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Making bread...advice needed.

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by towncryer, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. towncryer

    towncryer Lead commenter

    In my spare time and more so when I'm on holiday I like to make my own bread. I have no problem with the bread rising in the bowl and then again in the tin. It's when I put it in the oven that the problem arises....my beautifully domed bread falls flat....so all my loaves have flat tops.
    I'd welcome any tips from seasoned bakers as to how to stop this happening,
  2. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Hard to tell without knowing more about what you do, @towncryer, so hopefully these questions might push you in the right direction!

    Is the bread dense inside or is it still a decent consistency?

    Are you using old yeast?

    Are you proving for too long? I don't think a lengthy second prove is necessary myself.

    Is the tin too big? I don't tend to use a tin, personally. I prove in a basket and tip out on a baking tray.

    Is the oven too cool?

    Are you opening the oven early on in the bake? The first part of the bake is all about the rise and the second part 'sets' the loaf and firms the crust.
  3. towncryer

    towncryer Lead commenter

    Thanks for the pointers. I take your point on the second proofing.Neither takes too long actually because of the warmth here.
    Yeast not old but it's instant rather than fresh.
    Oven seems to be OK.What I notice is that the loaf is risen really well but,literally as soon as it goes in the oven and I close the door it sinks.I just wonder if there is still too much difference in temperatures. The oven is a microwave/convection oven...obviously I use the convection setting...but it doesn't heat the kitchen up like a more traditional oven would...therefore although it is always hot in the room (no aircondition in the kitchen) it's not as hot as the oven.

    i use a tin..i will try another size to see if that is the problem..I'll also try the baking tray rather than a tin.

    The bread is delicious...it's just that I would like it to look as good as it tastes.
    nick909 likes this.
  4. towncryer

    towncryer Lead commenter

    My method Nick..I use flour and instant yeast...mix it all,knead and leave to rise.
    Then as per my bread making instructions...punch it back down,put it in the tin leave to rsie again...which it does...beautifully.
    Then I take it across to the oven (very small space..literally arm's length) and put it in the pre heated oven ...and this is where it starts to go wrong.I close the door and see the bread collapsing through the glass. I don't open the oven again until the bake time is finished as my oven is very accurate temp and time wise.

    So waht I get is a normal looking loaf except for the top which is flat.
    nick909 likes this.
  5. lapinrose

    lapinrose Star commenter

    Is the texture of the bread fine, lots of small holes creating a spongey look, does it taste OK? If the bread has a good texture and flavour, I wouldn't worry too much. I tend to give bread a really long kneading then shape it or put it the tin, rise once then bake.

    I found this

    My loaf has a flat top
    If the loaf has a flat top then you may have used flour which is too weak. Always use strong bread making flour. Other potential reasons for this problem could be that too little salt was used, the dough was too wet or that the dough was poorly shaped.

    towncryer and nick909 like this.
  6. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I would echo with Lapin that if the texture is fine then I wouldn't worry too much about the appearance.

    And yes, using too weak flour could be key. Forgive my forgetfulness but I can't remember where you're based. I do find that even British strong bread flour, whilst fine, doesn't have quite enough gluten in to give a really satisfying loaf, and use Canadian strong bread flour, which is easily available in supermarkets. I feel a bit of a pang about the carbon footprint, mind!

    And yes, I rise once. Knead (although I sometimes use the no knead method, particularly with a very wet dough), shape, rise once and bake. I only ever punch down if baking flatbreads or individual rolls etc.
    towncryer likes this.
  7. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I think baking in a hot environment is harder, BTW. Despite the usual wisdom about rising in a warm place, I prefer a cool rise/ferment. I sometimes do an overnight ferment in the fridge, in fact, just taking it out first thing in the morning to shape and finish proving for about half an hour or so on the side before baking. The bread tastes better for a slow prove and it means you can have freshly baked bread for breakfast
    nizebaby and towncryer like this.
  8. lapinrose

    lapinrose Star commenter

    I do too Nick, overnight rising in the fridge is excellent, although our kitchen is quite cold, I can easily leave it out overnight.
    nizebaby likes this.
  9. towncryer

    towncryer Lead commenter

    OK i can see two things there that I can look at. I am using all purpose flour...so I will buy bread flour next time...it's just that my recipe said all purpose, but bread flour makes more sense. I will increase the salt too. Thanks for the suggestions. The bread itself is great..flat top or not though I guess it's a bit dense...more like cake than bread and not spongy but definitely eatable.
  10. towncryer

    towncryer Lead commenter

    I'll try the fridge. It might be better. Thankyou for the idea. So you just let it rise once and put it straight in the oven like that?
    Not sure where our bread flour comes from..I'll check.
  11. nizebaby

    nizebaby Star commenter

    If you live in a hot country, there's something to be said for mixing in a certain amount of rice flour. Sorry I can't be more specific.

    I do agree that the slower the rise the better the taste.
    towncryer and nick909 like this.
  12. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    It definitely sounds like the flour. Strong bread flour has a much higher gluten content that is needed to hold the co2 bubbles that form when the dough ferments/proves. Definitely try that.
    towncryer likes this.
  13. towncryer

    towncryer Lead commenter

    Thankyou everyone for your input. I will try the bread flour/rice flour and more salt. When I next bake bread I'll let you know how it goes.

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