Bread is an essential part of every meal. It provides energy, nutrients, and fiber. It also helps to keep your body healthy and strong.
Bread is an essential part of our daily lives. It’s used in almost every meal and snack we eat. However, bread can also be a source of frustration if it becomes dry and crumbly.
If you’re experiencing dry bread, then there are several reasons why this could happen. Here are the main causes and prevention tips.
Bread is a staple food in every household. It is an inexpensive source of protein and carbohydrates. However, bread can also cause problems if it is not stored properly.
If you find that your bread is dry and crumbly, there could be several reasons behind it. The first thing you should check is whether your oven temperature is set correctly. If you use a convection oven, you should set the temperature at 200 degrees Celsius.
You should also ensure that your bread is baked long enough. Baking time varies depending on the type of bread you are baking. For example, baguettes usually require around 10 minutes while rolls only need 5 minutes.
If your bread is still dry and crumbly after checking these two factors, then you should try to add more water to the dough. If you are using yeast, you should add 2 tablespoons of warm water to the flour mixture. Here are some of the reasons why your bread is Dry & Crumbly.
The amount of liquid added to the dough will determine how much moisture remains inside the loaf when it comes out from the oven.
Too little liquid results in a dense loaf with no air pockets. This makes for a very heavy loaf which tends to get hard as soon as it cools down. On the other hand, too much liquid leads to a soft loaf with lots of holes. These holes allow steam to escape during cooking resulting in a lighter loaf. Additionally, excess moisture may make the crust soggy.
The surface where you work the dough determines its texture. You should always start working the dough on a lightly floured surface such as parchment paper. When kneading, make sure that all parts of the dough come into contact with the countertop.
Furthermore, don’t overwork the dough. Kneading involves pushing and folding the dough repeatedly until it forms a smooth ball shape. Overworking the dough may result in tough crusty loaves. Try to avoid adding extra flour to prevent sticking issues.
Knead the dough well before placing it in the fridge. Make sure that the dough has been worked thoroughly so that it doesn’t stick together. After about 15-20 minutes, place the dough back in the refrigerator.
This step prevents the gluten strands from forming tight bonds between each other. As a result, they won’t form any large bubbles within the dough. Instead, small air pockets remain trapped throughout the loaf. Gluten is responsible for giving bread structure and elasticity. Therefore, without it, the bread becomes flat and lacks volume.
You should carry out the poke test described below to see if the dough needs additional resting time.
Poke Test: To do this, press one finger through the center of the dough. If the hole closes up immediately, then the dough isn’t ready yet. Wait another five minutes and repeat the process again. Continue doing this until the dough starts opening up again.
Low protein flour contains less than 12% protein content. It’s made by grinding wheat grains at low temperatures. Because proteins hold onto water molecules, high protein flour absorbs more water compared to lower protein flour. In addition, higher protein flour creates stronger gluten strands. Stronger gluten helps create larger air pockets within the dough.
As a result, bread containing high protein flour tends to be denser and chewier. However, because of their strong flavor, they can also have an unpleasant taste.
If your bread turns brown after baking, try reducing the temperature or extending the baking time. Alternatively, use a darker-colored pan to bake your bread. Dark pans absorb heat faster than light ones. Consequently, dark pans are better suited for making crispy golden brown loaves.
If bread is overbaked, it will become dry and crumbly. Also, some people find that baked bread tastes bitter when eaten straight away. So, wait for around 20 minutes before eating. Use a food thermometer to check whether the internal temperature reaches 180°F.
When using a convection oven, set the temperature too low. This results in uneven heating which causes the top side of the bread to cook quicker than the bottom. As a consequence, the middle remains undercooked while the outer layers turn hard.
Alternatively, if you’re not familiar with how to properly adjust the temperature settings, leave the oven door slightly open during cooking. Doing this allows excess steam to escape.
The yeast activates as soon as warm liquid touches its surface. When the mixture cools down, however, the yeast stops working. You need to rehydrate the dried yeast first. Add 1/4 cup lukewarm water to 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir vigorously to dissolve the yeast completely.
If the yeast is not active, add 1 teaspoon sugar along with the remaining ingredients except salt. Mix well. Cover tightly and let rise overnight.
Inactive yeast may take longer to activate. For example, inactive yeast takes about 3 days to fully reactivate.
Dry climates make it difficult for yeasts to work effectively. They don’t produce enough carbon dioxide gas to raise the dough. Therefore, the rising period becomes much shorter.
Dry and Crumbly bread can be caused due to a dry climate Try adding extra moisture by sprinkling on additional water. Or, simply cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it inside a humidifier.
Similarly, bread produced at altitudes above 4500 feet has been found to be drier and harder. To prevent this from happening, sprinkle on extra water.
Cutting into the loaf early prevents the crust from forming correctly. If you cut into the loaf before the center rises sufficiently, the crust won’t form a tight seal. Instead, it’ll spread outwards creating large holes.
To avoid cutting into the loaf prematurely, remove the risen dough from the bowl immediately after mixing. Then, shape the dough into balls. Place them back into the bowl without touching each other. Allow them to rest until doubled in size.
After cooling, store your bread in an airtight container. Avoid storing it in plastic bags because they trap odors. And, keep it away from strong smells like onions, garlic, coffee beans, etc. These aromas cause mold growth.
Also, do not refrigerate your bread. Refrigeration makes bread stale quickly. Store it instead in a cool, dry area such as a pantry.
Keep your bread covered when stored. The moist environment helps maintain freshness. Also, try wrapping slices individually in foil or wax paper.
Don’t use metal pans. Metal conducts heat better than glass or ceramic. So, baking times will increase. Use only non-stick pans that are coated with Teflon®.
Use parchment paper to line the pan. Parchment absorbs grease and adds flavor to baked goods. Bread made using these tips should stay fresher for up to two weeks. However, some people prefer their bread to last even longer. In which case, follow our instructions below:
Bread needs steam to remain soft and tender. This happens naturally during cooking. But, if you want to speed things up, introduce steam while heating the oven.
Place a colander over a pot filled halfway with boiling water. Put the bread directly onto the colander. Close the lid of the pot. Bake according to directions. Remove the colander just before removing the bread from the oven.
Add different ingredients to your recipe. Experimenting is fun! You might find new ways to add more flavor to your bread. Here’s one way to experiment:
Mix 1 cup flour with 2 teaspoons salt. Add ½ teaspoon sugar. Mix well. Make a well in the middle of the mixture. Pour ¼ cup warm milk into the well. Stir gently. Continue stirring until all the liquid is absorbed. Repeat steps 5 through 7 twice more.
If you’re looking for a quick fix, then there isn’t much you can do about crumbly bread. But, if you’d rather have delicious homemade bread every time, then read our article on how to make perfect yeast bread. We’ve also included several recipes so you can get started right now. Good luck!