Crumbles / Hard to Slice

Here are some helpful solutions for the common causes:

  • Ratio of dry ingredients to liquids was too high

    SOLUTION

    When flour is "scooped" into the measuring cup directly from the container, it compresses or becomes packed. This means you will be adding more flour than called for in the recipe. Spoon flour from the container into the measuring cup and use a metal spatula or the flat side of a knife to level the flour even with the top of the cup.

  • The wrong measuring cup was used; the ratio of dry ingredients to liquids was too high

    SOLUTION

    Glass or clear plastic measuring cups with pouring spouts are used to measure liquids. For dry ingredients, always use a measuring cup that comes as a "nested" set (i.e. separate cups to measure 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and 1 cup). Learn more about measuring.

  • Fat added at the wrong time slows down the rising of dough

    SOLUTION

    While fat added to yeast dough helps produce a loaf that has a moister crumb and keeps fresher longer, fat added to flour before the liquid called for in the recipe will coat the protein in the flour and prevent the gluten from forming. However, if small amounts of fat (a little vegetable oil or melted butter) are added after mixing the dough and just before kneading, fats increase the gas-holding ability of yeast dough and the volume of the bread will increase. Learn more about Fats in Baking.

  • Excess sugar inhibits gluten development; highly sweetened dough rises more slowly or not at all

    SOLUTION

    While sugar and other sweeteners provide "food" for yeast, too much sugar can damage yeast, drawing liquid from the yeast and inhibiting its growth. Add extra yeast to the recipe or find a similar recipe with less sugar. Sweet doughs will take longer to rise.

  • Salt slows down yeast growth and inhibits rise

    SOLUTION

    Excess salt slows down yeast growth and slows down its rise. Reduce the amount of salt or find another similar recipe prepared with less salt.

  • Inadequate rising time

    SOLUTION

    Each time yeast dough is allowed to rise, the texture of the baked bread will become lighter and finer. Some finely textured bread recipes recommend a second rise before shaping. The second and any subsequent risings take much less time than the first because the yeast is already active.

  • Baking stone too hot; bread is overbaked

    SOLUTION

    Follow manufacturer's directions for preparing the stone. Most recommend placing the stone on a low shelf in the oven and preheating for 30 minutes. An oven stone that is too hot can cause the bottom of the loaf to bake before the dough can rise.