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Bread in bread machine collapses

giraffez's picture
giraffez

Bread in bread machine collapses

I’ve been baking bread in my bread machine for years and recently my bread started to collapse.  I haven’t changed the recipe and it’s how I’ve been making it for years. 

it’s a bread mix whole wheat recipe. 

 

400g bread mix

50g honey

325ml warm water

1 1/4 tsp yeast

add liquid ingredients then flour then yeast.

 

I can’t work out what’s gone wrong.  Is it too much liquid or too much yeast?

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

When you say "collapsed," do you mean that the roof of the loaf collapsed downward, or that the sides of the loaf collapsed inwards?

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If the output changed, then one or more of the inputs must have changed.

1.  Bread mix.  Did you change to a different bread mix?   like from white to whole wheat?   Did the manufacturer change the ingredients of the bread mix?

2. Did you start using a new jar of yeast, or switch brand?

3. Did you change from active dry yeast to instant/bread-machine yeast?

4. Did you change the type of water?  Like from chlorinated tap water to bottled water?  Or did you start filtering your tap water?

5. If the bread machine is years old, the thermostat may have malfunctioned.  Is the crust darker on the bread than it was before?  Is there an exposed temperature probe below or to the side of the bread pan?   If so, check to see it is not caked or covered with flour, or has been bent into the wrong position.  If a temperature probe is covered/caked, the temp can get hotter, which might cause a faster and higher rise, and therefore a roof-collapse.

6. Why are you using yeast in addition to bread mix?  Isn't yeast included in or with the bread mix?

7. Is this recipe printed on the box of bread mix?  Or where is it from?

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I started out baking bread with a bread machine. When I started adding whole wheat, I did not know that I had to reduce the amount of yeast, and I got the roof-collapse thing.

 

giraffez's picture
giraffez

Yes the roof collapsed, the side is fine.

nothing to my knowledge has changed.  The bag of bread mix came in four packets, I’ve already used two of them before it started to collapse so I can rule out the bread mix.  

I used the same filtered water plus a bit of hot water the same as before.  The yeast is not new but it’s still working, I just made pizza on the same day and it was foamy and the pizza base ballooned without any effort.

I don’t know about the thermostat but the bread wasn’t burnt, came out the same colour as normally.

 

the recipe initially started by following the box but the bread didn’t come out perfectly so I adjusted it via trial and error.  I’ve been using this portion for years now.  Not sure why all of a sudden it’s not working.  Two consecutive loaf has failed.

i googled and it says a roof collapsing is usually because too much water or too much yeast but I’m not sure how to tell which without baking another loaf and trying again

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Well, if the results changed, then an input changed.

And if you are absolutely sure that you made no substitutions or changes on your part, then ... somehow ... the mix changed.

So... either the two packets that caused roof collapse had extra moisture in the mix, or they had extra yeast.

If you did not notice that the mix had more moisture, then... chances are it had extra yeast somehow.

Sometimes, factory machines screw up.

If there is a product website maybe you could contact/email the manufacturer, give them the UPC and Best-by (or expiration date) and "lot code" if any, tell them what happened, and ask if there were any known anomalies with that batch, or if things were intentionally or  permanently changed.

Good luck.

giraffez's picture
giraffez

Ok thank you.

in the meantime, what do you think I should do with the remaining mix.  Should I reduce the yeast from 1 1/4 teaspoon to say 1 teaspoon or should I reduce the water content from 325ml to say 300ml?  Is that too much of a reduction?

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

I'm just guessing here, this is not a "definitive" answer....

If the crumb was moister.... reduce the water a bit.

If the crumb had the same moisture as usual, reduce the yeast.  If you had a picture of the collapsed crumb, someone might be able to guess/estimate how much to reduce the yeast.

But, if it is due to an error at the plant, the next packet may or may not have the same error.

It's hard to imagine they would change the formula, and in the same box have some packets from the old formula, and some from the new formula.

giraffez's picture
giraffez

Thanks.  The crust is normal but the bread body (soft part) seems to have a bit more moisture than normal.  

ive already sliced the bread so the entire thing is deconstructed not very useful to take a photo now 😅

also to mention, the bread body feels a bit more  heavy than usual. A bit more stiff not as soft and fluffy as it usually is

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

You made two good loaves, then two collapsed loaves, but still have a packet left over?

Doesn't one packet  make just one loaf? Or do you split a packet?

And... is the yeast that comes with it (not the yeast you add) already mixed into the bread mix at the factory, or does the mix's yeast come in separate packets?

What country are you in?  Maybe your "bread mix" is different than US bread mix.

Is your bread  mix supposed to already have yeast in it, or with it in a separate packet?

giraffez's picture
giraffez

Haha one packet has 600g of flour.  I only use 400g per loaf.  Hence why there is still left over.  The yeast is seperate and not mixed in.  I store the yeast in the fridge when it’s not being used and as I’ve mentioned previously, while the yeast is old, it is still active and working.  im in Australia 

does the above change anything😁?

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Okay, so the 1-1/4 tsp yeast that you mentioned at the top comes out of the yeast packet that came with the mix, correct?

 I want to make sure we are clear about if you are adding some of your own yeast... yeast that did not come with the mix.  

If sometimes you use yeast that came with the mix, and sometimes you use your own yeast, there is the prime suspect for the change.

More questions:

Do you weigh the mix every time, or did you weigh it just once, and now measure with measuring cups?

Do you weigh the water or use measuring cups?

Did you change your scale?

Did you change your measuring cups?  Some cup sets are imperial and some cup sets are metric.... and usually they don't tell you which they are. (An imperial cup is 236.6 ml and a metric cup is 250 ml.)

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Another tack..... 

AU has had a lot of rain lately.  Floods, I hear.  "Noahic flooding" I heard!  

Maybe your opened (only partially used) bags of mix absorbed a lot of moisture from all the humidity in the air, and that made it more wet.  Did you seal the bags and then store them in another air tight container?

Or, if you used the timer function on the machine, loaded it up in the evening, for it to start the next day for breakfast, the flour mix could have absorbed moisture from the humid air overnight.

One way to test this is to "babysit" the machine, and watch the dough being kneaded to see if it is too wet or loose. Add flour if it is too loose. Pinch off some dough if the dough ball gets too big.

giraffez's picture
giraffez

Some very good points

for the yeast, I add my own, the bread mix comes with a seperate packet of yeast.  So I’m pretty sure the flour mixture doesn’t have yeast mixed in already.

scale is the same digital scale and I weigh it on there everytime I need to make bread.  Regarding the open packet, that did cross my mind but I ruled it out on the second loaf when I opened a brand new packet.  Plus I seal it up (the left overs) the same way I always do with the loaves that work so this isn’t a variable.  I used a measuring cup for the liquid, and while it isn’t exact, I was sure I eyeballed the measurement to make sure the water was at the 325mark at eye level.

Rain has been a problem but that was like 2 weeks ago.  On my baking day, it was nice and sunny but I take your point that because of the rain previously it could have added more moisture.  Can moisture get into a packet of plastic sealed bread flour mixture that hasn’t been opened?  I didn’t think it could but perhaps I’m wrong.  That could be a potential reason why the bread collapsed.  I have another box of four packet bread mix sitting in my cupboard unopened so if it affected this batch, my next box would likely be the same.  But I’m sure we had rain before when I made successful loaves and it didn’t collapse, this is almost like a fortnightly ritual for me making bread for the last 8 years.

the bread machine was on a 5 hour cycle setting for this loaf.  There is about 1h wait time at the beginning of the 5 hours before it starts to mix , so mixes about 1 hour into the 5 hour cycle.  I didn’t put it on a timer. And the 5 hour cycle is how I made the loaves that work.

i did open the machine around 3 hours into the cycle (I do this to my successful loaves as well) to see how the dough was forming and it was fine, wasn’t overly sticky or dry and it was rising.

 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

If you can bear with me, I'm still not clear on whose yeast you are using. This confuses me:

"... , I add my own, the bread mix comes with a seperate packet of yeast."

 Are you adding your own yeast (that you bought separately from the bread mix)  instead of the yeast that comes in the box of mix  (because its not good) ?

Or are you adding your own yeast (that you bought separately from the bread mix)  in addition to what comes in the box (because there isn't enough) ?

Did you switch from using the yeast that came in the box to using yeast that was purchased separately (because there was not enough that came in the box for all the loaves) ?

 "I add my own" leads me to believe you are now using yeast that was purchased separately from the box of bread mix.

 This yeast that you purchase separately may be fresher and more active (more powerful) than the yeast packets that came in the box of mix. 

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In regards to absorbing moisture... when you open a sealed plastic bag and then close it back up, it can be hard to close it _tightly_ enough to keep out moisture.  It's the opened-and-resealed bags that can gain moisture.

Were the loaves that collapsed made with mix from a packet that had been opened and re-closed ?

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also, it doesn't have to be raining at your locale for there to be high humidity. There are weather conditions that can cause humidity, or bring humidity to your area.

I'm still leaning to something changing at the manufacturer. Maybe there were humidity problems at the manufacturing plant.

giraffez's picture
giraffez

Ah sorry for the lack of clarity.  I added my own yeast (purchased seperately).  The bread mix does come with a seperate bag of yeast but I didn’t use that as I still had a opened container.  I always use this seperate container of yeast and had success with previous loaves.  The bag of yeast that comes with the bread mix is vacuumed pack so I just put it away until I run out of the store brought one.

so the first collapsed loaf was from a sealed bag (leftover from the last successful loaf).  It was 400g exact.  The second collapsed loaf was from a brand new bag of bread mix but from the same box.  Each box had four sealed bags.

I sealed it with a plastic sealer I brought here.  It’s like a stick that you slide through the plastic opening.  I don’t know what it’s called but it’s supposed to be air tight. It still had air in the bag when I unsealed it.  But it doesn’t matter because the second loaf was from a brand new bag so probably unrelated to whether the bag was sealed tightly.

it’s just weird that it’s suddenly happened after years of doing the same thing.  Even the sealing of the bags haven’t changed.  

 I’m going to contact the manufacturer tommorow as you suggested but I doubt they will tell me whether there are any variations with their batches. Thanks.

 

 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

In your email, or when you fill out the online contact form, be sure to tell them that you are only using 400 grams at a time, out of the 600 gram packet.

This relates to another possibility....

Maybe the ingredients in the bag separated a bit. We naturally assume that a "mix" has all the ingredients evenly distributed.  But what if that is not the case?

Perhaps the manufacturer switched to a coarser salt, and did not regrind it to the same particle size as the flour particles.  The salt grains, being bigger than the flour particles, would rise to the top during all the jiggling around that happens during transportation.  If you did not shake the bag to redistribute the salt, the salt would mostly be on top.  Or, if you lay the bag down on the counter, and when you come back to it, you pick it up by the other end, all the salt is at the bottom.  In this way, a dough using only 200 or 400 out of the 600 grams in the bag, may not have enough salt. Of course, this could only be true if the manufacturer changed the type of salt.

Salt inhibits yeast and absorbs water, so a batch with less salt would show the signs that you described.

giraffez's picture
giraffez

Okay thanks so much for your help.  I’ve already sent of the email with all the information.  I’ll let you know what they say.

thanks again