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Bread keeps falling

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hello my name is Ryan and im kinda new to this site, just to get that out of the way

Once every ten days I make Amish Friendship bread from a starter I got from my aunt. Ill fallow the resapie to the dot but every time I make it around 40 minutes in the bread falls while in the oven. This happens Every time I make it and im wondering whats going on?
post #2 of 11
Have you been feeding the starter regularly? Is it the only leavening, or is there yeast in the recipe as well? If no yeast, it could be that the starter is not strong enough and needs to be fed a few times to get back up to strength.

Another possibility is overproofing, but 40 minutes doesn't sound all that long.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
post #3 of 11
well type out the recipe your using and in the order your doing it. Its gotta be from there being no yeast or not enough of it.
post #4 of 11
Without your recipe and a description of your technique, my "diagnosis' is going to be provisional. So, if you can get back with some more information, it would be appreciated.

For those who don't know (and they are legion): "Amish Friendship Bread" falls in the netherworld between "quick bread," "cake" and "yeast bread." It's usually partially leavened with a sourdough type starter that's more sweet and sour than truly sour because it's fed with flour, sugar and milk rather than flour and water; and partially leavened with a mix of baking powder and baking soda. Pudding mix and oil are common components. The "bread" is made with a batter rather than a dough. And, other than the normal feeding cycle which occurs before mixing, the mixed batter is not "proofed," i.e., allowed to rise outside the oven.

Figuring out your particular problem is more about cake than bread. The most common causes of cake falling during a bake are overbeating, bad baking powder (got damp, or very old), poor measuring, and an oven which doesn't hold its temperature. It's unlikely your starter is the problem, if it was the bread wouldn't have risen at all. However, it's easy enough to check.

If you're overbeating, knock it off. No. Really. How much should you beat? Just enough to combine the ingredients. You don't need to put air into the batter, the yeast and baking powder will take care of it for you. Combine, mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula (not an electric mixer), pour into your baking dish, and into a preheated oven pronto.

Why so fast? The baking powder and soda start working as soon as they're wet. After a few minutes, they start losing potential.

When's the last time you replaced your baking powder? Well? The stuff loses its ability to work when it gets damp -- even from humidity -- and sometimes just from getting old. Use a fresh tube. Use double acting baking powder (like Calumet or Clabber Girl) instead of a single actioner like Rumford. Double actioners are more forgiving. Once you've got quickbread baking down, you can switch to single actioners, but for the time being ...

Measure your non-yeast leveners carefully. For a typical Amish Friendship Bread, you should be using about 1-1/2 tsp baking powder and another 1/2 tsp baking soda. If you're using significantly more or less, that could be the problem.

Overbeating, and one problem or another with baking powder are far more likely culprits for a mid-bake fall than any yeast problem. In batters anyway, yeast usually either works or not.

Is your starter alive? A week before using, remove your starter from the refrigerator, turn 1 cup of it into a large bowl. Feed with 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Stir to combine. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave the starter on the counter or in some draft free place and check it in 24 hours. Discard any remaining starter, and thoroughly clean your starter jar.

After a day, the starter should be doubled, or show signs of having doubled and then fallen; should show signs of bubbles; and should be giving off a slightly sour, slightly beer like aroma. If so, your starter is "proofed" and is okay. If not, your starter is dead and you need a new one.

If the starter is okay, stir it, cover it and leave it. Continue stirring once a day to reincorporate any "hootch" (liquid) which may have formed. Two days before baking, feed it again. The day before baking, give it a stir.

On baking day, take one cup for your bread, reserve one cup for next time, and give away the rest (that's why it's Frienship).

One last possible problem -- unlikely though -- is that your starter has been colonized by wild yeast which gets extremely active just before being killed by high temperature. That is, it creates a lot of volume in the middle of your cake which the glutens in the flour cannot support. Just barely possible -- but if that's the problem, the solution is to replace the starter with one you know to be good.

When you bake, give your oven plenty of time to preheat. If you usually give it ten minutes, give it twenty. This sometimes help stabilize cranky ovens; although it's usually not an issue at the relatively low temperature at which Friendship Bread is baked (325F ish).

Hope this helps,
post #5 of 11
It could be that the dough is too wet, so it collapses on itself once it's raised to a certain point. You might need to add a little more flour, or reduce the amount of liquid. Also, resist the temptation to open the oven to see how its doing.
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
post #6 of 11
I'm thinking the same thing Grace is.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
as BDL said its more of a batter than a dough.

I think I may be overbeating it also as he said. Thanks for the help.:D
post #8 of 11
I've been making it,too. Are you using the one with the recipe for cinnamon bread that requires a box of instant pudding mix? If so, I had problems with that one. The batter was very stiff and hard to stir and the bread came out sunk in the center and very dense. I tried making banana bread, omitting the cinnamon and pudding mix but adding 4 mashed bananas (mine were frozen, then thawed) and it worked perfectly and is the best banana bread we've ever had. This really was more like a batter and I wasn't sure it would work well. Since that worked, I followed the cinnamon recipe to the letter, except omitted the pudding mix and added 2 cups of roasted pumpkin puree. Oh, that stuff is heaven!

I don't know enough about baking to understand what went wrong with the "original recipe" but we love the variations best so I'm not really worried about it. Not to mention, it is a little healthier with the added fruits/veggies. I made some of the banana bread in a bundt cake pan and it turned out very well. A glaze would have been nice if you wanted to serve it to guests but I didn't do anything to it.

We've been using it to make banana bread french toasts for breakfast. That's yummy, especially with a fresh strawberry puree on top.
post #9 of 11
Allie may be on to something. Too dry (aka stiff) a batter is yet another reason cakes fall -- whether or not bananas are involved. If you still have problems after combining without a lot of beating, you might want to try loosening your batter with another half cup (or so) of milk.

post #10 of 11
Are you giving away some of the bread you make along with some of your starter? If not your bread will fail. Friendship bread is meant to be shared. ;)

Hehhe.. but nope, above suggestions make sense.
post #11 of 11
I gave away some of the banana and a week later, it was still sitting on their counter, wrapped just like I gave it to them. As for the starter, no one I know enjoys cooking or baking so I don't have any takers.

What I have been doing is making up 6 loaves at a time and then freezing 4 of them while keeping a cup of starter for the next batch. My kids love the bread so it doesn't last very long around here. I've only had my starter going on 3 weeks now and last week, I put one cup in the freezer and am going to try using it later. I did some research and it said you can do it, just let it thaw and start over on the 10 day feeding cycle. We will see!

boardlaze, I will have to try that. Thanks for that suggestion! My daughter loves the plain cinnamon bread but I didn't know what went wrong. Her friend's mom makes it and hers doesn't sink like mine but i haven't had a chance to talk to her. She's the one who sent me the starter. My daughter actually carried it around in her purse all day at school. She came home and said she was sick of smelling beer all day.
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