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This recipe keeps resulting in collapsed loaf

Shadokat's picture

This recipe keeps resulting in collapsed loaf

Hi Everyone! I'm at my wits' end! I love the flavor of this recipe but can't get it to succeed in my Sunbeam 5891 bread maker. Perhaps some of you can tell me how to adjust this recipe. It rises and looks normal, but then it "pops" like a bubble during baking. I end up with a thin layer of crust on the top and a crater underneath that sinks down about 1/3 of the way.

1 1⁄3 cups milk

1⁄4 cup water

2 tablespoons honey

4 tablespoons butter

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 1⁄4 teaspoons yeast

I'm using a brand-new bag of Gold Medal bread flour purchased and opened a week ago, and a brand new bag of Gold Medal wheat flour purchased and opened the same day as the bread flour. The yeast is Red Star bread machine yeast. The first time I made the recipe I used maple syrup because I was out of honey. Now I'm using freshly purchased and opened raw honey. The salt I'm using is kosher salt. I read that distilled water is better in areas with high mineral content in the water, so I'm using distilled water. I warm the milk/water mixture to 95 degrees (F) when putting it into the machine. The butter is at room temperature and cut into approx. 1/4" cubes. All other ingredients are at room temperature. 

I check the dough after five minutes of mixing and it looks perfect, not too wet or dry. It makes a smooth ball that pulls away from the sides of the pan and is only slightly sticky to the touch. On one try, I added a tablespoon of vital wheat gluten because of the whole wheat flour, but it turned out exactly the same.

I've made this recipe four times. It is delicious and has a soft, even texture. But I cannot get it to stop sinking in the middle. Other recipes don't fail in this bread machine. Some of you may say that I should just pick a different recipe, but I really enjoy the flavor given by the 4 tablespoons of butter. I have a white bread recipe made with 8 tablespoons of butter that I also enjoy, but it doesn't fail.

Adding the tablespoon of vital wheat gluten didn't make a change. The first time I did add a bit too much liquid but being very careful with the correct amount of liquid hasn't changed the result. I live at approx. 4300 feet elevation but am not sure how sensitive recipes are to that. I've never had to adjust another recipe for elevation. Any advice you can give would be appreciated. Or, if someone has a buttery wheat bread recipe that they know will succeed, I would love to try it.

Thank you in advance!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Is it heavy fine crystal or flakey light salt?  Could be that heavy table salt is being replaced by lighter flake salt.  If so, more salt is needed in the dough to control fermentation times, to slow them down if overproofing is happening. How did the bread taste? Try doubling the amount of flaky salt.  It sounds like the dough is overproofing.  If increasing salt doesn't solve the problem, try reducing the amount of yeast in a following loaf.  One change at a time. ...higher elevations also tend to need less yeast.

Oh and forget using distilled water, pack as many good trace minerals as you can into your homemade bread.  :)

idaveindy's picture

If your butter is unsalted, that would be another clue that lack of salt is causing overproofing.  Most recipes assume salted butter, if not specified otherwise.

Mini is right about coarse kosher salt being less dense.  The recipe likely assumes "table salt", and a teaspoon of that weighs more than a teaspoon of kosher salt.

(If you don't want to increase the salt, because it tastes perfect as is, then reduce the yeast.)

If you have a small scale that can measure 1/10th of a gram, use 6 grams of your kosher salt.  6 grams is the weight of a teaspoon of table salt.


How are you measuring the flour?   Scooping and shaking, or do you spoon the flour into the measuring cup?  Most recipes assume the scoop method.  Spooning flour into the cup results in less flour.  and too little flour for the water (or too much water for the flour) will also result in the collapse you describe.

4300 feet elevation is probably enough to adjust the water slightly, but I forget which way it goes.

idaveindy's picture

shadokat:  here's King Arthur Flour's page on altitude adjustments

Looks like reducing sugar/honey and/or yeast might apply to your situation using a bread machine.  You describe the dough ball behaving correctly, as it needs to be in a bread machine, so adjusting water/flour is less indicated.

ds99303: you're probably right about the spoon versus scoop method. I've been focusing more on bread/pizza books that use weight measurements versus volume, and going by what I see on youtube, seeing people scoop to measure.

idaveindy's picture

Shado: This seems to describe what you described.


Method 1, step 6. Use less yeast if all other altitude baking adjustments fail to provide firm bread dough that doesn't collapse after rising and baking. Reduce the yeast by 1/8 tsp. to see if you get a firmer bread dough. If you are unhappy with your finished bread, decrease yeast by another 1/8 tsp. each time you attempt the recipe until you are happy with the finished product.