Strawberry bread falls in middle

Discussion in 'Bread' started by Tejas_Ruthie, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. Tejas_Ruthie

    Tejas_Ruthie Member

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    Hello, can someone advise how to prevent the middle of my strawberry bread from falling in? It falls in about 1.25 inches. Otherwise the bread tastes great.

    Thank you! 20180811_102030.jpg 20180811_101652.jpg
     
    Tejas_Ruthie, Aug 11, 2018
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  2. Tejas_Ruthie

    Tejas_Ruthie Member

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    When I cut into the bread, the middle was not fully baked :(
     
    Tejas_Ruthie, Aug 11, 2018
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    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Hello, welcome to the forum.

    It’s impossible to know which factor or combination of factors is causing your quick bread to sink in the middle. But here are a few of the most common causes.

    Hydration: if the ratio of liquid to flour is too high. Too much liquid will undermine the gluten structure. If hydration is from eggs and butter the only practical way to adjust the moisture is to slightly increase the flour. Start with a couple tablespoons more flour.

    If your recipe actually includes a liquid like milk, buttermilk, water or a combination of these, then try reducing the liquid


    Sugar: too much sugar will also cause collapse. Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it pulls moisture from its environment. Sugar will compete with flour for the available moisture in the batter. If the sugar pulls too much moisture away, the flour will not have enough moisture to form a strong gluten network. A lot of baking sites claim the amount of sugar in quick breads is of no consequence. But dismissing the ratio of sugar, flour, and hydration is to completely ignore the fundamental science of baking. Sugar’s role in baking doesn’t change simply because it’s dismissed out of hand. If the sugar is 70% or great in weight (not volume, but weight) then try reducing the sugar.


    Under-baking: The best way to determine doneness is check the internal temperature. For an enriched bread like quick bread bake to an internal temperature of 200°F.


    Pan: I am not a fan of nonstick coating, dark metal pans. These types of pans conduct heat more intensely. The bottom and outer edges over bake, while the center underbakes. And of course an under baked center is going to collapse.

    On the other hand if you fully bake the center, then the outer edges and bottom are dry and tough from over baking.

    Quick bread temperatures vary greatly by recipe, anywhere from 350°F up to 400°F. When using non-stick and/or dark metal pans you have to reduce the oven temperature to account for the intense heat conduction.


    Manufacturers of these types of pans recommend reducing the oven temperature by 15°F - 25°F. It is best to use an oven thermometer to confirm the oven temperature. The temperature you set on the dial and the actual temperature in the oven chamber is rarely accurate. So placing a thermometer in the center of the oven to confirm the temperature before loading the oven is best.

    Preheating your oven: Heating the oven takes considerable time. Home ovens have really poor seals. Preheat the oven for 20 minutes then confirm it is at the correct temperature before you load it. My oven actually takes 30 minutes to come up to temperature. And when I say “temperature” I’m referring to the temperature in the oven chamber with the rack in the middle of the oven and the thermometer placed in the middle of that rack.

    Cookie sheet and Silpat: I noticed your loaf pans are on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat. Did you bake the loaves on the cookie sheet and silpat? If so, this would Interfere with proper baking.

    Conventional ovens are heated with a single heating element in the oven floor. By placing a cookie sheet under the loaf pans, the heat distribution in the oven chamber is significantly changed. The cookie sheet blocks the heat from circulating freely around the loaf pans.

    By placing both a cookie sheet and a silpat mat under the loaf pans you not only change heat distribution, but completely change how the loaf pan itself conducts heat. The cookie sheet and silpat are changing the rate in which the loaf pan itself heats, and the rate it transfers that heat into the batter.

    Proper baking requires warm air to circulate evenly around each loaf pan. So place the loaf pans directly on the racks for better heat circulation.


    Just an aside, never place anything on your oven floor, especially aluminum foil. Anything directly on the oven floor will intensify and redirect the heat around the heating element. If an oven is built into the cabinetry, The heat can cause a fire in the cabinetry. Even if the oven is freestanding, there’s a fire hazard with covering an oven floor.


    Filling the pan: Take care not to overfill the pan. If the batter rises even slightly above the rim of the pan during baking, it will then collapse in the middle as there is nothing to support the upward rise of the batter.


    Many baking sites will blame collapse on “old” baking soda or baking powder. This is not the case. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. Baking powder is nothing more than baking soda with the addition of an acid to activate it.


    Sodium bicarbonate is naturally occurring substance. It’s present in all living things. It’s mined from the earth where it formed thousands of years ago. The notion that baking soda suddenly goes bad from sitting in a pantry for six months is ridiculous.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 11, 2018
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  4. Tejas_Ruthie

    Tejas_Ruthie Member

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    This is so helpful. Next time, I'll try these things, modifying till I get it right.
    1. Lower temp to 325. If I can find a thermometer to verify temp I will use it.
    2. Do not use silpat.
    3. Do not use non scratch, non stick pans. Is glass ok?
    4. Do not use cookie sheet.
    5. Reduce amount of sugar.

    Do I put the loaves on top shelf or middle rack?

    Also, my oven does convection and regular baking. Issue occurs whether I use normal mode or convection.

    Those are good, simple places I can start. Thanks again.
     
    Tejas_Ruthie, Aug 11, 2018
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  5. Tejas_Ruthie

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Glass, non-stick, dark metal, and anodized aluminum like Far Daddio brands all conduct heat more intensity.

    Uncoated, untreated, light color aluminum bakes the best overall.
    See pic below of a test I did using two types of pans.

    You can certainly experiment with glass, however I would also reduce the oven temperature by about 15°F. Glass is very slow to heat up but once it heats it conducts the heat quite intensely. That’s why it’s good for piecrust.


    If your oven is a home convection oven I would NOT use it.


    Confection was designed for commercial baking. The air is circulated by a fan to ensure free hot airflow all around multiple pans. This is critical when you have a dozen pans baking at the same time.


    Each additional pan in the oven effects the temperature and distribution of heat in the oven. Baking 20 pounds of batter in 20 pans has different heating requirements from that of a single loaf pan of batter.


    Convection bakes too hot, couple that with dark metal and treated metal pans and nothing is going to bake properly. So stick with the conventional setting.


    Oven thermometers are very inexpensive. A Taylor brand oven thermometer is about $7 and available in stores like Target.


    Rather than reducing the sugar it might be better to start with slightly increasing the flour. Because that will in effect reduce overall hydration.


    How do you measure the flour?


    That is very important. For the best results it’s good to bake by weight. But if you’re baking by volume (cups), then how you fill the measuring cup is very important. The method used can vary the amount of flour in the cup by as much as 25%.


    If you are using the spoon and level method, then try the dip and level. That would increase the flour by a couple of tablespoons.


    Spoon and level: 1 cup = approx 120g - 135g flour


    Stir flour to un-compact

    Spoon into cup above the rim

    Do NOT pack down

    Level to rim with table knife


    Dip and level: 1 cup = approximately 140g - 155g flour


    Stir flour to un-compact

    Dip cup into flour and fill above the rim

    Do NOT pack down

    Level to rim with table knife

    These cake layers were made from the same batch of batter, baked in the oven at the same time, same temperature of 325°F, same amount of time. The only difference was one layer was baked in an untreated metal pan, the other in a Fat Daddio anodized aluminum cake pan.

    The top layer is over baked. That is a result of the Fat Daddio anodized aluminum.

    I sliced the over baked layer in half to examine the crumb in the center. Not only is the outside over baked but the inside was dry.

    F5A5E5FE-44FF-42A7-B112-6538470BFC73.jpeg
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 11, 2018
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  6. Tejas_Ruthie

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    To be fair not everyone feels the same way as I do about metal choice.

    The author of the attached article doesn’t think there’s really that much of a big difference.

    She also thinks that dry crispy crunchy crust is desirable. Definitely a personal preference thing. There’s no doubt that a dry crispy crust means greater moisture evaporation which means dry and chewy.

    https://food52.com/blog/19554-why-the-material-of-your-loaf-pan-matters-more-than-you-think
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 11, 2018
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  7. Tejas_Ruthie

    Tejas_Ruthie Member

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    I have a lot to learn. o_O
     
    Tejas_Ruthie, Aug 12, 2018
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  8. Tejas_Ruthie

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Believe me we are all still learning. I’ve been baking and studying the science of baking for close to 20 yrs now. Still learning, still taking classes. Still pull fails out of the oven.:confused: Still feel the glory of victory when it bakes to expectations:D
     
    Norcalbaker59, Aug 12, 2018
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    Becky Administrator

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    Great advice @Norcalbaker59! My first thought whenever I see a sunk middle is that it is underbaked, so personally I would try baking it for longer (at a slightly lower temperature) before making any adjustments to the recipe. Plus removing the baking sheet and silicon mat are also a great idea. I'd do those things first before adjusting the sugar, otherwise there are too many variables changing at once to know what the culprit was.

    When you bake cake batter it goes from a thick liquid with small air bubbles to a solid sponge with larger air bubbles. The structure is very important, and it takes a while for it to 'set'. You can think of it like this; if you open the oven door before the structure has properly 'set' then it does not have the strength to hold in place and it collapses with the cold air. That is what can cause cakes to sink in the middle. I always try and wait until at least 80% of the baking time has passed before opening the oven door to take a peek (as my oven doesn't have a glass window).
     
    Becky, Aug 13, 2018
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    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

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    I have had the same sunken middle when making strawberry bread before and after reading this I'm guessing that it was just too much liquid.

    The recipe I have calls for frozen strawberries, thawed. Whether or not I completely drained the berries after thawing probably was the factor in my success - or lack of - lol!

    Great info here overall though! Thank you!!!
     
    AuntJamelle, Aug 22, 2018
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