Whole wheat bread that caves in when it comes out of the oven-HELP!


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I have been baking my whole wheat bread for decades. I’ve adjusted the recipe from time to time, but not in the last 10 years. With the last few batches the loaves (4 large) come out of the oven looking like always, however they start caving in within 5 minutes: first on the sides and later the bottoms, which makes the formerly nice smooth top surface form wrinkles looking “crinkly”. Important details: in this recipe I developed the dough itself weighs a bit over 5 lbs, which gets evenly divided into 4 loaves; I grind the wheat “berries” just before mixing the dough, most of the kneading is done in my Bosch mixer with a dough hook, I bake in glass pans for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. As I said, none of these aspects have changed except that over the years I’ve used at least 10 different ovens due to moving. Can anyone help me? I’m desperate! For years not only has my family loved my bread, but I’ve given away hundreds of loaves to people who all rave about it! Now, although it still tastes great, I’m embarrassed to give away any. Can anyone help me? I’m desperate!
 
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I have been baking my whole wheat bread for decades. I’ve adjusted the recipe from time to time, but not in the last 10 years. With the last few batches the loaves (4 large) come out of the oven looking like always, however they start caving in within 5 minutes: first on the sides and later the bottoms, which makes the formerly nice smooth top surface form wrinkles looking “crinkly”. Important details: in this recipe I developed the dough itself weighs a bit over 5 lbs, which gets evenly divided into 4 loaves; I grind the wheat “berries” just before mixing the dough, most of the kneading is done in my Bosch mixer with a dough hook, I bake in glass pans for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. As I said, none of these aspects have changed except that over the years I’ve used at least 10 different ovens due to moving. Can anyone help me? I’m desperate! For years not only has my family loved my bread, but I’ve given away hundreds of loaves to people who all rave about it! Now, although it still tastes great, I’m embarrassed to give away any. Can anyone help me? I’m desperate!

Welcome to the farm. I’m sorry you’re having difficulty suddenly with your bread. You covered most of the bases on your process except proofing. It really sounds like over-proofing to me. The collapse out of the oven is the classic sign of an over ripe dough.

Are you proofing by time? Or are you testing the dough for ripeness?

I never proof by the clock. I always test using the poke test. It’s far more telling. The way your dough feels and responds are the best ways to judge when a dough has proofed enough.
 
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Agreed, my first thought would be over-proofing too.

However, if you're confident that that's not the case, then it could be that your oven temperature is too low - try calibrating your oven.
 
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Over proofing could be the case but I would think your oven temperature is very low to bake bread, I would recommend 400-450 depending on the size of the loaf... Good luck :)
 
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Over proofing could be the case but I would think your oven temperature is very low to bake bread, I would recommend 400-450 depending on the size of the loaf... Good luck :)

The believe the temperature depends on the type of bread. Bread baked in loaf pans are typically baked at 350°F. Depending on the formula, some may bake at 375°F. But that is the maximum temperature for these types of breads.

The reason being is they have lower hydration; greater density as the pan compacts the dough; and less surface area exposure to the hot air in the oven. These factors effect the rate of moisture evaporation, protein denaturation, and starch gelatinization.

A slower controlled bake is required to ensure the top crust doesn’t set up too fast and inhibit rise. Lower temperature also ensures the top doesn’t burn before the center bakes.

By contrast a handcrafted loaf is directly exposed to the hot air. The rapid heating triggers faster evaporation. That in turn creates the oven spring. When the spring is complete, the oven is vented to remove the steam and allow proper crust formation.

Oh! Writing this just may me think of something about gluten free bread...I can’t get the texture I want. And it feels wetter than I want. Maybe I’m baking at too low a temperature. It’s very the high hydration, but a pan bread—maybe I need to crank up the temperature to 400°F!
 

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