Regular readers of the blog are aware that I love baking breads but bread baking comes with it's own ups and downs and here are a few troubleshooting tips for working with yeast. If you want to read which yeast is good for and which are the different kinds of yeast, read here
Volume in a bread is a result of many factors working together, yeast, kneading, fermentation of the dough and at a larger level there could be two problems with volume. Too much volume or too less volume. And here is what could be wrong in both the cases
Too less volume
- Flour too weak or in other words not enough gluten in the flour. We do not get bread flour in India however most of the over the counter maida u get works decently well for breads
- Not enough yeast. This doesn't need a brainwave, too little yeast will lead to a tough and non risen bread
- Too much yeast. Sometimes even when the yeast content is too high the bread can have poor volume
- Not even proofing/fermentation. When either the bulk fermentation or the proofing time of the bread is not enough the yeast and gluten don't get enough time to produce the volume required.
- Too much salt
Too much volume
- Excess yeast. Excess yeast will lead to over fermentation which can lead to sourness and too much volume
- Lack of salt
- Prolonged fermentation/proofing
We have always heard that we eat from eyes before we get to taste the stuff and a bread's crust is the key to it's looks. Here are a few things that can do wrong with the crust and reasons on why that could happen
Bubbles on Crust : Usually this happens when the final proofing was too long or in too humid environment
Too dark Crust : The color of the crust is essentially controlled by sugar present in the dough, which could be the added sugar or the increase and decrease in sugar due to the yeast activity. Remember, sugar is what yeast feeds on. So if the color of your crust is too pale that could be because of too less sugar or too cold oven. And if the color of your crust is too dark it could be because of excessive sugar, excessive salt, too hot oven or excessive yeast
Flying Top : Flying top is a crust fault where the crust actually separates from the bread while baking. This happens when the top instead of rising gradually bursts open while baking due to the gas being released. One of the main reasons this happens is the under proofing of the dough, though kneading with cold water/liquid can also result in flying top sometimes as can if the shape of the bread is too high
For me personally a crumb is what makes or brakes the bread, because that is the major part of the bread anyways and here are a few things that can do wrong with it
Holes & Tunnels : Ever had a hole aka tunnel running through your bread, it could be because of the following reasons
- Ingredients not mixed well before you start kneading and hence having patches of ingredients in concentration at certain places.
- The knock back after the bulk fermentation not done or not done properly. (To read stages in bread making read here)
- Too strong flour, in India this might happen if you are adding excessive gluten to your flour.
- Excessive dusting flour used at the time of shaping/moulding
Close/tight Crumb :
- The dough was too dry or stiff. This can be resolved by adding more moisture to your bread next time. Remember the water flour absorbs differs from batch to batch and hence there can't really be an exact quantity of water required for the recipe.
- Too little fermentation/proofing resulting in not enough time for the yeast to act
- Too hot water/liquid used while kneading hence slowing the yeast action.
- The bread was underbaked when removed from the oven.
Coarse or too open crumb :
Honestly in most breads I like a coarse crumbs but here could be some of the reasons which could lead to an open crumb when not desired.
- Excessive proofing/fermentation
- Oven not hot enough while baking the bread
Hope this helps on solving your yeasty troubles and with this only Z left, delayed but still finishing :)
Also some recommended reading on bread making