Need a bit of advice about bread machine loaves...
My Mother gave me an older bread machine about a month ago and so far it’s gotten pretty good use. It has made killer cinnamon bun dough, good oat bread, good baguette dough and a mediocre loaf of white bread. The only problem is when I bake loaves in it the tops of them are always rough and jagged. I don’t mind how it looks, but it causes the top to fall apart when I slice it. I remember my Grandmother’s loaves from her bread machine where always perfectly smooth on top and they sliced perfectly.
I looked in the book that came with it and the problem is not addressed. I’ve also done some Google searches, as well as searches though the boards here, but I must be using the wrong keywords.
I live at about 5,400 feet, maybe that has something to do with it. I increase liquids and decrease sugar, like I've always done for high altitude baking. At any rate, links that I’ve been missing or tips from personal experience would be greatly appreciated. :)
I don't know about high-altitude baking ( I live at 165-ft above sea level). But bread that has the top cave in or collapse while baking in a bread maker is caused by either too wet a dough or too much yeast. For a nice rounded top, make the dough a little drier and/or use a little less yeast. At least this is the case near sea level. The bread will look great with a rounded top at the end of rising, but if the dough too wet, the top inch or two will cave in as soon as it starts to bake, giving an uneven, bumpy appearance to the finished loaf.
I was having the same problem with my loaves. I fixed the problem by monitoring the first few minutes of kneading and adding a tablespoon at a time of more flour or water, as required to make a nice smooth, non-sticky, dough. I haven't had a loaf top collapse since I've done this.