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Help - my Challah bread!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone, I'm new here, but, I'm not new to baking bread or Challah.

Last night I baked a load of dough for a Challah in a bread machine. It wasn't my first time with this breadmaker or with this recipe. As a matter of fact, it was the second load of the night.

When I took it out of the oven, it was well browned, big (well risen) and beautiful. I left it out on the counter overnight to cool (as I usually do) and before I went upstairs I thought I noticed that it was falling.

This a.m., I walked into the kitchen and my beautiful, 6 braid challah, was flat as a pancake.

Can anyone help me and tell me what might have gone wrong?

TIA
post #2 of 7
My first guess is that it might have overrisen. If the temperature of the room was warmer, the dough was warmer, the yeast was more active, you left it to rise too long, etc, these are all factors that could all have caused it to rise too much.

From my experience the best test of rising is the finger test. You can get a real idea if the dough has risen enough and if it's risen too much.

Take a floured finger and press it into the dough, maybe half a knuckle depth or a little less. If the dough springs back completely it;s not anyway near done. If it leaves a slowly refilling indentation, it's just right, if it collapses not only where you press but also around it, it;s risen too much. As it collapsed around your finger, so it will do later. There is not enough structure to hold up the rise. In that case nothing to do but flatten it out and reshape the loaf and it should be ok. (It will rise even quicker then so watch it).

I learned this in my earliest breadmaking experiences, over 40 years ago. Made several loaves of sweet christmas bread and they looked so great, rose so high, and then when i baked them some collapsed as yours did, and some remained high, but the inside was hollow and cavernous, and the bread was horrible and dry.

Time and height and temperature don;t tell you enough about the state of the dough. Some bread is ready when it's relatively low, and other bread when it;s very high. But if it collapses under your finger, it's ALWAYS risen too much.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

I tried another batch last night, same details, and it did the same flop - so disappointing. I thought that maybe it was because the dough was too heavy since I usually break it up into smaller loaves and this one I shaped as one large one. I will experiment next week and let you know how it comes out.

Devora
post #4 of 7
I think that the bigger the loaf, the slower you have to let it rise (that is, cooler room), in the last rise. What i've noticed when i;ve been in a rush and tried to make a dough rise quickly and put it in an unlit oven with pilot, or other warm space, is that the outer part rises fast, but the inner part (that's not close to the warm air) rises more slowly. Then i find a space between the crust and the inner crumb because the outside part has risen and left a large space between it and the inner part. This will sometimes collapse on itself later.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

You

That is probably what exactly happened. I placed the loaf on a warm oven (300 degrees) and let it rise for 40 minutes. The weather outside was miserable (humid and warm) and the temp in the house was decent but not cool.

Both times the loaves came out exactly as you said - well done on the outside, separating from the inside. I even baked the second one I made, last night, longer thinking that may have been the problem (b/c the dough was too doughy the first time).

I threw last nights completed loaf into the freezer as it was on it's way down and I'm going to take it out tonight and see how/if that helped.

Thanks again for sharing your experience!
post #6 of 7
When you defrost your completed loaf, press it down flat on a floured board, and then do the braiding all over again. Leave it in the cool house temp, and it should be ok. I'm no expert and have no professional training but have done lots of bread over the years.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
It's already baked and frozen...
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