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Mar 7, 2007 06:14 PM

my bread machine...UGH! [moved from Cookware]

So, I have a bread machine. Okay, it came with 2 mixes, both of which came out puffy and light and delightful, but the idea is to make my own and just make it slave for me, correct?

I CAN NOT, repeat, CAN NOT produce a loaf of bread that is higher than 6 inches tall. I have used warm liquid, room temp liquid, cold liquid, measured exactly, never add too much sugar, always enough salt, bought fresh yeast. What in the sam hell am I doing wrong that my bread never makes it to the top of the bucket like the boxed mixes?

They taste great, but they are obviously dense and damnit, not tall. I want to produce some yeasty goodness instead of yeasty flatness. HELP!!!!

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  1. Bread flour helps a lot. Without looking at your formula its hard to tell.

    3 Replies
    1. re: coastie

      yesterdays nightmare was this

      12oz of beer (room temp)
      4 c of flour (used ap)
      2 T of butter (room temp)
      1t of salt (used kosher)
      2 T of honey (raw from wild oats)
      .25 packet of yeast (red star)

      Did it in the order the machine called for, shut the lid, turned in on regular loaf, 1.5lbs, light crust. Checked on it during mixing to make sure it wasnt too sticky or too dry and it was great. Smelled of yeasty goodness. Came home to a wonderful smell but a sad, dense little loaf. Sigh. Also, the day before used the recipe for buttermilk bread straight off the pack of yeast. Same result. GRRRRRRRRRRRR.

      1. re: chelleyd01

        Based on those proportions, I'd say your dough seems too dry. The yeast seems too light for that much dough, too

        Generally speaking for mixing in bread doughs, it's almost always better to err on the side of too wet, rather than too dry.

        1. re: Professor Salt

          so, should i add more yeast? Anyone have a good bread machine recipe for good, yeasty goodness with that yummy pronounced yeast flavor like in restaurant rolls warm from the oven?

    2. It would help to know what recipe you're using. Can you list the ingredients?

      Are you saying the baked loaf never reached the top of the bucket, or the rising dough never reaches the top of the bucket? That's two different things entirely.

      First guess is it's overproofed. This might be from too much yeast or too long a proof time, possibly both. You want to bake before rising peaks, or it collapses into a flat brick.

      Second guess is that the dough is overkneaded. How many minutes are you running the knead cycle? Overkneading destroys the gluten.

      1. I"m with the good Professor here - I think your bread is over proofing and falling before or while it bakes. Are you using the delay cycle? You mention "coming home". I do not know what kind of bread machine you are using, or how it cycles, but it is possible you have it incorrectly set up, and it is delaying the cycle after the dough is mixed, instead of at the beginning?

        A simple way to check if the problem is with the dough, or later in the machine process would be to let the machine mix up your dough for you, and pull it out of the machine and bake it in your oven. I actually use my bread machine for this almost exclusively, because I hate the shape of the loaves it makes. Pricey wedding present from my grandparents, and it only gets play as a second rate stand mixer, poor thing.

        3 Replies
        1. re: AnnaEA

          Okay, I never use delay because it just scares me. It never ever reaches the top of the bucket on any part of the cycle unless I am using a box mix. The regular loaf is about 10 minutes of kneading. Rest/rise for 30. Punch down for 5. Rest again and bake at the 40 minute mark.

          1. re: chelleyd01

            Okay, sounds like with such a short rise you need a wetter dough with more yeast in it.

            This is a 1.5 lb loaf recipe that works well in my machine - give it a whirl and see how it does in yours. I'm not sure if it will rise to the top in your machine - depends on it's size. It doesn't in mine, since I've got a 2 lb bucket.

            1 cup + 2 tbs water
            1 tbs butter, softened
            3 cups bread flour, or ap flour +3 tbs gluten. -- ap flour will work, but won't rise as high
            2 tbs sugar
            1 tbs dry milk -- often, dry milk works better in breads then fresh milk - something to do with the enzymes in it
            1 3/4 tsp salt
            1 3/4 tsp active dry yeast - the average packet of yeast is about 2 1/4 tsp.

            1. re: chelleyd01

              Knowing this, it's definitely too little water and too little yeast.

              Here's a tip for any kind of bread baking, not just machine bread: Don't add all your flour all at once. Flour absorbs moisture from the air, so it's drier on some days, wetter on others. The way you scoop your flour changes the amount of flour (by weight) in a given cup of flour. Could be 4 ounces, could be 5 ounces.

              So to account for these variabilities, set aside a cup and a half of the flour your recipe calls for. Toward the end of mix in, add a tablespoon at a time until the dough is cohesive, and is just slightly tacky to the touch. Some days, you'll use up all of that reserved flour. Other days, not.

              Also, for that short a proof time, I'd say use the whole packet of yeast.

          2. I'm not a bread machine owner. I would up yeast packet to 1/2.
            If you stop machine at the point mentioned above after kneading and before proofing.... how does dough feel. Is it fairly smooth - not sticky but with stretch. You should be able to pinch a piece off and it should stretch thin enouth to see light through. If it is like that but not rising I suspect its the yeast. Also, try bread flour its higher gluten content helps its structure and keep in the gases produced by the yeast

            2 Replies
            1. re: coastie

              I will get some King Arthur Bread Flour tomorrow and report.. the .25 packet is the ENTIRE packet of yeast. Should I just go to a jar and use spoonfuls? Also, where should I store my yeast? And in bread machine-ing, should I be using warm, room temp or cold liquids? THANKS TO ALL THE HOUNDS! There may be yeasty goodness afterall!

              1. re: chelleyd01

                Packet yeast keeps best in the fridge - I buy bulk yeast and store it in the freezer, where it keeps for years - and saves me a bit of money in the long run.

                I always use a room temp to warm liquid in my bread machine, unless I am trying to deliberately delay the rise for some reason.

            2. I use my bread machine all the time. Definitely skip the all purpose flour and pick up some bread flour. I also add an additional tablespoon of "whole wheat gluten" (look for it in a small brown box in the same area as flour/yeast in the grocery store). The gluten really helps with the rise, especially in breads that have some whole wheat flour.

              Try to add the salt with your liquids so that it doesn't activate the yeast too soon. I use my water at 80 degrees. I keep my yeast in the fridge.

              I'm not sure what size loaf you're making, but my machine can do 1 lb, 1 1/2 lb or 2 lb loaves. My two pound loaves come close to pushing the lid off of the machine.

              Good luck. My machine also produces fabulous pizza dough. Love it!