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Making Bread: {Troubleshooting Tips & More}

Baking your own bread is very rewarding but sometimes a loaf of bread will flop and we’re not quite sure why…even when using a tried-and-true recipe! Here’s a troubleshooting tip sheet to help figure out the problem along with information on how to freeze bread dough. You’ll also find a vintage article “The 8 High Spots In Bread Baking” shared at the bottom. Lots of helpful tips here!

Reasons Why Bread Fails: Tip Sheet

You're Careful To Measure Out All Ingredients But Still Something Goes Wrong...Here Are A Few Tips That Can Help Figure Out Why

Bread Is Too Small

Bread Becomes Dry

Bread Has A Coarse Texture And Is Crumbly

Bread Does Not Rise In The Oven

Dough Does Not Rise Or Rises Too Slowly

Loaf Is Too Big & Poorly Shaped

Texture Of The Bread Is Close & The Bread Is Heavy

Top Of The Baked Bread Wrinkles & Cracks

There Are Heavy Brown Particles In The Bread

There Are Yellow Streaks In The Bread

Bread Loses Its Shape While Cooling

Source: From the booklet Robin Hood Breads & Rolls

Vintage Tips

*First published May 22, 2007 and moved here for better organization

Do your breads turn out too brown or too coarse and dry? Did you know the temperature of the kitchen can affect the results of freshly baked bread? A few of these tips and more are shared below with this tip sheet from the 1960s.

Two Main Types Of Yeast

Baking Your Own Bread Was Standard Practice Just A Few Short Decades Ago

Active Dry Yeast:

Compressed Yeast:


*Tip sheet from an old cookbook page, dated 1960

How To Freeze Bread Dough

*First published January 29, 2009 and moved to this page for better organization

You love homemade bread but you don’t have the amount of time it takes to make. You can buy a bread maker, but if you prefer baking it in an oven, here’s a way you can enjoy freshly baked bread each and every day.

It’s cheap to do and much healthier since your family isn’t consuming all those preservatives found in many commercial breads.


Here’s what you do…

Unbaked dough can be frozen up to four weeks.

How To Thaw & Prepare Frozen Dough

The 8 High Spots In Bread Baking

Measuring Flour: Measure flour without sifting. Level off top of cup with straight knife or fill to degree indicated in the recipe.

Making Homemade Bread

Scalding Milk: Pour required amount of milk into top part of double boiler. Set over boiling water. If double boiler is not available, use saucepan set in larger saucepan partly filled with boiling water. Cover and place on stove. Heat until bubbles form around edge of milk. Remove from heat.

Testing For Lukewarm: Put a drop of liquid on inside of wrist over heavy veins. If liquid feels neutral–neither warm nor cold–it is lukewarm. Make this test several times to be sure.

Softening Yeast: Place lukewarm water in bowl and dissolve the required amount of sugar (recipe will state how much water and sugar). Sprinkle the fast-rising dry yeast over the top. Allow to stand 10 to 15 minutes and then stir. If compressed yeast is used, crumble cakes into the lukewarm water and blend.

Mixing Dough In Bowl: After adding the first half of flour to lukewarm milk-mixture, beat until smooth and elastic. Work in additional flour to make a soft dough. As the dough thickens mix it in the bowl with one hand, using a swinging rotary motion. If dough remains sticky after 5 minutes mixing, add a little more flour.

Kneading: To knead dough, fold the outside edge over on itself toward you, and push dough away from you, using the heels of your hands. Turn dough quarter way around, fold over, push, using heels of hands. Repeat and continue using steady rhythm. If dough should stick a little, grease board again. Knead until smooth and elastic.

Rising Of Dough Until Doubled In Volume: Sufficient rise in dough is important. To test whether dough is light, dent it gently with finger. If the dent remains, the dough is light and ready to punch down.

Punching Down Dough: Punch down dough in bowl using fist. Plunge hand into dough several times in center to let gas escape. Fold dough from the outside to the center punching down until dough is its original size.

Source: Vintage booklet, Robin Hood Breads & Rolls