The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Bad run

Thegreenbaker's picture

Bad run

I donbt know what I am doing at the moment, but the last 3 batches of bread I have made have sucked.

Seriously sucked.


Undercooked, no oven spring, dense, the only thing I can say is that they were tasty enough.

I tried the 5 mins a day master recipe and I didnt like it. I used whole wheat and that may have been the problem but I found it waaaaaaaaaay toooooo salty for my linking.

I used 1/3 of that to make a loaf and the oven spring was really nice so was the crumb, but I just didnt like the taste. I use the rest as a preferment and added it to approximately an equal weight of flour. I didnt add any more yeast or salt and it turned out nicely. By nicely I say It tasted much better, but the crumb was still a bit moist yet the outside was going to charr if I left it in the oven.

Then yesterday I made my usual oat bread.....and it was terrible.

UNDERCOOKED. My hubby who  a. has a cold and cant taste anything and b. really, hasnt got a highly developed pallette for bread or food said the bread was fine and I even after tasting it before him and deciding it was cooked just moist from the oats....believed him and ate a piece..toasted....nope. TERRIBLE. UNDERCOOKED> It also was almost charred.

I had the oven set to 240 degrees celcius for 10 mins then turned it down to 190-210 for the remainder of the cooking time. It still didnt DO much at all.

I am not happy. What a waste offlour and money.


Thwe only thing I have been doing differently is not sifting the flour and not adding a bit of unbleached strong while flour. Its cheaper to buy organic WW strong bread flour than it is to buy Organic strong white/unbleached bread flour. I also began sifting my wholewheat flour as I suspected a bug infestation, and my bread which was already suprising me with its results, improved immensely. (No bugs though) So I kept sifting. Then a few days ago I decided to try not sifting again because I really DO LOVE the flavour of wholewheat bread (and not ading that 1/2 cup of white flour) and the bits that were cooked well were soooo delicious, the rest was doughy half cooked crud. *sigh* The thing is, I even had window pane! Window pane after autolyse and kneading my whole wheat OAT bread! yet it still didnt do anything :( Perhaps I over proofed yesterdays loaf. It collapsed after I slashed it.

Even my pancakes this morning were undercooked.  I used a mix of white SR flour and my WW bread flour and they were just gloopy on the inside! I wonder if it has anything to do with the flour. :S


I am going to try one more time today. I will go back to my treacle loaf recipe and follow it step by step and see what happens.

Fingers crossed because I am missing my new standard of bread. 


I am going to go bonkers if I cant eat yummy bread again!  :( 


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Are you anywhere near Punxsutawney? Maybe if he sees a shadow of your bread, he'll stay out and eat and spring will arrive early! Stuck in a den all winter will drive hunger into any beast! So you've brought an early spring! See? There's a good side to everything! Don't go bonkers, go Plil !!!

...and start out turning 240°c to 220°c right away. Charred outside and raw inside = too hot an oven. Try to underproof a little and see what happens also.

Mini O

Thegreenbaker's picture

lol :)  No ground hogs here in the UK....closest thing is probably a Hedgehog but they are scarce :) cute little things though.

Thanks for the advice Minni O. I think I was in hearth baking  mode with the 240 oven. :S I have some dough autolysing about to be kneaded......fingers crossed we will have bread worth eating tonight!

Perhaps I should ask for a mixer for my birthday!



EsmereldaPea's picture

Okay, for the males and/or squeamish - warning.  I know this might sound strange, but I noticed your picture is of a woman - I'm assuming you are female.  Whenever I had troubles baking, my mother would ask where I was in my cycle.  Amazingly enough, many times I was at the same point in my cycle (I can't remember actually what point it was!).

Maybe your pheremones or hormones are interferring with the baking??  Hey, stranger things have happened.

 And to your comment on the mixer -  then you would miss out on one of the best experiences of bread making - kneading!


Thegreenbaker's picture

hhhmmm I'll keep an eye out. I cer5tainly CAN say In my own experiences...certain aspects of the um, female cycle DO effect my like other than my emotions :)

I am all spacey and exhausted in that time before and thats where I am now.......


Who knows.


I am taking great GREAT care with this loaf that is rising at the moment :)



erina's picture

Hi, perhaps your 5-min-bread did not work because you mixed salt and yeast together (salt will kill the yeast when comes into a direct contact, I was told). I would wait adding the salt after the dough is formed. And about your oat bread, perhaps you can buy a thermoneter and check the bread temp before you take it out of the oven. Or.. have you tried cold oven method (you start with a cold oven, put the bread in, covered with a big ovenprrof bowl, and crank the heat)? I find it work perfectly all the time!



Thegreenbaker's picture

Hi Erina,

I think the stuff about the yeast and salt is a falacy......I watch two videos of Zoe and  Jeff adding salt right there on top of the yeast! I was mortified! It wasnt so much that it didnt rise, just that the salt was just tooooo much.

I am going to attempt it again with less salt and less yeast. Just not today. I am about to fold and shape my dough that I have paid lots of attention to this afternoon :)

Hopefully it will be a success and I can put it down to a few bad days :D



AnnieT's picture

Commiserations, TGB! If it's any consolation, yesterday I baked three of the worst loaves ever. It was a sourdough bread that was stretched and folded then left to ferment overnight, and I should have known better when next morning the dough looked "sullen". When I tipped it out after the required 16 hours it was full of bubbles and looked hopeful, and it was a delight to shape. I baked each batard under the ss mixing bowl, and after the first one I knew something wasn't right, but stupidly I went on to bake the other two. What an utter waste of ingredients, effort and electricity - if you inserted an S before the T in batard you would know what I called them! Funny thing is, they rose in the oven and my slashes got ears. However, the innards were a different story, more like playdo with defined caverns and heavy as lead. Guess that will teach me to brag about the occasional success, A.

Thegreenbaker's picture

Oh no! how aweful! :( Especially when they rose so well in the oven. I couldnt even think what happened there! :(

Bragging about our successes is a good thing! If we all didnt, I wouldnt have any bread porn to spend an hour drooling over!


Tonight bake is making up for yesterdays thanfully. Two nice thick bagguettes (quick bread mind you) and a batard (definitely not needing any extra letters inserted ;)  ) all rising nicely in the oven on a lower temp and for a longer period. Hopefully that will fix the all too moist broblem I am having. :S

So hungry for good bread though!



holds99's picture


Not falacy.  Direct contact with salt can render yeast impotent.  Try eliminating salt completely from a recipe, in a test run, and see what kind of rise you get... it's going to be big.  Most baking authors consistently recommend keeping those two (yeast and salt) in seperate rooms until the wedding, so to speak.  I have made Bernard Clayton's recipe, Pain De Compagne Madame Doz, and on pg. 251 - "kneading", he goes so far as to add the salt midway through the kneading process (salt mixed with a small amount of water, placed into a depression in the center of the dough) and continues the kneading process for another 10 minutes, until the salt is completely absorbed.  Presumably he does this to minimize the impact of the salt on the yeast and starter, he uses both yeast and starter in this recipe.  Personally I have a bias against the one-step process but, as they say, opinions are like noses, everybody has one.  Take heart, I just bombed on a one-step rye, if that's any consolation.  Just keep at it and be on the lookout for hedgehogs, they've been reported in your area (smile).


Rock's picture

I'm wondering if your flour being organic has any addatives.  I base my question on what I've read in Jeffrey Hamelman's "Bread".  He mentions that some millers leave the addition on diastatic malt (which controls enzymatic activity and the falling rate) to the baker.  Look at the original package and see if malt or maltose is listed.  One of the symptons is a weak gummy crumb and a light crust. 

Although salt will retard the yeast due to moisture retention, I've never seen it kill yeast.  Since you've not altered your recipe that much, I would look to the flour.

Good luck, let us know what happens so we can all learn.


bonnie1345's picture

I'm suprised no one suggested it was the sifting verses not sifting. Unless you are weighing your flour, a cup of sifted flour by volume is going to be much lighter then a cup of unsifted flour. Thus, more then likely you are used much more flour then your norm. No need to go back to sifting. Either weigh your flour for consistancy or lightly stir your flour in the container and the spoon into your measuring cup rather then scooping. This should give you approximately the same weight that the sifted flour had.