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Am I over proving my bread, or might there be some other issue? I'm using a fairly standard baker's mix. 750g flour, 450g water, salt, quick blend yeast (Doves).

I bulk prove for 40 minutes, then shape reasonably tightly and into a large, heavy duty loaf tin. 30 minutes in the oven at about 200 degrees c. (Fan oven).

Bread held up against light to show structure

You can see this effect in the image, where I've held it up against a light.

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If this doesn't work as a sandwich bread, make eggs in a basket!… – Jay Feb 24 '13 at 22:15
You bake it for 30 minutes? Sounds a bit short to me. Do you know the internal temperature at that time? – Mien Feb 24 '13 at 22:21
Nice one jay ;) thankfully it's only ever the two slices right in the middle, and I can make a sandwich from it- I just need soft butter! – Mick Sear Feb 24 '13 at 23:16
Mien, no, I don't. Should I be using a higher oven temperature to arrest it or something? It's cooked, so I don't think the time is a problem. This is a fan oven so perhsps that accounts for the time. – Mick Sear Feb 24 '13 at 23:19
By "fan oven" do you mean a convection oven? You should definitely not be using the convection setting for baking bread. How long are you letting the dough rise in the loaf pan? How much yeast are you using? – mikebeattie Feb 27 '13 at 4:40

I think everyone who bakes bread has had this issue at some point.

Two key things:

  1. Make sure the bread is fully baked before removing it from the oven. Use a probe style thermometer to check the middle of the bread. For a sandwich style bread like you've shown above, the internal temperature should be about 195-205˚F.

  2. Let the bread cool fully before cutting (30-60 minutes). When you remove bread from the oven the interior is partially in a gel-like state... It will continue to cook and the internal structure will stabilize as it cools and the water vapor redistributes throughout the crumb. As tempting as it is to eat warm bread right out of the oven, cutting into the loaf immediately will guarantee that some portion of the center will be undercooked.

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I think that although the photo shows bread that hasn't cooled fully (which I accept), the main issue I was trying to demonstrate was that the center is too 'airy'. I've since reduced the amount of yeast and increased the salt content a little, and I've had much better results – Mick Sear Mar 19 '13 at 16:22

Make a smaller loaf; or start the bake at a low temperature and finish high to brown. Slitting the top of the loaf before baking will help as well.

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