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I really need some help! Every time I try to bake some bread in my bread maker, the bread rises at first but just when cooking process starts and the device increases the heat, the dough fall down! I tried several recipes with white bread, french bread, whole wheat bread with various amounts but always this happens.

My device is Even Baker XBM 1029S. There is not much info about this model but it seems to be a clone of "Cookworks Signature Breadmaker". The same menu, LCD, Buttons.

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  • 8
    There's more than one type of dried yeast. There's active dry yeast and instant dry yeast, and there's a difference. – GdD May 14 at 14:54
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    @GdD : but would it have even risen with the wrong yeast? This is almost behaving more like a souffle ... so maybe insufficient gluten development? Or it's not actually heating correctly to cook the bread (but the picture looks to be a shell of crust and a fallen middle? Or is that the pan on the outside?) – Joe May 14 at 15:06
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    It can make a big difference. Active dry yeast is slower acting than instant yeast. If you use instant yeast or too much active yeast the dough rises too quickly and can collapse. – GdD May 14 at 15:09
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    I agree with @GdD, the dough has risen too fast. Make sure that you are using a bread machine recipe - not all bread recipes survive the transition to a bread machine, often machine breads need less yeast, and more gluten. Actually I am going to make this into a more comprehensive answer. – bob1 May 14 at 15:31
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    Are you using all purpose flour, cake flour or bread flour? Specialized bread flours (aka strong flours) have a much higher gluten content and so are more resistant to collapsing. – Vality May 14 at 18:25
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I would first check on the type of flour I am using. To produce breads, always use flour that contains the highest protein count. It is this protein that produces gluten, and the more of this protein the stronger the gluten. This can be called a multitude of things, from 'Strong Flour', to 'Baker's Flour', to 'Best For Bread'.

Another thing you might want to do is check your mixing times. If your dough is undermixed, the gluten will not be strong enough to properly expand and hold structure from the CO2 produced by the yeast. Likewise, if the dough is overmixed you can see the same problem.

just a couple of things to start.

EDIT: you don't mention what type of flour you are using at all... If you aren't at least using a 50% mix of wheat flour, you aren't going to get proper rise as wheat flour is the only type that contains 'gluten'. Even when you buy 'whole wheat bread', this is usually a mixture of flours.

  • In the US, it's labeled 'bread flour'. (as opposed to 'cake flour' or 'all purpose flour' ... but even all purpose I wouldn't have suspected to collapse like that ... you'd almost need a non-wheat flour with no gluten at all.) – Joe May 14 at 15:10
  • I totally agree with the above. Because OP mentioned they tried french bread, I made the assumption that they were using wheat flour. I will edit my comment. – mrwienerdog May 14 at 15:15
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    I would add that you can buy gluten to add to the flour if necessary - some recipes call for additional gluten, and it does help in my experience. – bob1 May 14 at 15:28
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    @Joe It really depends on the country as well. In Canada, for example, our "All Purpose" flour is frequently around 12-13% protein, which in some places would be a rather strong bread flour. Oddly, often even within the same brand the "bread" flour really isn't much stronger than the all-purpose (13% vs 14%, etc). We just happen to grow really strong wheat here. Even our cake flours are on the strong side of 10% protein. – J... May 14 at 17:32
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In addition to what @mrwienerdog has suggested...

Bread machine recipes are a distinct branch of bread recipes. Most bread recipes that you find on the internet and in cookery books assume that you are making by hand (or at least using a mixer to knead the dough). Bread machines mix and knead the dough much less thoroughly than is needed compared to "hand" kneading. This is a result of the need to use as small a paddle as possible (so you don't destroy the loaf when removing), but results in a loose texture to the dough if no additional gluten is added, or a low gluten flour is used. The dough will then rise fast, and create a very weak texture which will collapse when baked.

Other possible causes are:

  1. too much liquid - be careful when measuring your liquid, follow the recipe as closely as possible, and make sure that you use the same cup to measure liquid and dry ingredients.
  2. (as per comments above) Instant yeast vs active dry yeast - Instant are stronger and will cause more rapid rising, cut back on the yeast if you have instant.
  3. Adding yeast at the wrong point - make sure the yeast sits on top of the flour and is not in contact with the water before mixing. If you add it early on and the yeast is sitting in water, it will start to grow and your loaf will over-rise, especially if you are using a delay timer for an overnight bake for example.

I bake both by hand and (now) use a bread machine, and ended up with a few loaves that looked like yours, and had other problems for the first few loaves when switching to the machine. I found that the best way to learn exactly what were the problems with the machine, was to open the machine and have a look and feel of the dough during the kneading process. This, along with a bit of experimentation in terms of liquid, gluten and other ingredients means that we now get nice consistent loaves. The key I found was to make sure that the proportions of ingredients are very close to the recipes.

Typically for a 1.5 lb loaf I use:

1 cup water (add milk powder to make milk, or substitute room-temp milk)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp oil
3 cups bread flour (1 c + 2 tbsp whole-wheat, 2 c white for whole-wheat)
3 tsp gluten (6 for whole-wheat)
1.25 or less tsp active dry yeast.
  • 1
    "make sure that you use the same cup to measure liquid and dry ingredients" - not where I come from (besides the fact that flour should be measured by weight whenever possible). There are reasons why dry measuring cups are made differently from wet ones even if the marked volumes are the same. A dry cup is meant to be filled to the top so it can be leveled and a wet measuring cup has extra height above the top line to prevent unwanted spillage - making it impossible to level dry ingredients. – Dennis Williamson May 14 at 22:29
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    Yes, true in general - however in my experience (and based on the bread books I have) the flour and water are usually measured in cups rather than weight, and a simple shake of the cup will settle the flour to a level that's pretty accurate. It's the ratio that's important mostly. Also, in my admittedly small experience with bread machines - they come with a cup that is used to measure all ingredients - switching between different cups can be enough to get the ratios out of proportion. – bob1 May 15 at 2:25
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    "make sure that you use the same cup to measure liquid and dry ingredients" - alternatively weigh your ingredients carefully and use a recipe that specifies weight. That would be the default in Europe. – abligh May 15 at 5:30
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    the flour and water are usually measured in cups rather than weight ... in the US. In Europe the concept of "cup" does not exist. We have metric weights and volumes only. – WoJ May 15 at 9:04
  • @WoJ, The UK uses cups, as do Aus, NZ and many other Commonwealth countries, which is where my experience comes from. Admittedly, cups in those countries are 250 ml, so easy metric conversions. US is 240 ml, but can be converted in terms of tablespoons (16), and fluid oz etc, which the Americans seem to love - I still don't get them having been in the US for 3 years. – bob1 May 15 at 13:50
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This is a hard problem to diagnose. There are many things that can cause this, and trying to figure out which it is (or even if it's the same each time) can cause you to tear out your hair in frustration.

Even so, they all basically boil down to the bread rising too fast and then collapsing. (Sure. And all my money problems are caused by expenditures exceeding income. But how do I solve that? If I just stop paying my employees, I've really cut expenditures, but I won't have any income at all!)

One possible problem is too much liquid. The water turns to steam, puffing up the bread in the oven (or the bread machine), but then there isn't enough support structure underneath and it collapses. Similarly, if there's too much yeast, or it grows too fast because of too much sugar, or too little salt (part of what the salt does is inhibit yeast growth), or if you were on timer and you didn't keep the yeast out of the liquid, or the temperature was too perfect, or who knows what, the little creatures just grow too fast and give off too much carbon dioxide, which puffs up the bread, but there isn't enough support structure underneath to support it, and it collapses.

It's somewhat interesting that the collapse happens early in the process in a bread machine (sunken top) and a little later in hand kneading and oven baking (mushroom top with huge air bubble). Or maybe that's just my experience.

One possibility is that your flour has absorbed moisture from the air. I now start all my bread recipes with 1/4 cup less liquid than the recipe calls for and find that I am equally likely to add flour or water to get to the right dough consistency. And after years of using a bread machine, I will say that it is far easier to judge the consistency of dough by feel (kneading) than by sight and sound (bread machine).

Edit: I forgot to mention: bread flour (high gluten content) really does make a difference. If a recipe calls for bread flour, use that. If it calls for all purpose flour, it may or may not really need it. (Sausage buns, dinner rolls, hamburger buns are all better [softer] with all purpose flour. All the recipes in Charel Scheele's book, Old World Breads [not a bread machine cookbook, but the recipes are easy to adapt], call for all purpose flour, but I haven't found any that seem to need it and only a few [holiday breads] that seem to prefer it.) I haven't yet found a recipe that required additional gluten if you're already using bread flour, although I've found quite a few that called for it. Maybe I've just been lucky and it's the difference of environment, or maybe the people who wrote those recipes are just health nuts. (Yes, I realize a nut is someone who forcefully expresses an opinion I don't wholeheartedly agree with.)

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I have no experience with bread machines, but plenty of experience with making bread by hand, and using a mixer with a dough hook.

Bread typically falls if you haven't baked it enough, if you haven't kneaded it enough, or if you haven't used strong flour.

It's very difficult to diagnose the issue you're facing without more info, but here's my best educated guess... I doubt the bread is being under baked, or not kneaded enough, because you're using a machine that is designed to do it properly, so I'd bet that you're not using strong flour.

Strong flour is suitable for this style of bread making because it contains enough gluten to provide a structure for the bread that doesn't allow air to escape. If you don't have enough gluten in your dough, or don't work the gluten enough, air will escape from your dough and your bread will fall.

  • I disagree with the generalizations you make here. Strong flour is not "the correct type of flour" for bread. It is the type of flour which is preferred for bread in the anglo-saxon baking tradition. It is a more recent introduction to Western Europe, while many countries farther East have great bread baking traditions without ever having produced strong flour. Ukraine, Bulgaria, Turkey, etc. bake perfect leavened breads without it. I don't know what caused this one case - but your implication that everybody should only bake with strong flour is incorrect. – rumtscho May 16 at 8:47
  • @rumtscho, apologies, I will reword my answer. I didn't intend to make that implication, I was trying to express that they could be using an unsuitable flour for this specific scenario. I was not trying to make a sweeping generalisation. – Doctor Jones May 16 at 9:11
  • Thank you for editing, it is indeed much better now. – rumtscho May 16 at 9:59

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