Baking The Perfect Loaf

Ever wondered how to bake the perfect loaf? Here are the answers to some of the challenges you may experience.

Bread Staling

How bread becomes stale

  • Drying out: Loss of moisture causes bread to become tough and leathery, with a dry crumb
  • Moulding: Moisture in the bread allows the growth of moulds. Mould appears as white, green, grey or black hair-like spots. Bread which is packed when warm becomes mouldy
  • Rope: Hot temperatures promote the growth of rope, which is caused by spores in bacteria. The bread forms yellow, sticky strings, known as rope. Rope formation can be stopped by lowering the pH, by adding a little vinegar or lemon juice
  • Souring: An extended rising process causes the dough to become sour

A Good Loaf


  • Well rounded, smooth upper crust, even colour, not too dark
  • Sides and bottom crust, without folds or cracks, light brown in colour
  • No deep crack or overhanging upper crust
  • Light in mass in relation to size


  • Easy to cut with a bread knife
  • Light, elastic and spongy
  • Fine and even air bubbles
  • Soft, elastic with slightly moist crumb
  • Ingredients well mixed, not streaky


  • Even and not streaky


  • Typical of bread type
  • No strong yeast taste
  • Completely baked, not raw
  • Fresh taste, not stale

Baking Faults and Reasons

Small Volume

  • Flour with poor gluten content
  • Too much sugar or shortening
  • Underproofed

Tough Crust

  • Poor quality flour
  • Not completely baked
  • Too much salt

Heavy Bread

  • Poor quality flour
  • Too much salt
  • Dough too stiff or soft
  • Underproofed
  • Underbaked

Volume Too Great

  • Overproofed
  • Pan too small for quantity of dough
  • Oven temperature too low

Deep Ridge On Side

  • Flour with low gluten content
  • Underproofed
  • Dough too cold
  • Sticky dough with poor gluten content

Bread Sticks In Pan

  • Underbaked
  • Pan not greased enough

Uneven Shape

  • Bad moulding
  • Pan too small for quantity of dough
  • Over – or underproofed
  • Pans too close together in oven
  • Uneven temperature

Dark Crumb

  • Quality and type of flour
  • Overproofed

Cracked Crust

  • Dough too stiff
  • Underproofed
  • Oven too hot – crust baked before dough had finished rising

Thick Crust

  • Baked too long at a low temperature
  • Underproofed
  • Oven too hot

Holes Under Thin, Hard Crust

  • Overproofed
  • Oven too hot

Streaky Texture

  • Poorly mixed ingredients
  • Flour added after dough had risen
  • Surface of dough dried out during rising process
  • Too much salt
  • Poor quality flour

Coarse Texture

  • Poor quality flour
  • Under kneading
  • Overproofed
  • Dough too soft
  • Oven temperature too low

Stale Bread

  • Loss of moisture

Sour Taste

  • Overproofed
  • Dough too hot during rising
  • Oven too slow, prolonged rising in oven


  • Not enough salt


  • Warm product packed in container
  • Rope – overripe melon flavour


  • Poor quality ingredients
  • Musty flour


Ilove2bake logo
Anchor Yeast Ilove2bake Logologo