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I have recently purchased a breadmaker, and am quite happy with the results but all my loaves that rise do so quite unevenly. The lower part of the loaf is quite dense with very small air pockets and structurally solid enough to hold itself together and the upper part of the loaf is very light, having large volume pockets and falling apart at the least provocation. I have included an image of a typical example below.

This occurs with all bread types I make except the ones that hardly rise at all. This includes bread made from white flour, wholemeal flour, malted flour and mixes of all of them. I have tried adding the yeast last, on top of the flour separate from the water and adding the yeast first and mixing it with the water before the other ingredients. This occurs with all the variations I try. The breadmaker is here but appears completely conventional.

My basic recipe is 240ml water, 390g flour (usually malted flour 5 - 7% fibre), 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1.5 teaspoon yeast.

A loaf of bread demonstrating uneven distribution of air bubbles

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  • 3
    Are you using the recipes that came with the breadmaker?
    – GdD
    Oct 24 at 12:47
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    The bread maker came with no recipes. This is the manual it has general guidance but not specific recipes.
    – User65535
    Oct 24 at 14:11
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    I’d personally be worried when the appliance has that many settings but no specific examples of how to use them. The issue might be something as simple as too large of a batch so the loaf didn’t have sufficient space to rise or it wasn’t kneaded evenly. (They also misspelled ‘knead’ in the manual)
    – Joe
    Oct 24 at 15:52
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    Hmmm. They also call for the water temperature to be 200-250C, or 45-500C for the quick mode. I suspect they didn’t have a good proofreader, so I don’t know how much is actually correct in there.
    – Joe
    Oct 24 at 15:57
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    I'm leaning towards "it's just a bad breadmaker". Not helpful, I know.
    – FuzzyChef
    Oct 24 at 19:35

1 Answer 1

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I think there is one major problem here, and my answer is based on my experience using a breadmaker, which is not the same make as OP's. I had a similar problem when first using a breadmaker and figured it out by trial and error.

Too much water. Too much water tends to result in a loaf that is light an airy at the top with wet in the bottom. This is because of the way the mixers and things like knocking-down work. Basically, what happens is that the dough mixes unevenly and rises in a sticky mass during rising (first rise). Some of this mass is too high above the paddle for the bread machine to move effectively, so the gas inside the dough doesn't get removed before the proofing stage (second rise). This means that when the machine switches from rising to proofing, there is a lot of gas at the top, which rises unevenly and produces an airy loaf.

You will need to play a bit with the water content. This measure will vary based on the flour (even on different sacks of flour if you buy in bulk), and if you add other things like seeds. For my bread machine, I use a recipe with ~62% hydration (300 ml H2O to 480 g flour) for what my book calls a 1.5 lb/800 g loaf. Your recipe works out to be 67% hydration, which might be slightly too much. I find that I need to vary the volume I use by +/- 30 ml depending on the flour I am using.

I've not seen that adding more/less yeast results in a massively faster rise or proofing, unless adding about 3-4x the suggested amounts. I typically use granulated yeast rather than the bread-machine specific ones, which often just contain some added protein (gluten and soy lecithin) and vitamin C to help the yeast grow. Most recipes I make use 1 teaspoon (~3 g) yeast and I add some bread improver (vitamin C and protein again...) because the flours here are unbleached and don't yeasts don't work so well on those as they do on bleached ones. Buying the improver and yeast separately is much much cheaper than buying combined.

All the recipes I use suggest an order, but in general, you should add the yeast last (on top of the flour), so that it doesn't start fermenting before the dough is mixing, which can result in over-rising.

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    I have just made a loaf with my standard recipe but with ~30ml less water, and the effect is much reduced. I am sure you are right that this is the cause, and I will be able to get the quantities right. Thank you very much.
    – User65535
    Oct 25 at 9:31
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    “when the machine switches from proofing to rising” — Should that be the other way around? I don’t see how it can switch from the second rise to the first rise, unless you’re making your bread backwards… Oct 25 at 9:39
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Whoops, was writing something else and then edited it and wrote them the wrong way around - fixed.
    – bob1
    Oct 25 at 19:25

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