Bread baking problem

Asked November 30, 2015, 9:06 AM EST

I have baked this bread for almost 50 years with no problems, now when it is raising for the second time, (it is a braided bread) it starts to stretch apart and leaves ugly looking stretch areas. Then when it is baking the stretching gets worse. The bread tastes fine but looks rather ugly. I wonder if I am using too much yeast, but it's the same amount for years. 4 pkg. yeast to 5 pounds of flour, 2 cups sugar etc. Thanks so much for you help. Susan Malen OSU 1964

Multnomah County Oregon

6 Responses

Sounds to me that you don't have enough gluten in your flour so it isn't stretching enough. Is your dough soft and stretchy? Are you kneading it by hand or mixer. Over mixing could also cause the gluten to not stretch enough. How much salt are you using? It controls how fast the yeast utilizes the sugar. Might send your recipe I bake all my own bread as well and find weather has a lot to do with the success Thanks for using ask an expert Nellie Oehler (also OSU 1964 )

Hi Nellie, I guess I don't understand your message, the dough stretches too much and the loaf doesn't stay in a nice braid. To 5 lbs of flour I use 1 tsp salt. I use an old hand crank machine of my Mother's for the first mixing. After the dough doubles in size I hand roll it into balls that rest about 20min. Then I roll each ball into a rope or snake and braid 3 of them into a loaf. As it raises again the braids pull away from each other and leave stretch marks between the braided part. This is fairly recent, I haven't had this problem before. Thanks former class mate. Susan I have pictures but can't figure out how to add to this email

I do recognize the bucket. My mom had one too. I have much better luck mixing and kneading by hand. Guess I don't understand what you mean by stretch marks. Does the bread crack where it stretches like the crack you get on the side of a loaf? You might try adding a little more salt to slow down the yeast. You have a lot of sugar so yeast might be working too fast. If you get smart you could send me a picture of your braid so I can see what you are talking about. I am not great with technology but the grandkids help Nellie

Hi Nellie, Here is what the stretched loves look like, the one on the bottom right is the worst. Thanks, Susan

It looks like you might be getting a little too much "oven spring" in the oven. Try letting it rise a little more before baking. Also might add a little more salt to dough. Are you using bread flour or all purpose? Bread flour might make a difference. Has more gluten so more stretch. Do you have any oil or fat in your dough? Fat would make it more tender. Could just be the weather Nellie

The longer I let it raise in the pan - braided - the more it stretches. Then it stretches more in the oven. I don't use bread flour. 1 Cup of butter is my oil. I will try adding more salt and hope that works. Don't think it's the weather, it happened in the summer too. Thanks again Nellie, I will let you know how the added salt, Have a nice Christmas. Susan