Common Bread Baking Problems

We understand the frustration of your loaf not quite being picture perfect!  Don’t worry, we can help!  Let’s first make sure our ingredients are fresh, then explore some common bread baking problems, and the steps that can be taken to correct them.

Collapsed or sunken loaf (rising and falling)

Cause: too much yeast, sugar or water, too little salt, or high altitude.

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf: Reduce your yeast by 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon to start with, and using cold water.  If you see an improvement but it’s still not quite there, continue to reduce incrementally.  Alternatively, you could try increasing salt, or decreasing your sugar or water.

Short, dense, and/or dark loaf

Cause: typical of too much flour (or other dry ingredients) or not enough liquid; less often a result of too little yeast, too little sugar, too much salt, or old ingredients.

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf: Reduce your flour* or increasing your liquids.  You can always check your dough during the KNEAD cycle to make sure the texture isn’t too dry.

Lopsided loaf

Cause: typical of too much flour (or other dry ingredients), not enough liquid, or recipe size is too small

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf: Reducing your flour* or increasing your liquids.  If you’re using your own recipe, you may need to increase the recipe size.  The minimum loaf size for our 2 pound bread machines is 1 1/2 pounds (BB-CEC20 and BB-PAC20), and 1 pound for our 1 pound machine (BB-HAC10).

Lumpy Loaf

Cause: Typical of too much flour (or other dry ingredients) or not enough liquid

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf: Reducing your flour* or increasing your liquids.  Check the dough during the KNEAD cycle—if it appears knotty or lumpy, you can add a tablespoon of water at a time until a nice, round ball of dough forms.

Unmixed Ingredients


Cause: The kneading blades were not installed properly, or kneading blades have worn out.

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf:  Installing kneading blades before adding ingredients to the baking pan.  If you suspect they have worn out, take the baking pan out of the bread machine and place the kneading blades on the metal shafts.  Then, try turning the blades with your finger.  Do they catch the shafts and make them rotate?  If one or both doesn’t, it’s time to replace them.

Add Ingredients Didn’t Mix

Cause: Typical of too much flour (or other dry ingredients) or not enough liquid.

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf:  Reducing your flour* or increasing your liquid.  When the dough is too dry, add ingredients like nuts and raisins cannot penetrate the dough ball.

*The weight of a cup of flour can fluctuate significantly depending upon how the flour is measured.  Using the measuring cup as a scooper, or pouring flour into the measuring cup will result in more of the ingredient being used than our recipes call for.  You can reduce your flour using one of two methods:

  1. Volumetrically: Fluff your flour with a fork or a whisk to loosen it; then, spoon it into your nested measuring cups, and level off without tapping or shaking.
  2. By weight: Weigh your flour with a digital kitchen scale (128g/4.51oz per cup for bread flour; 120g/4.23 oz for whole wheat flour, and 125g/4.41oz for all purpose).  This method yields the most consistent and optimal results, and conveniently cuts out the guesswork.

Still having trouble, or don’t see your baking problem listed here?  Please contact our customer service team for assistance or give us a message on our Facebook.



51 thoughts on “Common Bread Baking Problems

  1. My bread comes out with a white top while the sides and bottom are nicely brown. I thought it was because I used almond milk instead of powder milk (I was out of powder milk). Then I tried fat free homogenized milk, and the same thing happened. What might be causing it?

  2. New machine(. Bb-HAC10… ingredients in- pan licked in- on dough cycle- start engaged …lid down-but no action( blade turning) in machine..????

  3. Help- our breads always come out with a yeast taste!! Is there a specific type of yeast we need to use with this bread machine? Do we need to proof the yeast before adding it?

  4. My wife bought me a BB-CEC20 Supreme for Christmas. Initially I couldn’t get the bread to rise properly. After becoming more careful at measuring the four, changing flour, changing yeast, adding more yeast I finally was able pretty much solve the rise problem. My problem is that even with the crust set to dark, the bread is always quite pale in color. I tried the manual setting and followed the recipe for French bread, set the bake timer to 1h 10m, added and extra 1/2 tsp of yeast. The result was a reasonably shaped loaf (it could have risen a little more) but is was extremely pale in color. I am starting the think the machine is not getting up to the correct temperature (I live in Southern California so I don’t believe its an ambient temperature problem). Any ideas?

  5. I use same recipe every time. Some time the loaf comes out perfect other times either lopsided or with a cavity in one end. I am puzzled of the inconsistency. I am careful to measure accurately.

  6. I bought Zojirushi bread maker virtuoso plus. It’s LCD is hard to read. It seems it does not have back light. Is it a defect in my machine?


  7. On the light setting, the bread is quite dark on all sides and a part of the top of the loaf. Please help. Thanks

  8. Our machine is 4 or 5 years old. Always use same recipe, etc. with perfect results. The last two batches both fell and looked wet with bubbles forming on top. Any suggestions? Good flour and yeast used. We love our machine and hopefully you have some suggestions for us.

    • Hi Jan,

      We can think of a few problems that may be causing the issue.

      1. The pan is too old and the shaft is not turning. Try testing the pan by turning the wing nut on the bottom side of the pan. If it’s hard to rotate, then the pan need to be replaced.

      2. The kneading blade is worn out. Try testing the kneading blade by putting it on the shaft and turning it with your fingers. If it turns freely and is not catching onto the shaft, the kneading blade(s) needs to be replaced.

      3. This is less likely since you’ve been using the same recipe, but if the parts have been recently replaced or do not show wear, then we would recommend to follow the recipe by weighing the ingredients. It has been pretty dry, so it’s possible the dough needs a bit more moisture too.

      Replacement parts can be purchased from our parts store here:, but if you suspect other reasons, we’ll be happy to trouble shoot with you over the phone! 800-733-6270

      • Thank you for these suggestions. I stopped using the recipe I had been using and when back to the basic Zojirushi recipe and it’s much better. Now the problem is it really rises a LOT! The top doesn’t brown because it has rose so much that it touches the top of the lid. Suggestions? The bread is wonderful … just too high.


      • I got a digital weigh scale and started weighing ALL ingredients (including water, milk, flour, butter, sugar, salt, gluten , yeast) .
        I added 5 gm of vital wheat gluten to 3 3/4 cups of all purpose flour (116 gms per cup
        , total 435 gms as per mainda – all pupose flour available in india) .
        The bread came out perfectly well.
        I noticed that in liquid measurements , we tend to fill up less than full cup , thereby short on water. So by weighing water the quantity comes very very precise . I recommend it..

  9. We have had our BBCC-X20 breadmaker for a number of years now. More often than not the right side of the loaf slopes downward. Rarely do we get an even loaf. We have tried all suggestions you offer, and have researched this issue thoroughly. Could the paddles and the pan be the problem? The right side paddle seems to turn less easily than the left. Thanks for your thoughts and response in advance.

    • Hi Richard, from the description of your issue, it sounds as though one kneading blade may be stripped. Over time, depending on the usage of the bread machine, the baking pan and kneading blades will eventually acquire some wearing and would need to be replaced. Please check the kneading blades and see if they are indeed worn out.

      The kneading blades are designed to turn easily 1 to 2 inches in either direction around the shaft. If you turn the pan upside down and the kneading blades fall out, this is also normal. However, the blade should catch onto the shaft when you turn it with your finger, if it does not catch that is the indication that it is worn. Replacing the kneading blades would resolve this issue.

      Replacement parts for the BB-CCX20 bread maker can be viewed and purchased by clicking the following link:

      We hope this resolves the issue. If not, please reach out and we can try something else.

  10. We want to make bread, but it is very hard to find flour for bread. So we bought some gluten flour to add. We need to know how much to add to all-purpose flour for making a loaf.

    • Hi Reuel, if all you have is all-purpose flour, you can add an egg as part of the liquid, that will help it rise. You can also substitute 1 Tablespoon of flour with dough enhancer.

      Another alternative is to make your own bread flour with vital wheat gluten.
      1. Measure out 1 cup all-purpose flour (4 1/2 ounces or 129 grams).
      2. Remove 1 1/2 teaspoons (1/8 ounce or 4 grams).
      3. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons vital wheat gluten (1/8 ounce or 5 grams).
      4. Sift to combine.

      Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  11. Why do you ignore my question? How much gluten flour should I add to all-purpose to make a loaf of bread?

    • Hello Reuel ,
      Here is something that I did to successfully solve my problem like yours:
      I use all purpose flour available in India ( called “Mainda” ) which contains 10.5 % protein. You need 12 to 13 % max protein in “bread flour”. We take (for calculating) gluten as pure 100% protein. So we need to add 1.5 % gluten by weight of bread flour to boost protein level to 12 % in the flour to bring it close to “bread flour”.
      Find out protein % in your all purpose flour, then add gluten (100 % protein) to boost protein content to 12 percentage. You can calculate yourself.
      Try not to exceed 12%.

  12. how to I turn on the REST cycle ion my Z bb-pac-20? Somehow, it says REST OFF when I try to use the regular bread cycle.

  13. I have a BB-PDC20 breadmachine and was making perfect raised bread for more than a year, now my bread is not riasing well, I switch to brand new ingredients and still not raising. Some time it just do not raise and sometime it is like a loopside loaf but with very small raising

    • Hi Marco, sorry to hear you’re having trouble. A lopsided, short, and dense loaf is caused by the ratio between the water and flour not being balanced. We recommend to test the bread maker by baking a basic white bread while weighing the ingredients to ensure the ratios are balanced. If this does not improve the results then please contact customer service by emailing, and we can see if there is something wrong with the machine.

  14. I made 2 times Basic Wheat Bread as per Zojiroshi book recipe, but my loaf is coming out sunken.
    I observed the dough many a times during the making and my observations are as under:
    During the kneading it came out very well round ball , soft , bouncy to touch with no sticking on fingers.
    At the end of first rise , dough rose very well , with round dome on top.
    During second and third rise also it rose well.
    At the end of third rise dough rose well about 80 percent level of the first rise.
    Then It started baking at that good rise level , and I thought now the loaf will come out that same Size.
    But during last leg of baking cycle the dough collapsed and then remained so till end of baking .
    Final result was a sunken loaf .

    • Hi Sharad, it sounds like your dough is over-proofing. Reduce your yeast by 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon to start with, and using cold water. If you see an improvement but it’s still not quite there, continue to reduce incrementally. Alternatively, you could try increasing salt, or decreasing your sugar or water. We hope this helps! Happy Baking!

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