Why Does My Gluten-Free Bread Sink or Collapse During or After baking and How to Avoid it

You don’t start dry

The first step to breading chicken is crucial: Make sure the chicken is completely dry before starting the dredging process. Using a paper towel, pat the meat dry on all sides. Excess moisture will cause the flour to get soggy, meaning it will not adhere properly to the chicken.

Putting some sort of topping on your bread dough before you bake is a great way to add flavor, texture, nutrition, and visual appeal to almost any bread. The landscape of options is vast, and it’s also something you can experiment with on your own as you learn to personalize your bread baking. In this article, I talk through the two main methods on how to top bread dough–rolling the top in something like oats or brushing with a liquid such as an egg wash–as well as techniques for ensuring success.

Apricot and thyme sourdough with wheat bran topping.

Whether you were inspired by The Great British Baking Show or picked up your apron during the pandemic stress-bake-palooza of 2020, we see you out there trying to be “ace of bakes.” And we love the carb creations we see you sharing on social media, and with friends and neighbors. As a more hands-off or less stressful option, many Americans turn to a bread machine for an easier homemade bread option. But this appliance presents a new set of questions and potential bread machine mistakes. Does it matter when you add the yeast? Can I crack the lid? Is there a way to prevent wrinkly crust?

Spoiler alert: The answer to all is YES, and our Test Kitchen experts are here with some major bread machine troubleshooting. (Before we get started, here’s how to convert recipes so you can use them in your bread machine.)

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Baking bread is a lot of fun, and just the thought of having a nice, warm slice of bread with some melted butter on it is enough to make anyone drool. But sometimes baking the bread does not go according to plan, and the bread can collapse, leaving you disappointed. So, why does your bread collapse?

Several factors can cause your bread to collapse, including adding too much water to your dough, there could be problems with the yeast you used, you may have over-proofed your bread dough, or maybe you did not knead dough enough. It can be difficult to find the reason this happened.

As there are many causes to this particular problem, you may need to go through them all, but how do you fix all these causes that make your bread collapse? Let us find out!

Method 2 for topping bread dough

When baking rolls, pan loaves, or buns, a typical approach is to use an egg or dairy wash to encourage increased browning and give the top crust a shine. Additionally, rolls can be topped after baking with melted butter for shine and added richness. Finally, sweet products can call for a brush of simple sugar to give it a sweet crust with shine.

How do I make my bread shiny on top?

There are two typical approaches:

  • Egg wash
  • Simple syrup glaze

How to make and use an egg wash

Relative effects of various washes on bread dough.

An egg wash is a mixture of egg (either whole, just the yolk, or just the white) and liquid, usually milk or cream. Egg washes are a staple in baking and are often used when baking pastry, rolls, enriched pan loaves, or buns. Egg and dairy promote increased coloring through the Maillard reaction: the proteins in egg and dairy encourage browning, while the fat gives it shine.

To increase the shine, use a liquid with more fat (water will have the least shine; cream will have the most). To increase browning, use only the egg yolk in combination with cream.

Egg wash recipe

In a small bowl whisk together:

  • One egg (either whole, just the yolk, or just the white)
  • One tablespoon whole milk, cream, or water

Use a pastry brush to apply a light layer of the wash onto your dough just before baking. If your dough is to be scored (cut), it’s typically best to first brush on the wash, and then score the dough to avoid wash dripping into the cuts.

How to make and use a simple syrup glaze

You can use a simple syrup to give your baked goods shine and sweetness. Apply this glaze shortly after the item is removed from the oven.

Sourdough babka with simple syrup glaze

Simple syrup recipe

  • 52g (¼ cup) granulated sugar
  • 52g (¼ cup) water

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture bubbles and the sugar fully dissolves, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely. Use a pastry brush to apply the glaze after the baked good is removed from the oven and cooled slightly. The simple syrup will keep indefinitely in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

How to top bread dough with flour

You can dust the top of rolls or loaves (white or whole wheat) with white flour for a more rustic or “peasant” style appearance. Using flour is also a wonderful way to keep your bread (especially buns and rolls) vegan but still decorate the top.

The process couldn’t be simpler: before baking, use a fine-meshed sifter to dust the top of the dough lightly with white flour. I use all-purpose white flour for dusting.

Shape and size

One of the quickest ways to gauge the proof on your baked bread is to take a closer look at the shape and size of the loaf.

Left to right: over proofed, properly proofed, and under proofed

What to look for in an under proofed loaf

One of the most common traits of an under proofed loaf is uncontrolled tearing in the sides. Because the yeast still has too much fuel when it hits the oven, the loaf will continue to rise once the crust has already begun to form, which causes ripping and bursting in the sides from the excess CO2 escaping from the loaf.

Under proofed loaves often have a considerable amount of height because of this massive expansion in the oven, but the overall shape tends to be uneven, and generally without a good ear where the dough was originally scored. Under proofed bread is often smaller in width and length, due to a lack of proper development during the proofing stage.

What to look for in a properly proofed loaf

A loaf of bread that has been proofed for the correct amount of time will retain its shape in the oven, and expand evenly in both length and width. It will also have a good oven spring, and is more likely to develop a beautiful ear.

What to look for in an over proofed loaf

Similar to the signs of over proofed dough, an over proofed loaf will be very flat, without much rise or retention of shaping. Over proofing destroys the structural integrity of the bread, so loaves that have gone over are unable to hold their shape in the oven.

Color clues

The color of your loaf can also give you hints about whether your dough has been over proofed. The fermentation process eats up the available sugars in the bread, so when that process has gone on too long and there is not much sugar left in the dough, it is much harder for the crust to properly caramelize and brown in the oven.

Properly proofed dough has enough sugars remaining in the dough to produce a beautiful brown, crackly, caramelized crust.

Crumb structure

The last place to look for indicators of proofing levels in your bread is the crumb structure. The interior of your bread can tell you a lot about the fermentation, and proofing of the loaf.

Left to right: over proofed, properly proofed, and under proofed crumb structures.

The crumb structure of an under proofed loaf will be tight and gummy. Because it was not given enough time to develop and trap CO2 gasses, the crumb structure will be very dense, with uneven air bubbles.

Properly proofed dough will be much more consistent in structure, with a soft and fluffy interior, and larger, but more evenly dispersed air bubbles present in the crumb.

Over proofed bread is likely to have a very open crumb structure, due to the development of excess CO2 during the proofing stage.

Method 1 for topping bread dough

Topping bread dough with larger toppings like seeds, cereals, and grains is an endless playground for exploration. And you can either use a single topping for a loaf of bread, or you can mix and match complementary ones to suit your bread recipe. For instance, using white sesame as you see above in my sunflower and sesame sourdough bread is visually striking, while pumpkin seed and sunflower seed have complementary flavors and taste delicious together.

Let’s take a look at some of my favorite toppings to use when baking loaves of bread, whether they are free-form or in a loaf pan, and then look at some practical steps on how to ensure they stick to your bread dough.

What ingredients work well to top bread dough?

Seeds like sesame, pumpkin, and flaxseed become aromatic and extra flavorful when they’re toasted as the bread bakes in the oven, much like when the seeds are toasted on a sheet pan before using in other applications. Oats become crisp and crunchy, providing flavor and added texture. Here is a list of some of my favorite toppings:

How to get toppings to stick to bread dough

First, I like to spread out the toppings in a thin layer on a quarter baking sheet placed next to my work surface. You could also use a clean kitchen towel or basket/bowl, and if you find yourself using the same toppings over and over, dedicating a round or oblong basket/banneton to hold the toppings can be convenient.

Then, there are two methods I use to ensure my toppings stick to my dough:

  • Lay a moist towel on your work surface. Roll your dough on the moist towel to dampen the surface, and then roll the dough in the toppings.
  • Use a handheld spray bottle to spritz the top of the dough after it’s shaped, and then roll it in the toppings.

To roll the dough in the toppings: Lay it down, seam side up, on the toppings, and rock it left and right (or around in a circle if shaping a boule) to ensure even coverage.

Finally, gently transfer the topped dough to your proofing basket, topping side down. Let’s look at a few videos on how to top bread dough, both a batard (oval) and boule (round) shape.

How to top bread dough, boule (round shape)

Scoring dough with scissors

How to score dough that’s been topped with large toppings

One challenge when topping bread dough, especially if the toppings are chunky and large (like pumpkin seeds or even rolled oats), is that the blade (or lame) used when scoring can snag, making it difficult to sufficiently cut into the dough. In such a case, I prefer to use scissors instead: you simply snip into the dough without having to worry about a sharp knife snagging on any large toppings.

Hold the scissors at a shallow angle and snip into the dough from one side to the other. Each cut starts where the last one left off, forming a zig-zag pattern across the top of the dough, allowing the loaf to rise and open in a controlled way during baking.

Most bread recipes give you a time range for rising, but because kitchen conditions can vary, time isn’t always the best way to measure your dough’s readiness. For instance, if you’re given a rise time of 60 to 90 minutes, should you pull your dough at the front end of that range or later?

Hotline member Maggie is here with all the cues to look for so your next loaf comes out perfectly. Here are her recommendations for nailing your proof:

But first, why it’s important to hit that proofing sweet spot

Bread recipes typically call for two rises: The first is the “bulk” rise when the dough rises in the bowl, while the second rise comes after the dough has been shaped, like when a sandwich dough proofs directly in the loaf pan. “While you have some wiggle room with the first rise, the second rise needs to be more accurate to get a nice full loaf,” Maggie explains. If baked too soon or too late, loaves can collapse and have a dense, gummy center.

“There are so many factors that affect rise time, so exact time will vary for every baker. Things like the water and air temperature, humidity, how large the pieces of dough are, the vessel the dough is in, and how it was shaped will all change the way and the speed that dough rises,” says Maggie. With so many variables in play, think of the times provided in a recipe as a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule. Getting to know the look and feel of proofed dough will be your key to successfully nailing both rises.

Because of its straight sides, a Dough-Rising Bucket allows you to easily measure if bread dough has doubled in volume.

Visually assess your dough

For the first rise of the recipe, use a Dough-Rising Bucket with measurements up the side to easily know when your dough has doubled. If you have another straight-sided vessel without measurements up the side, you can use a piece of masking tape to mark the dough’s height when you set it to rest. You’ll be able to clearly see when it has doubled.

For the second rise, many recipes baked in loaf pans will recommend baking once the dough has reached 1” over the lip of the pan. Grab your ruler and check your dough periodically to ensure your dough isn’t under or overproofed. (For accurate results, be sure to use the size of loaf pan listed in your recipe.)

A good rule of thumb: Once your dough has reached 1” over the edge of a loaf pan, it’s typically ready to bake.

With free-form breads like rolls, pizza crust, or boules, it can be trickier to tell by visuals alone. You can’t gauge rise using the dough’s height over the loaf pan, and if you aren’t a frequent bread baker, it can be tricky to tell if the dough has doubled in volume. While you could measure your shaped dough’s height with a ruler, the dough will be rising outward as well as up, so this is where the poke test can be a better way to gauge readiness.

Physically test your dough with the poke test

“Don’t be afraid to touch your dough!” Maggie advises. “When ready, it should feel a bit elastic and have some bounce to it, but it shouldn’t feel dense or stiff in any way.”

What bakers call the “poke test” is the best way to tell if dough is ready to bake after its second rise. Lightly flour your finger and poke the dough down about 1″. If the indent stays, it’s ready to bake. If it pops back out, give it a bit more time.

The poke test is especially helpful for free-form breads like cinnamon rolls.

This method works with dough in many forms: pan loaves, free-form loaves, rolls, pizza, and more. Start poke-testing your dough toward the beginning of the rise-time window specified in the recipe. If the temperature and humidity in your kitchen are high, it’s likely your dough will rise faster than you expect. On the flip side, expect longer rise times when the air is cold and dry. Either way, testing early is better than missing your ideal window.

Practice makes perfect

With more experience, you’ll become better at identifying the sweet spot when your dough is proofed. To really nail things down, take notes on the timing and conditions of your dough that you can refer to next time. Soon you can use these learnings when baking other bread recipes as well.

For a more hands-off approach to mastering the perfect proof, a Folding Bread Proofer creates the ideal environment for your dough to thrive.

When it comes to baking your very own gluten-free bread, it’s both a labor of love as well as a lesson in patience through the process of trial and error. In fact, if you’re a beginner, there’s going to be a whole lot of trial and error. Though, the truth is, even if you’re on the more experienced side of things, you’re still likely to run into the odd fail here and there. One particular fail that is pretty much a rite of passage in the world of gluten-free bread is the “collapse.”

So, how to avoid the dreaded “fail” of a collapsed, sunken-in loaf of gluten-free bread? Well, it boils down to pretty much three possibilities, you’re either one; over-proofing, two; not quite hitting the mark with the oven temperature and baking time; or three, adding too much water.

Over Proofing

Proofing time is important with any bread whether it’s gluten-free or not. With regard to gluten-free bread, it gives the dough time to strengthen in order to capture the pockets of gas being created by the yeast as it’s eating through the sugars.

Now, despite the fact that the ingredients in a gluten-free bread mimic as closely as possible gluten characteristics, it still ain’t gluten. Sticking to the suggested amount of proofing time is imperative, as going beyond can almost guarantee that your dough will over-proof. Obviously, there is a little wiggle room here, particularly in regard to the ambient temperature; so that in the winter your proofing time is likely to be longer than in the summer.

Many recipes offer the suggestion of allowing your gluten-free dough to proof, doubling in size. Stick to the suggested time, even if your loaf hasn’t doubled in size.

Another way in which gluten-free bread gets a little help along the way is where it’s proofed; namely a loaf pan. Proofing in a loaf pan helps by maintaining the shape and structure of your baked loaf of gluten-free bread. Being forced to stay within a confined space, allows the dough to rise upward, rather than expanding out and potentially flattening. There’s just one hitch, or not really a hitch, but you don’t want to allow the bread to rise above the rim of your loaf pan. An overabundance of gas accumulates within the dough, therefore leading to the baked loaf collapsing during the baking process or just after removing from the oven.

While it may be tempting to allow your gluten-free dough to rise above the loaf pan because it looks like it will be that much fluffier and airy, don’t. It’s important to remember that there is a final rise in the oven, so your dough still needs the “walls” of the loaf pan to help maintain its shape and structure.

Time & Temperature

TIP: If you find that your loaf is browning too quickly, you can tent some aluminum foil over it once it has stopped rising.

So, taking the temperature down from 325°F (163°C) to 300°F (150°C) and adding another half an hour to the baking time, should help to prevent your loaf from sinking or collapsing after baking.

Once it’s baked, leaving the gluten-free loaf of bread in the oven with the oven door propped open to cool down slowly can help prevent that sudden collapse from the drastic temperature changes.

Too Much Moisture

So, you’ve adjusted the proofing time – you aren’t over-proofing. You’ve lowered the temperature and extended the baking time – and it’s still collapsing. What now? It’s very possible that there is too much water, or moisture in the to allow the baked loaf of gluten-free bread to support itself.

So, if you find that your loaf of gluten-free bread collapses after baking but isn’t wet or sticky in the middle, it’s likely due to an excess of water. Try reducing the amount of water you use by about ¼ cup (59g). As long as the dough is still fairly wet, and not at all crumbly, this minor adjustment shouldn’t affect the overall taste of the baked result, but will most certainly help maintain its structure and help avoid the dreaded sink or collapse.

The Key Takeaways

  • You don’t want to over-proof, stick to the suggested amount of time and avoid allowing it to double in size (remember it will rise even more during the baking process)
  • Lower the oven temperature, and increase the baking time – just a bit.
  • Reduce the amount of water (I know I said stick to the recipe BUT if the above two tactics haven’t affected whether your loaf sinks or collapses, this minor adjustment can make all the difference.

That’s it, like I’ve said before baking, in general, is a labor of love and a process of failures and successes. The more you practice, the better you get. Don’t give up, just keep trying and you’ll get there.

It is frustrating to see your bread collapse in a bread maker after putting in all your effort. There can be various reasons why bread in your bread maker collapses. This article explores these reasons and gives tips to prevent bread collapse in a bread maker.

14 Reasons why your Bread Maker Collapses

One of the main causes of bread collapsing in a bread maker is the more water content in the dough. Too much dough will cause the crumb to shrink down upon cooling. If you are making bread in a bread maker, your loaf will quickly get ready. And for a quickly made loaf, you need dry dough instead of wet. Well-hydrated flour is essential for making stable dough. Too damp or too dry dough can cause your bread to collapse.

Not enough kneading time

Proper kneading of dough is necessary to eliminate the excess air from air pockets. If your dough is not mature enough, it can easily collapse in beard maker. Without proper kneading, the dough’s gluten structure will be weak and will have air pockets through the crumb.

Kneading helps in creating gluten mesh. But if the gluten mesh is not evenly spread, it will not have the capacity to hold gases. As a result, your bread will collapse even after rising.

Less fermentation time

A good loaf requires plenty of time for water soaking in gluten. Insufficient fermentation time will decrease the strength of gluten, which results in bread collapsing. If no proper fermentation time is provided to loaf, then it will not resist collapsing.

Wrong yeast type and condition

Yeast is one of the key factors that help get well-fermented dough for loaves of bread. But if you are using wrong type of yeast, it will cause bread to collapse. Instead of instant yeast, if you are using active dry yeast, it may not be suitable for your dough making.

Besides the wrong yeast type, if you use rotten yeast, it will also damage your bread and ultimately cause it to collapse. Too old yeast can also destroy your dough.

Too much yeast

Adding too much yeast into your dough will also cause its collapse. However, it helps in the quick rising of bread dough, but after that, it will ultimately flatten because of a massive quantity of yeast.

More yeast will consume the sugar content in the dough, which leads to the creation of air bubbles. And too many air bubbles will create too much gas that is not good for dough and flattens the bread.

Selection of wrong flour

Wrong flour type is another common cause of bread collapse in a bread maker. The protein content in your flour has gluten that helps in dough making. If your flour has low protein content, you will get a weak gluten mesh. Any flour with a good amount of starch and protein content is mandatory for a good bread product.

Not Enough Salt

Salt in bread dough tightens the gluten strands and makes them stronger. This allows the dough to hold carbon dioxide more efficiently. You can increase the salt by ¼ teaspoon to check if the bread doesn’t collapse next time.

Wrong Measurement for Ingredients

It is recommended to use a kitchen scale while measuring ingredients. Many recipes mention tablespoons, cups, and teaspoons for ingredients and weight in grams or ounces. The ingredients are written in this style to help people that don’t have measuring scales. Slight variations in measurements can cause your bread to collapse in a bread maker.

You may think that temperature doesn’t play any role in bread collapse. This is completely wrong. Too much humid weather adds extra moisture to the bread. A hot day will remove moisture and make the bread dry. You have to take care of these little things. You can solve this problem by adding more flour if the dough looks extra wet.

Too Small Bread Pan

A small bread pan can collapse your bread. For example, making a 3 lb load in a 2 lb bread pan capacity isn’t a good idea. The dough will probably rise above the rim, collapse, or spill over the edges.

Cold/Hot Water/Milk

The water or milk added to the bread pan was too cold or too hot. Yeast is killed when the liquid is too hot, and cold liquid slows down growth. Yeast prefers warm liquids; the temperature must not be too high or too low.

Opening the Bread Machine

Another reason behind bread collapse in a bread maker is opening the bread machine during the baking cycle. It lets the heat out and impacts the process.

Wrong Setting on the Bread Machine

Maintain adequate water content in the dough

Maintaining good water content in the dough would be very helpful. Avoid adding too much water. But if you feel your dough is too wet, add some flour to it. Try to decrease water by one to two tablespoons next time you prepare your dough. If your dough is too dry, you can also add a tablespoon of water. All you have to do is to keep your dough well hydrated.

Give more time for kneading

Keep kneading your dough until you get finely meshed gluten dough. Do a windowpane test to check your dough. Take a tiny amount of dough in your fingers, and if you see a light shine through it and it does not break, then you have a fine gluten mesh. But if your dough is not like that, give more time for kneading.

More fermentation time

Give your dough a little more time for fermentation. You can add extra step for autolysis to allow the gluten to settle down properly. Extended fermentation of dough will have more organic acids and ethanol. It will strengthen your gluten and resist against collapsing.

Choose perfect yeast quantity and type

The right type of yeast and its quantity helps create good stable dough. If you were adding more yeast previously, then decrease its amount now ¼ to ½ teaspoons. Check your yeast expiry before adding it to your dough. Add fresh and instant yeast to avoid bread collapsing.

Select the right flour

Choose the suitable flour for good gluten content. Flours having maximum protein content offer more gluten. 11-14% protein content is recommended for the flour you will use in bread making.

High Altitude Baking

Adjust recipes accordingly if you live in a high-altitude area. Yeast rises more at higher altitudes.


Frequently Asked Questions

While making your dough, if you add too much yeast into it, the top of your bread will collapse in a bread maker. It happens because too much yeast causes more gas production during the baking cycle. The gas bubbles will cause the dough to rise, and if gas bubbles are present in massive amounts, they will collapse your bread top.

How to keep the bread from sinking in the middle?

If your bread sinks in the middle of the making process always then do not over-mix your batter. It can create more air pockets that will lead to bread collapse. Besides this, if too much moisture is present in your bread after baking, then it will immediately collapse down after getting cold. Bake it for a longer time to avoid too much moisture prevalence.

How do you keep your bread from collapsing?

  • Using good quality flour
  • Choosing the right quantity and type of yeast
  • Giving proper kneading and fermentation time to the dough
  • Keeping a moderate water content in the dough

Why is my Sourdough bread collapsing?

Sourdough bread takes a few more hours of preparation compared to other breads. Apart from the reasons listed above, your Sourdough bread can collapse due to a young Sourdough starter. Make sure that your Sourdough bread is strong and ready to be baked.

What’s next?

To try your hand at topping your bread dough, check out my sunflower and sesame sourdough recipe, oat porridge sourdough bread, or my green olive and herb sourdough recipe (which uses raw wheat bran as a topping).

More Tips to Help Stop Your Bread Collapsing

If you have gone through and fixed everything mentioned above that could be causing your bread to collapse and you are still having trouble with it, there are a few extra things you can look out for that may help you avoid your bread collapsing next time you make it.

  • You can try using different flour, as some flours offer more support to the structure of the bread than others.
  • Ensure you shape your bread correctly, as shaping the dough has a big impact on the rising of the bread. If you do not shape it well, it could collapse, especially if you are not using a loaf tin.
  • Be careful when you score your bread; if you are too rough, it can cause your bread to collapse.
  • Remember to use slat in your bread dough recipe as this can affect the rise of your dough and can cause your bread to collapse if it is not present.
  • Ensure you use the correct amount of flour in your bread dough recipe as the yeast needs it to make the bread rise.
  • Never add the salt for your recipe directly to the yeast when making your bread dough, as this can kill the yeast.

Not shaking off the flour

Be sure to shake off any excess flour on the chicken. Extra flour will create a coating that prevents the egg mixture from latching on to the chicken, which ultimately will prevent the breading from sticking properly. For crispy, flavorful chicken, make sure to remove any excess flour before proceeding.

Forgetting the last pat

After you’ve covered the meat in breading, pat it down gently on all sides so that every piece sticks to the egg layer. Well-coated chicken is the key to crunchy cutlets, so make sure the breading is patted down before cooking. Learn how to avoid these other 20 ways you’ve been cooking chicken wrong.

Two styles of topping

I see two different styles of toppings that are intended to enhance the surface of the bread dough:

  • Adding seeds, grains, and/or cereals
  • Using washes (like an egg wash)

The first are large, chunkier bits that are meant to stick to the dough and result in a rustic, highly textured crust. Such toppings are often seen on free-form (hearth style) loaves, pan loaves, or other specialty shapes (like my fougasse).

The second are liquids that are brushed on in order to make the finished crust take on a shiny appearance and to allow the baked good to rise without steaming the oven. There are several options in this category, each of which results in a particular finish: egg wash, milk wash, cream wash, melted butter, or raw flour. These toppings are more appropriate for buns, rolls, and pan loaves and are commonly used with dough that’s enriched with dairy, egg, or sugar (like my sourdough pumpkin dinner rolls).

Do you ever top bread dough after baking?

Not usually, but there are some applications where this might make sense. For instance, my sourdough babka calls for a simple sugar glaze after the babka is baked to give it a sweet, shiny crust. Some dinner-style rolls can benefit from a brush of melted butter while still warm from the oven to give them extra shine and savoriness. Of course, there’s also the cinnamon roll, which almost always benefits from icing or cream cheese frosting after baking.

Sunflower & sesame sourdough with white sesame topping.

Reasons Why Your Bread Collapses

Having your bread collapse on you can be very disappointing as it takes time to make a good loaf of bread, and now it just seems like that time was wasted. This can leave you wondering what happened to your bread and why did it collapse.

Unfortunately, there are several reasons this problem may occur, and it can be challenging to pin down which one caused your bread to collapse. But let us go through the reasons so that you can maybe find the one that suits your situation the most.

1 – There Is Too Much Water in Your Dough

One of the most common causes for a loaf of bread to collapse is adding too much water to the dough as you mix it. Water is a needed ingredient in the bread dough, as a strong gluten mesh needs well-hydrated flour to be created.

But if there is too much water in your dough, this moisture can cause the bread to collapse as it cools after baking. This is especially true with quickly made loaves of bread as these types of quick bread recipes need the dough to be dryer to avoid shrinking when it’s cooling.

If your bread dough was too wet, then adjust the recipe for next time and see if that helps stop your bread from collapsing, or you can try baking the bread for a little bit longer as this can help evaporate some of that moisture.

2 – Problems with the Yeast in Your Dough

When you are making your bread dough, the most important ingredient is the yeast that you add to the dough mixture, and if your bread is collapsing, your yeast could be to blame.

The problem could be that your yeast is too old; you need to remember that yeast is a living organism, and if it is left in your kitchen cabinet for too long, it can expire, meaning the yeast can die. If you use this expired yeast in your bread dough, your bread will not rise properly and collapse.

So, you should always test your yeast before you use it if you know it has been in your kitchen cabinet for a while. Another issue could be that you used too little yeast in your dough mixture.

If there is not enough yeast in your bread dough, then the dough will need a lot of extra time to proof as the small amount of yeast needs this time to create the gluten mesh that helps the bread rise.

If you use a smaller amount of yeast in your dough and do not give it extra proofing time, then your bread will collapse either in the oven or as you take it out.

3 – The Temperature That You Baked the Bread At

The temperature at which you bake your bread is extremely important, but unfortunately, all ovens are not the same, and they all have their gimmicks that can affect the temperature inside them.

You need to get to know your oven and how it works with all the little tricks it needs to work the way you need it to so you can bake your bread without collapsing. Some ovens will run cooler or hotter than their settings, which can affect the cooking time of your bread.

If your oven runs hotter and you are unaware of this, your bread will come out pretty crispy and brown on the outside of the bread but doughy on the inside, which can cause the bread to collapse when you take your bread out of the oven.

Alternatively, if your oven runs colder than the settings, the bread will not rise in the oven properly, and it will come out dense and sunken. If you do not know your oven well and you suspect the temperatures could be the problem causing your bread to collapse, you need to experiment with your oven.

4 – You Did Not Proof Your Dough Long Enough

Proofing your bread dough before you bake it is an essential part of the bread-making process and should be done with all bread recipes. When you proof your bread dough, you need to ensure you proof it for the right amount of time for the specific type of bread you are making.

The bread dough needs time for the gluten in it to develop as the yeast can then eat the starch that is in the flour. The yeast will then convert this starch into carbon dioxide and alcohol.

The only way for the gluten to develop enough to start this whole process is by kneading the dough and allowing it to proof. If you do not let your bread dough proof enough, this will affect the structure of the gluten mesh in your dough, and the dough will collapse.

When you are proofing your dough, you need to remember that the two crucial elements to make the proofing process work are time and temperature. If your kitchen is cold, the bread dough will need a longer time to proof, whereas if it is warmer, the dough will take less time to proof.

Remember to check on your bread dough while it is proofing to ensure it gets enough to proof properly, which may take longer than the recipe says, depending on your kitchen’s environment.

5 – You Over-Proofed Your Bread Dough

If you notice that your bread dough collapses when you slash the dough before you bake the bread or transfer the dough from the proofing basket to the pan or bread-making machine, this can indicate that your dough is over-proofed.

This is a common problem and generally indicates that the bread dough is over-proofed. The proofing stage is the final stage before you bake your bread, and this is where your bread dough is the most susceptible to collapsing.

Over-proofing your bread dough will result in your bread collapsing or flattening as the bread bakes. The reason for this collapse is that the yeast in your bread dough has exhausted itself, and it no longer has the energy to keep rising the dough as the bread bakes in the oven.

This is also because the bread dough has expanded too much, so when you place it in your oven, the dough cannot rise anymore as the yeast in the dough cannot produce more gasses to help it, so the dough collapses.

This problem is more likely to happen if your bread recipe takes a long time to make, as you can easily misjudge the proofing time of your bread dough.

To stop this from happening, you need to strictly stick to the proofing time mentioned in your bread recipes and set a timer so you do not forget.

6 – Mishandling of the Dough Can Collapse It

There will be a few times where you notice that your bread dough starts to collapse or flatten when you transfer it from one place to another. This is especially true with doughs that have high hydration levels, like a ciabatta bread dough.

You need to always be careful and gentle when handling these types of doughs, as they have a very fragile gluten mesh.

If you are too rough when you handle your dough and knead it, for example, bashing the dough on your kitchen counter can break the delicate gluten mesh and cause gases to escape from the dough. If this happens, your bread dough will either collapse before you bake it or during the time it is baking in the oven.

To help avoid this problem with your bread dough, you need to be gentle with it when you are handling it in any way. Even though most bread dough is pretty forgiving, all bread dough can be damaged in this way if you are not careful enough with it.

So, remember to always have a gentle touch with your bread dough, no matter the bread you are making, and ensure you use the correct tools, like a bench scraper, when moving your dough as this will help avoid putting any pressure on the dough.

7 – You Did Not Knead Your Bread Dough Enough

Kneading is an important part of the bread-making process, so it should not be skipped to save time. Kneading your dough once it has been proofed for the right amount of time helps create the gluten mesh that allows your dough to rise and stay risen when it comes out of the oven.

If this gluten mesh is not developed enough as you did not knead your bread dough for the correct amount of time, your bread dough will rise fast but then quickly collapse when you handle the bread dough after proofing.

This is due to the gluten mesh not being strong enough to hold the gases in the dough after proofing.

With this problem, even though your dough collapses before you even start baking your bread, you will only notice it during the baking stage when the gases escape from the dough, and the bread flattens out.

To fix this problem, ensure that you knead your dough for the correct amount of time and use the right method for the type of bread you are making. You can also test to see if the gluten mesh n your dough is strong enough or if you need to knead it more through a simple test.

This test is known as the windowpane test, and to conduct it, you need to take a small piece of your bread dough and stretch it between your fingers. If you get a nice thin piece of dough where light can shine through it and the dough does not break, then there is a good gluten mesh present.

Be sure to use raw seeds as a topping. Toasting seeds amplifies their flavor, but because the seeds will be on the exterior of your dough, they will toast as the loaf is baking in the oven. Toasting them before topping your dough will likely cause them to burn in the oven.

How do I make bread dough glossy or shiny on top?

To make your finished bread or pastry shiny, brush on an egg wash before baking or a simple syrup glaze after baking.

What vegan toppings can I use for bread?

Instead of using an egg wash, I like to use plain, raw, white flour for topping. This style of topping looks great on dinner rolls.

Do you brush the bread with butter before or after baking?

It’s best to brush on melted butter after your bread is baked in the oven, but while it is still warm and cooling on a wire rack.

Do I add salt to an egg wash?

It’s optional. If you add salt (usually a small pinch, about ⅛ teaspoon) before whisking, it will help thin the consistency of the wash, which can make it easier to brush on with a pastry brush.

These secrets will keep that breading right where you want it

Breaded chicken is one of the easiest dinners to throw together in a pinch. Try this recipe for perfectly seasoned chicken strips. It’s fast, filling, and delicious, and can be a great complement to salads or pasta dishes. As easy as breaded chicken is to make, perfecting the technique can be tricky at first. It seems that all too often, breading falls off the chicken, leaving you with half of the crunchy goodness you started with. So how do you fix it?

Whether you’re using a beer batter or the classic three-step system (egg, flour, crumb), avoid the five biggest mistakes home cooks make when breading to make sure you’ve got the crispiest, crunchiest cutlets in the neighborhood. You’ll want to try this fried chicken recipe that has been viewed almost two million times.

7 Common Bread Machine Mistakes

Mistakes happen. Here’s what to do if you encounter any of these snags while using your bread machine.

Not Taking into Account Your Kitchen’s Climate

Speaking of adjusting, one common bread machine mistake is thinking the appliance is like a pressure cooker or blender and cannot be opened once it’s on. Think again—it’s actually a good idea to flip that lid and peek at the dough, especially about 10 minutes into the kneading stage. Touch the top of the dough and if your finger is coated in dough, it’s too wet and needs more flour. If the dough feels like poking a dodgeball, it’s too dry and needs more water. Remember, it’s easier to add ingredients than to take them out (actually, that’s impossible). When adjusting the texture, incorporate a teaspoon of flour or water at a time. Try the “finger test” again, and add more if needed.

Measuring Ingredients (Especially Flour) Improperly

Just like with any baking recipe, starting with an accurate amount of flour is vital for that bakery-quality texture. While some experts say you need a digital scale to do this, we’re happy to tell you that you can measure flour properly using measuring cups. Learn how to measure flour the Test Kitchen way, and remember that dipping the measuring cup in the flour and scooping it out generally results in a 25-gram surplus of flour. Multiply that by the three to five cups required for a loaf of bread, and your end product’s consistency will be quite off.

Adding Ingredients in the Wrong Order

Hate those holes in the bottom of your bread? They don’t have to exist.

Just before the bread enters the “final rise” phase, you’ll hear the bread machine start pounding down the dough. Use that as your cue to open the lid, push the dough to the side of the bucket, and carefully lift out the paddles.

Allowing the Loaf to Rise the Final Time Without Reshaping

Don’t close that lid quite yet. Take this time just before the final rise to shape your loaf in a format you’d like it to bake in. This can be a sandwich-ready log, or split it into two evenly-sized rounds for one loaf to enjoy now and one to freeze for later. You can also form ropes to twist or braid, or make a “bubble loaf” for a pull-apart bread, of sorts.

Removing the Bread from the Machine Before it Cools

Once the bread is baked, there’s one final bread machine mistake to avoid. If you immediately remove the loaf and set it on your room-temp kitchen counter, the cooler air might cause condensation on the top of the loaf that can lead to a wrinkly top crust. To help mitigate this, take the bucket out of the machine, remove the bread from the bucket, then place the loaf back in the machine (leaving the bucket out). Close the lid most of the way, leaving it cracked about 1 inch, and the bread will cool at a more steady pace in the warm machine.

Now that you’ve aced that perfectly tender, ready-to-slice loaf, prepare the sandwich fixings and study these tips on how to store your bread so it stays fresh as long as possible.

Skimping on the crumb

A thorough coating will give your chicken that crunch you crave. No matter what type of crumb you use, coat the meat evenly and completely on every side.

Being impatient

If you’re frying, heat the oil in a dutch oven or cast-iron skillet. After the chicken pieces are thoroughly coated in the breading mixture, place them in the hot oil—with plenty of space in between—and let them be! The more you touch the chicken with tongs, the more likely the breading is to fall off. The key here is to be patient. As soon as you see a golden rim appear around the side of the chicken that is submerged in oil, feel free to flip it. Be cautious not to touch or turn the chicken too much.

The same goes for baking your cutlets—give them space, flip them once, then it’s hands off. The breading is also more likely to come off if the cutlets are touching each other. These steps will guarantee that breading stays on your chicken!

Why Does Your Sourdough Bread Collapse?

When baking sourdough bread, and it collapses, this is extra disappointing as sourdough bread generally takes quite a few more hours of preparation than normal bread.

So, if you think that your sourdough bread is not collapsing based on any of the reasons mentioned above, then there are a few other things that may be the culprit. The first thing you should look at, though, is your sourdough starter.

If your sourdough starter is young or it is not strong enough yet to bake with, and you use it in your bread dough, this will cause your sourdough to collapse. If you do not feed your sourdough starter enough, this can also affect the bread you make with it.

To ensure this does not happen to your sourdough bread, make sure your sourdough starter is strong and ready to be used in baking. You can do this by feeding your starter once or twice a day for two weeks before you try to bake with it.

Final Thoughts

Baking bread can be a challenging task as so much can go wrong and cause your bread to collapse. There are so many aspects you need to remember to do when you are baking your bread to ensure it doesn’t collapse.

There are many outside factors that can cause this problem, which you also need to account for, but if you go through all the factors mentioned above, your next loaf of bread should be perfect!

Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.

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