Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Prevent Bread from Falling


By Reena Nerbas

Falling Bread

Dear Reena,

I have baked my own whole grain bread by hand (not in a bread machine) for over 35 years. About a year and a half ago the bread took on a new twist; in the oven it would crash (fall in the center). I thought it was a one-time thing, but since that time it’s happened every time I’ve made it. I have always used the instant, fast-rising yeast, so I switched to the regular rising yeast, but the same thing happened. I have experimented with location of oven racks, rising times and locations, oven temperature, ingredients (including types/brands of flour), different brands of yeasts, to no avail. The bread rises, and then falls in the oven. Sometimes it falls before it gets into the oven. I can’t understand it. In the many years of baking bread, until a year and half ago, I had no failures. Any ideas would be most welcome. Thank you, Pam

Dear Pam,

I wonder if you have moved homes in the past year; because atmosphere can play a big part in bread baking. Begin by cutting back on the rising time and take note of humidity levels; they may be too high. As well; experiment by reducing the liquid in the recipe. Also, too old or not stored properly yeast may be another factor. Yeast should be stored in absolutely dry, airtight containers in the refrigerator. Also make sure that the water you are adding to the yeast is the correct temperature, overly hot water will kill the yeast and cold or tepid water will not activate the yeast. The correct water temperature for Active yeast is (100-110˚F) water and for Quick Rise yeast 120˚F to 130˚F. As well avoid adding too much flour to the dough, it should not be crumbly or hard, it should be elastic and pliable.

Feedback from Fabulous Readers!

Re: Fast way to butter corn on the cob

Dear Reena,

We hold a corn eating party once a year for our friends and to butter corn; we fill a 2 quart jar 2/3 full with hot water and pour a 1/4 cup of melted butter on top. You dip your corn in the jar and as you pull out the cob, the corn is buttered. You can do many cobs quickly. Submitted By: Karen

Re: Freezing cream cheese

Dear Reena,

I read your piece a while ago about not being able to freeze cream cheese and then use it for cheesecake, I just did it and it’s fine. I wonder if it’s a function of the % of fat. Mine was 9 grams fat, I say this because in the UK heavy/whipping cream can be frozen because it’s 40% fat, whereas Canadian it is 33-35% fat and can’t be successfully frozen. It took me years to figure this one out. Thanks, Rowena

Re: Fast ways to mark tape to avoid wasting time searching for the beginning of the roll

Dear Reena,

Fold the end of the tape onto itself and the start will always be available! Submitted By: Lorraine

Dear Reena,

In a recent column you suggested using a toothpick to help find the end of scotch tape. I have a better one; the tabs that hold the bag on a loaf of bread closed work way better and I have used this now for years to help find the end of masking tape. Thanks for all the hints over the years. I enjoy your columns. Faye

Re: Squeaky bedroom door

Dear Reena,

In a recent issue you suggested Vaseline to quiet squeaky hinges. This is probably the best solution of all as it will never run out and drip on the carpet. Something you might mention to your readers is that WD-40 is NOT a lubricant. It is a penetrant. It is made to soak into tight places and loosen things up. It does have a very small amount of a lubricant but this evaporates quickly and leaves things unprotected. I imagine bicycle shops love people who use WD-40 and keep their bikes outside. New chains and brake cables regularly, where if they just used oil they would last forever. Reid

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming. Need a Presenter on the topic: Effective Speaking or The Power of Words? Check out: