Common Bread Baking Problems

We understand the frustration of your loaf not quite being picture perfect!? Don’t worry, we can help!? Let’s first make sure our ingredients are fresh, then explore some common bread baking problems, and we steps can be taken to correct them.

Collapsed or sunken loaf (rising and falling)

Cause: too much yeast, sugar or water, too little salt, or high altitude.

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf:?Reduce your yeast by 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon to start with, and using cold water.? If you see an improvement but it’s still not?quite there, continue to reduce incrementally.? Alternatively, you could try increasing salt, or decreasing your sugar or water.

Short, dense, and/or dark loaf

Cause: typical of too much flour (or other dry ingredients) or not enough liquid; less often a result of too little yeast, too little sugar, too much salt, or old ingredients.

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf:?Reduce your flour* or increasing your liquids.? You can always check your dough during the KNEAD cycle to make sure the texture isn’t too dry.

Lopsided loaf

Cause: typical of too much flour (or other dry ingredients), not enough liquid, or recipe size is too small

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf:?Reducing your flour* or increasing your liquids.? If you’re using your own recipe, you may need to increase the recipe size.? The minimum loaf size for our 2 pound bread machines is 1 1/2 pounds (BB-CEC20 and BB-PAC20), and 1 pound for our 1 pound machine (BB-HAC10).

Lumpy Loaf

Cause: Typical of too much flour (or other dry ingredients) or not enough liquid

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf: Reducing your flour* or increasing your liquids.? Check the dough during the KNEAD cycle—if it appears knotty or lumpy, you can add a tablespoon of water at a time until a nice, round ball of dough forms.

Unmixed Ingredients


Cause: The kneading blades were not installed properly, or kneading blades have worn out.

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf:? Installing kneading blades before adding ingredients to the baking pan.? If you suspect they have worn out, take the baking pan out of the bread machine and place the kneading blades on the metal shafts.? Then, try turning the blades with your finger.? Do they catch the shafts and make them rotate?? If one or both doesn’t, it’s time to replace them.

Add Ingredients Didn’t Mix

Cause: Typical of too much flour (or other dry ingredients) or not enough liquid.

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf:? Reducing your flour* or increasing your liquid.? When the dough is too dry, add ingredients like nuts and raisins cannot penetrate the dough ball.

*The weight of a cup of flour can fluctuate significantly depending upon how the flour is measured.? Using the measuring cup as a scooper, or pouring flour into the measuring cup will result in more of the ingredient being used than our recipes call for.? You can reduce your flour using one of two methods:

  1. Volumetrically: Fluff your flour with a fork or a whisk to loosen it; then, spoon it into your nested measuring cups, and level off without tapping or shaking.
  2. By weight: Weigh your flour with a digital kitchen scale (128g/4.51oz per cup for bread flour; 120g/4.23 oz for whole wheat flour, and 125g/4.41oz for all purpose).? This method yields the most consistent and optimal results, and conveniently cuts out the guesswork.

Still having trouble, or don’t see your baking problem listed here?? Please contact our customer service team for assistance or give us a message on our Facebook.



23 thoughts on “Common Bread Baking Problems

  1. My bread comes out with a white top while the sides and bottom are nicely brown. I thought it was because I used almond milk instead of powder milk (I was out of powder milk). Then I tried fat free homogenized milk, and the same thing happened. What might be causing it?

  2. New machine(. Bb-HAC10… ingredients in- pan licked in- on dough cycle- start engaged …lid down-but no action( blade turning) in machine..????

  3. Help- our breads always come out with a yeast taste!! Is there a specific type of yeast we need to use with this bread machine? Do we need to proof the yeast before adding it?

  4. My wife bought me a BB-CEC20 Supreme for Christmas. Initially I couldn’t get the bread to rise properly. After becoming more careful at measuring the four, changing flour, changing yeast, adding more yeast I finally was able pretty much solve the rise problem. My problem is that even with the crust set to dark, the bread is always quite pale in color. I tried the manual setting and followed the recipe for French bread, set the bake timer to 1h 10m, added and extra 1/2 tsp of yeast. The result was a reasonably shaped loaf (it could have risen a little more) but is was extremely pale in color. I am starting the think the machine is not getting up to the correct temperature (I live in Southern California so I don’t believe its an ambient temperature problem). Any ideas?

  5. I use same recipe every time. Some time the loaf comes out perfect other times either lopsided or with a cavity in one end. I am puzzled of the inconsistency. I am careful to measure accurately.

  6. I bought Zojirushi bread maker virtuoso plus. It’s LCD is hard to read. It seems it does not have back light. Is it a defect in my machine?


  7. On the light setting, the bread is quite dark on all sides and a part of the top of the loaf. Please help. Thanks

    • Hi Paula, a loaf with inconsistent coloring can be the result of too much flour. We’d recommend weighing the ingredients for best results. Please let us know if the problem still persists, and we can think of other ways to remedy it! Happy baking!

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