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Bread Troubleshooting – Bread That Rises and Then Falls Revised — 15 Comments

  1. Hi Marsha, thanks for all the info! Going to try your sour milk bread this afternoon.

    My understanding is the Big Valley is usually caused by too much, or too rapid of a rise. The expanding CO2 from the yeast overwhelms the glutens ability to stretch (rise) and contain it. Note most all of your solutions are aimed at slowing yeast activity. Limiting food (sugar, qty/quality of yeast) or increasing salt which inhibits yeast or the quality (gluten) of the flour. One other thing I have tried with success in addition to those mentioned is adding, or adding more gluten. A couple teaspoons is usually enough for a 1.5# loaf.

  2. I am new to breadmaker-ing and am fighting the big valley. By the way, it makes me feel better to label it with a humorous term. Thanks for that! I decreased the water by a tablespoon and had little change; so I maintained that same water measurement and decreased the yeast by 1/4 tsp. I’ll try another 1/4 tsp. yeast decrease next time since I still have the sunken top. It’s not terrible, but I’d like to master this. Any encouragement or other suggestions for going forward are appreciated. FYI I’m starting with an Oster breadmaker…low end, I know.

  3. Hi,

    I need some help here, please. My favorite bread machine recipe, Dill Onion, is just delicious and rises just fine. What happens is the sides (not the top) cave in. (I don’t think this is what youall are talking about re the ‘big valley’.). This does not effect the taste but it’s just frustrating not to be able to correct it. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

    L. Barker

    • Interesting! I haven’t had this happen to me, but I’ve heard about hourglass loaves of bread. It’s a tricky problem to solve. One thing that you might try is using a different flour. Try for one with slightly less gluten. If you’re adding an improver, like vital wheat gluten, try adding a little less. Are you baking the bread in the oven or in the bread machine? If you’re using the oven you might try cooking it at a slightly higher temperature or leaving it in for a little bit longer.

  4. Hi Marsha,

    My bread does tend to lose it’s crown and come out flat, but it’s not a typical rise-then-fall valley scenario. The loaves (all kinds, from light white sandwich to multi-grain to raisin, suffer from an uneven texture. They’re more dense/heavy at the bottom of a slice and very light, even floppy sometimes, at the top. I want to be right between the two, texture-wise. Have you ever seen anything like this?

    I live in Tampa and bake 1.5 lb loaves in a Zo Virtuoso (PAC20).

  5. Great information! Thank you so much, I’m learning so much thought this site. I have a zojirushi virtuoso and I made the cornbread recipe that you use but I used fermented coconut milk, coconut oil instead of butter and no sugar and my cornbread came out about 2″ tall. Is that normal? I cooked it on the cake mode. It taste great just small. Can I double or triple the recipe and it turn out?

  6. Another tip that I recently heard of is to use water that is just room temperature, not warm, because that may cause the yeast to activate too soon. I was using quite warm water and always had the ‘big valley’. Then I tried with slightly cool water/room temp, just as it comes out of the tap, and the bread was perfect – no valley. Hope this helps!

  7. I struggled with this problem in a Zojirushi for some months, but have solved it. I think that all the advice to cut back on the factors that promote rising are misleading, because they merely produce a smaller, denser loaf. The heart of the problem is the structure: in a traditionally made loaf, the dough is periodically punched down and folded during the rising phase, and is shaped before the final rise. If you look at a slice from the middle of such a loaf, you will see that the air is trapped fairly evenly in elongated concentric layers. The bread machine cannot structure the dough like this, so larger, more uneven pockets develop, which then burst through during expansion at the beginning of the bake, causing the loaf to deflate. This is particularly evident with the twin-paddle machine, because of the voids between the two dough lumps over the paddles. The remedy is to take out the dough just after the final mix, remove the paddles, then fold and shape the loaf before putting it back in the pan for a final rise and bake. The machine manufacturers do not give this advice, because it rather detracts from the convenience of the process (the promise of a fresh loaf ready in time for breakfast), but I hope that they are working on a clever design to solve the problem automatically.

  8. Hello! OK so, my bread JUST started having a valley….I have not changed anything in my recipe it’s from a bread machine cook book, it’s just a country white bread, and it always worked then the last 3 loafs for some reason started caving… I am going to try and decrease the yeast a little and see if that helps then go from their. But do you have any idea why it would just now start to cave when I have done nothing different?

    • That does sound strange. Something like that happened to me once and the issue was the water. I’m on a community well and the well water got a “treatment”. Could it be something like that?

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