I had to "learn" my machines and become familiar with how they mix doughs.  I would never use a recipe from a bread book, until I tested the recipes that came with my machine.  And based on what I've learned regarding how my machine functions, then I could venture out and try recipes from other books.  But first, I had to understand how my machines worked.

 

   

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

I have to admit I'm close to giving up after another disaster today, a whole wheat/oat bread. I followed the recipe exactly, but with the additional of gluten, and still got a brick.

I do think the problem might be the machine, you know.  The dough ALWAYS ends up stuck on one side of the machine at the end of the kneading cycle.. The result is a lopsided loaf each and every time, whether the dough rises or not (sometimes I get a sluggish rise, like the yeast is half asleep, sometimes almost no rise at all). And the dough never looks nice and soft and glossy the way I remember it from hand kneading and from using the Kitchen Aid. It always looks heavy and dry and cracked and it doesn't ever form a nice smooth ball. It's a stiff, crusty mis-shapen lump that produces a hard, crusty, mis-shapen, low-slung bread brick that one wishes to throw at the wall, just to see which is made of sterner stuff. 

It's frustrating, because I know several people who love their bread machines and say they get great results no matter which bread machine cookbook they use, and they don't fuss about the exact kind of yeast or flour or any of those nitpicky things I've been playing around with over the last week. They just measure, add, and push the Start button.

I have to decide soon as the return opportunity is getting shorter as the days go by. But 'll give the manufacturer's recipes another shot, just the basic white and whole wheat recipes, before I give up.

Toni3709's picture
Toni3709

Nora, please post a copy of the recipe you're using so I can try it in my machine.  But if you think it might be the machine, at least exchange it while the warranty is still in effect.

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

This is the 100% Whole Wheat recipe from the Zojirushi booklet that came with my machine. The loaf flopped miserably; If I can figure out how to post a picture I will show the results I just got, since the loaf is now out of the machine.

1 - 7/8 cups  Water

5 cups whole wheat flour

3 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp Dry Milk

2 tsp salt

4 Tbsp Vital Wheat Gluten

2 Tbsp Butter

2 tsp Active dry yeast (In this last instance I used Fleischmann Traditional and increased the amount to 2-1/4 tsp at the Zo rep's suggestion, though I have failed equally using Fleischmann Bread Machine yeast, too)

The manufacturer calls for wet ingredients first, then flour, then other ingredients including Sugar salt, dry milk and butter, then yeast last, in a dry well in the centre of the flour. 

The recipe does not specify whether this makes a 1.5 or 2 lb loaf, but I just took the loaf out of the pan, and I could swear the darned thing weighs ten pounds. As predicted, never reached to the edges of the pan, and has flat ends.

Cheers.

 

 

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

Okay, here are some pictures.   

That first one is what the dough looked like after it had been kneaded and had been through the first rise cycle. 

 Here's what it looked like at the end of the second rise:

 

Here's just before the baking cycle started:

 

 

And here is the misrable end product:

 

 

That's a loaf made using the manufacturer's recipe for 100% whole wheat bread with no ingredient substitutions.

Impressive, eh? :)

Toni3709's picture
Toni3709

I always use vital wheat gluten when baking whole wheat bread because wheat flour is not as elastic as bread flour.  I use a Tbsp for every cup of whole wheat flour.

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

Thank you.  That's an important piece of the puzzle.

Toni3709's picture
Toni3709

Nora,

     Add the ingredients in the order listed:

In a wet measuring cup add:

1 Cup distilled water with one beaten egg  (heat water in microwave til temp is approx 80 degs F)

Pour into liquid bread pan and add:

1 tsp salt

2 Tbsps sugar

In a separate bowl combine, using a dry measuring cup and level off with a knife:

1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour

2 1/4  Cups Bread Flour

2 Tbsps Dry Milk

1 Tbsp Vital Wheat Gluten

Stir these ingredients with a whire wisk until thoroughly combined, and pour into the bread pan on top of the liquid ingredients

Add 2 tsps yeast on top of the dry ingredients and close the lid

(Watch to see how ingredients are being incorporated.  If dry ingredients are being picked up on the sides of the bread pan, that's good.  If not, add water, 1 tsp at a time, until all flour is incorporated and dough is held together.  If it appears that dough is too wet, add flour, 1 tsp at a time)

The room temperature does make a difference.  It should be comfortable and not too chilly.

Use the basic white bread selection for your bread machine, and it should bake off in about 3 hours.  This recipe should yield a 1 1/2 lb loaf of bread.

     When you measure your flour for your recipes, dip a Tbsp into your flour bag and put the flour into a dry measuring cup, and once you get a full cup, level off with a knife.  Don't dip the cup into the bag and pack it in.  You'll generally end up with too much flour.

     Nora, Please let me know how the recipe works for you.  I knew immediately when I saw the amount of flour, (5 cups), that amount even exceeded what is required for a 2 lb loaf of bread.   I sincerely want the bread machine to work for you. 

 

*

 

 

 

    

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

Thanks for the recipe.  I'll give it one last go. I think, though, that this machine jusr doesn't work.  I've been following recipes for 45 years and I've made lots of bread in the past, and there's just something off about the kneading process in this machine.  It isn't doing the job.  You can tell just from looking at it.  None of the recipes I've tried have worked.  But if your recipe is tried and true, it'll be a good final test and last chance before the thing goes back to Amazon.  

I am measuring my flour using the method you recommeded.  Ironically, the very best loaf I made in this machine was the first one, and I scooped the flour from the bag using the measuring cups.  So go figure. 

proth5's picture
proth5

After looking at pictures, it is perfectly obvious that your machine is not mixing properly.  Again, I've been doing 100% whole wheat loaves to do formula development and after mixing, the dough is smooth and well developed.  If the dough isn't developed properly, it won't rise.  So you aren't getting rise - you can't with that dough.

Again, this is just to confirm your suspicion that the machine is defective.  It is.  Return it.

Let me suggest Pleasant Hill Grain as an alternate source for Zojirushi bread machines.  I know it seems like a thing is a thing is a thing and the vendor shouldn't matter.  But sometimes it does.

Wishing you better luck next time.

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

Toni,

Many thanks. Your recipe worked well. I have a very crooked loaf (the machine always deposits the dough at one end of the pan at the end of the kneading process), but it rose nicely.

Here's the thing - your recipe called for me to use the White cycle (called the Basic cycle on this machine). Because I always want whole wheat or a blend, I have always followed the manufacturer's instructions to use the Basic Wheat Cycle, and have never tried the Basic (White) cycle before.  I noticed that during the Rise cycle this time, on the Basic cycle, the machine was warm.  It was obvious right from halfway through the Rise cycle that I was going to get a loaf of bread this time.

I have commented elsewhere on the fact that the rise cycle on the Wheat setting had no warmth at all; it was stone cold, in fact, and predictably the dough responded by not rising. My conclusion is that the Wheat cycle on this machine is malfuctioning.  We'll send this unit back and try another one.  If that doesn't work, I might try a Breadman instead.

Edit:  I also meant to comment that this machine has a feature that allows you to select how dark you want your crust.  That function does not work on the Wheat Cycle. I had forgotten about that. I noticed it the first time I used the machine, couldn't get it to work, chalked it up to operator error, and moved on.  Of course, it works perfectly on the Basic Cycle.

Also, it is interesting to note that my experience with this machine is echoed by many people on Amazon.com.  It seems that a certain proportion (looks like about 15%) of the Zoji Home Bakery Supremes malfuction. I got a lemon, in point of fact.

Cheers.

 

whoops's picture
whoops

I am curious which model you have of the Zo? I have an older model, and I had one loaf that turned out that way, but ever since then my loaves turn out decent. Not as pretty as the ones I bake in the oven in the bread pan, but decent enough. Mine sometimes rise too much, then fall slightly, so I think I am going to reduce the amount of yeast, as suggested in the trouble shooting portion of my manual.  Also, does your model have one or two paddles? mine has 2. I got mine used, but it is working just fine, although I do sometimes tweak the recipes some. I have the BBCC V20. Was actually thinking of upgrading to the newer Virtuoso so I can play with it a  bit more. I got mine in September, and I bake on average 2 loaves a week, sometimes more of 100% whole wheat. I simply adapted my other recipe (basically just cut it in half)My recipe is:

1 1/2 c water

1/3 c honey

1 1/2 tbsp butter

1/2 tsp salt

4 c ww flour ( I Usually  use Bob's Red Mill organic stone ground but I have also used the organic whole wheat from the food coop bins with no difficulty, or other store brand organic ones)

3 tbsp vital wheat gluten flour (Bob's Red Mill)

2 1/2 tsp yeast active dry-  but as I said I think next time I will try with 2 1/4 tsp, or maybe just 2 tsp and see what happens.

I put in the water, honey, and melt the butter and add that, then the salt, flour, and yeast on top. I use the basic whole grain setting. My machine makes a 2 lb loaf, so not sure if that will be too much for your machine or not.

Good luck!

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

Whoops

My machine was a brand new Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme.  It had two paddles and a horizontal bread pan. I think this is the newest model. It has a 1.5 to 2 lb capacity (i.e. it holds 12 cups of water). 

Not one of the 100% whole wheat recipes I tried worked, not even the basic recipe provided by the manufacturer.  All of the recipes I tried were developed for bread machines and all were for 1.5 or 2 lb loaves. Given that every loaf was an epic failure, I came to the conclusion that it was the machine that was faulty, specifically the Wheat Cycle. No rise = no bread, simple equation.

We'll be getting a replacement and we'll see how that one does.

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

Try adding more water. Feel the dough halfway through mixing. Is it still very sticky? It should be. And feel the dough after mixing is done. Is it still at least tacky like a Post-it note, or even a bit sticky? It should be. If it's not, it's too dry, and dry dough doesn't mix well (especially in a machine), and doesn't rise well (especially in a machine running on a dumb timer).  Anything from very sticky to tacky is good for most breads, but dry doesn't work well for most things except bagels IMO.

Toni3709's picture
Toni3709

Nora, I am so happy that the recipe worked well for you!!  By all means, send that machine back and get a replacement.  That particular recipe yields a fairly decent loaf of bread that can stand up to peanut butter and jelly, (a favorite of my grandchildren).  I have some pain in my wrists, and the bread machine is such a big help to me.  I have a Breadman which has served me well in the past, but I love the crumb that I get when I use the Westbend..It's the model that is completely white and costs less than 100 bucks.  I recommended it to a friend, and she loves it, too.

     Again, Nora, I am so happy that I could help you.  Please keep me informed of your bread making adventures, and please share any recipes that you think I might want to try.

Take Care,

 

Toni

 

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

Toni,

The machine went back and a replacement has been ordered.  I would have taken a picture of the loaf I made with your recipe, but it was gone almost before it cooled down. Now that`s what I call bread. Yum.

Toni3709's picture
Toni3709

Nora,

     I'm glad you enjoyed the bread!!  I was hoping you would have saved me a slice for toast in the morning.  LOL  Oh well, I'll wait on the new machine.  I don't blame you for eating the bread.   I'm a bread lover from way back.  Please let me know when you make your first loaf with the new machine.  I would love to know how it turns out.

Toni