Low bread volume

Externally we observe that the bread is smaller than we expect and this may also have led to a paler crust colour because of the poorer heat transfer to the dough surface. Internally the cell structure may be more open than usual.

Since bread volume is a consequence of expansion of the dough by carbon dioxide gas from yeast fermentation and the retention of that gas within the dough matrix (Cauvain, 1998) there are two potential primary causes of this problem - lack of gas production and lack of gas retention. To separate the two we will need more observations, and an important one will be whether the rate of expansion of the dough in the prover and oven was normal or slower than usual. If the latter was the case then the primary cause of the problem is likely to be lack of gas production and potential contributing factors may include the following:

• yeast activity or level too low;

• lack of yeast substrate (food);

• dough temperature too low;

• proving temperature too low;

• proving time too short;

• proving temperature/time/yeast combination incorrect.

On the other hand if the proving had been at a normal rate and there was a lack of oven spring then this would lead us to recognise that the problem would be lack of gas retention. In this case the list of potential reasons for the problem includes:

improver level too low;

• incorrect improver;

• combination of improver and flour too weak for process;

• enzymic activity too low;

• energy input during mixing too low;

• mixing time too short;

• dough temperature too low.

Note that the 'dough temperature' too low appears in both lists because of its effect on yeast activity and the effectiveness of the functional ingredients in the improver.

Continue reading here: Keyholing

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