Bread Errors in Rolls and Small Baked Goods- Part 2

Examining bread errors reveals the many and various ways that mistakes manifest themselves in baked goods. Most flawed baked goods don’t just have one single error; instead, they show multiple shortcomings. A baked good’s flaws are usually connected to each other. 

To avoid errors, a baker needs to correctly address each respective situation. What makes this particularly challenging is that a corrective measure that leads to a flawless baked product in one instance can lead to major errors in another. 

Errors in preparation of the dough:


  • Gluten is not sufficiently developed and too little aeration occurs during kneading
  • Errors in the baked product’s form, volume, crumb pores and relaxation


  • Excessive warming of the dough, damage to the gluten 
  • Errors in the baked product’s form, volume, crumb pores and relaxation

Errors in the bulk rise:

Overly stiff dough:

  • Small volume, round form, dense pore formation, dry cracks, dry crumb

Overly liquid dough:

  •  Moist crumb, fermentation bubbles, crust separation

Bulk rise too cold :

  • Irregular poring, moist crumb, blisters on the crust 

Bulk rise too warm:

  • Irregular poring, large air holes in the crumb 

Additional sources of error include: 

  • Carelessness in preparatory steps (clumpy and incorrectly stored flour)
  • Incorrect creation of pre-dough 
  • Incorrect addition of salt
  • Dough temperature that is too high or too low 
  • Mixed dough is too stiff or too liquidy 

Errors in the post-bulk rise process:

  • Missing step (i.e. folding the dough onto itself) or insufficient working of the dough (shaping errors) 
  • Bench rest skipped or too short
  • Proof is too short or too long
  • Careless errors, such as overflouring work surface 
  • Dough pieces incorrectly prepared for baking

Errors in the baking process:

  • Oven temperature too high or too low
  • Baking time too long or too short
  • Too much or too little steam used
  • Dough pieces packed too tightly

Errors in the baked product – Cause and remedy

SMALL VOLUME  (small baked goods)

  • Cause: dough too stiff, kneaded for too long, large amount of mechanical stress
  • Remedy: Check creation of the dough
  • Cause: Overly long bulk rise
  • Remedy: shorten the proof (fermentation) time
  • Cause: cold and long proof undertaken at too high a temperature
  • Remedy: Reduce proofing temperature 

WEAK BROWNING (looks as if half-baked)

  • Cause: Enzyme-weak flour 
  • Remedy: Extend the bulk rise
  • Cause: Too little salt added
  • Remedy: Increase amount of salt
  • Cause: Overly stiff dough
  • Remedy: Make a more liquid dough
  • Cause: Too little oven steam and baking time too short
  • Remedy: Use more steam and increase the baking time

PROTRUDING DOUGH (During baking, the center of the dough rises excessively) 

  • Cause: High-gluten flour, overly stiff dough
  • Remedy: increase the kneading time, keep the dough more liquidy, add fat, replace 5-10% wheat flour with rye flour   

LACKLUSTER COLOR (baked product’s surface is grayish and matt)

  • Cause: too little steam used
  • Remedy: Increase steam
  • Cause: too much flour used when shaping the dough 
  • Remedy: Use less flour when shaping the dough

Errors in the bloom


  • Cause: overly warm dough, overly long rise, overly stiff dough, dried dough (has a “skin”) 
  • Remedy: cooler dough temperature, shorten overall time before baking

OVERLY STRONG BLOOM (the dough pieces rip open a lot during baking)

  • Cause: insufficient kneading of the dough, rise too short, bench rests too short
  • Remedy: Adjusting kneading time,  extend the bench rests and proof 

BLOOM STAYS CLOSED (the dough stays together where it should open up)

  • Cause: dough too liquidy, dough is too tight (has not relaxed enough)
  • Remedy: make the dough stiff, lengthen the bulk rise time 
  • Cause: too much moisture during the rise/rest periods
  • Remedy: Extend the post-knead bulk rise time 
  • Cause: The dough is cut with a dull knife
  • Remedy: use a sharp knife to cut at a slight angle 

WIDE BLOOM  (dough expands sideways during baking)

  • Cause: Flour with poor gluten property
  • Remedy: Use flour with good gluten properties 
  • Cause: overly ripe, unworkable dough 
  • Remedy: Begin to shape dough earlier
  • Cause: too stiff, overly war dough, overly long bulk rise, rest/rise periods are too dry
  • Remedy: make more liquid dough at a cooler temperature, shorten bulk rise time, cover dough pieces/loaves during rest/rise periods

Crust errors

THIN CRUST (cardboard-like crust)

  • Cause: baking time too short
  • Remedy: lengthen the baking time

BUBBLES ON THE SIDE OF THE CRUST (formation of large air bubbles under the crust)

  • Cause: surface of the dough too wet during rest/rise periods, dough pieces are overly mature when proofed
  • Remedy: keep dough drier, shorten the preshape proof time of the dough pieces 

INSUFFICIENT BROWNING (dough doesn’t get dark enough during baking)

  • Cause: baking time too short
  • Remedy: increase baking time, increase amount of steam
  • Cause: too few sugars in dough/flour (enzyme-poor flour)
  • Remedy: add sugar and fat
  • Cause: overly ripe dough, bulk rise too long
  • Remedy: adjust timings in the making of the dough and its bulk rise
  • Cause: oven too cold, insufficient steam, skin forms on dough pieces
  • Remedy: raise oven temperature (240-250°C), increase steam, cover dough pieces when resting/rising!!

SOFT AND TOUGH CRUST (Bubble-gum crust)

  • Cause: dough too liquidy, too much moisture during rest/rise periods
  • Remedy: make dough stiffer, release steam from the oven toward the end of the baking 


  • Cause: baking time too short
  • Remedy: aim to increase baking time
  • Cause: pre-baking steps are too short and done at too warm a temperature
  • Remedy: shorten bulk rise and lower the temperature (24-26°C)
  • Cause: too much moisture during storage
  • Remedy. Let bread rolls cool completely before tossing them together

OVERLY CRACKED CRUST (Crust forms lots of small cracks or flat segmented sections that look like patches of cracked earth)

  • Cause: strong gluten flour, mature dough, full final proof
  • Remedy: extend the kneading time, check the dough maturity, bake once 3/4 proofed
  • Cause: insufficient kneading
  • Remedy: knead more intensively

BLISTERS ON THE CRUST (not an error in my eyes!)

  • Cause: too much humidity in the air during the proof, proof too long and at too high a temperature, condensation forms on the dough surface, too much steam used at the start of baking
  • Remedy: reduce humidity, decrease proof time and temperature, defrost pieces of dough over a longer period of time at a smaller temperature difference, reduce amount of steam used

Errors in the crumb

INSUFFICIENT CRUMB ELASTICITY (the crumb crumbles significantly sliced) 

  • Cause: insufficient baking time, too much yeast, overproofed 
  • Remedy: check and adjust recipe and work steps
  • Cause: baked good is too voluminous 
  • Remedy: Increase sourdough and amount of predough used

CLOSED CRUMB (“sponge crumb”)

  • Cause: overly stiff dough, dough temperature too cold, dough not active enough
  • Remedy: check and adjust dough temperature and consistency, check and adjust yeast amounts used 

IRREGULAR CRUMB (applies to small baked goods and non-mediterranean goods) 

  • Cause: dough is too tight (has not relaxed enough), dough too liquidy and too cold 
  • Remedy: adjust pre-baking steps

AIR HOLES (air holes measuring 2-3 cm form in the crumb) 

  • Cause: Flour with strong gluten properties
  • Remedy: knead dough sufficiently 
  • Cause: too much yeast used, pre-baking steps take too long overall 
  • Remedy: check and adjust yeast amount and pre-baking steps
  • Cause: dough is too tight (has not relaxed enough), bench rest too short 
  • Remedy: knead dough more, extend rest durations

CRUMB WADS UP (when chewing, the crumb clumps together, forming balls)

  • Cause: insufficient baking time, dough is too tight (has not relaxed enough) and too liquidy 
  • Remedy: keep to baking times, let dough mature more before working, make dough somewhat warmer

Salty “Weckerl” bread roll – Recipe

To finish things off, here’s a recipe for long salty bread rolls, or “Weckerl.” After shaping the dough, I unfortunately didn’t have enough time to let rolls proof at 4°C. A long and cold proof, lasting around 8-12 hours, intensifies the taste.  

Rye sourdough:

  • 200g rye sourdough type 960
  • 150g water 25°C
  •   10g starter

RT: 18-24 hours at room temperature ca. 20-22°C   TA: 175

Main dough:

  • 360g mature sourdough 
  • 800g wheat flour type 700
  • 440g water
  •   22g salt
  •   30g honey
  •   15g yeast
  • 5g bread spices (as desired)

MT: 7 minutes slowly / 5 minutes quickly TA: 159 DT: 24-26°C


  • Knead ingredients until they form a smooth dough.
  • After kneading, cover the dough and let it rest for 20 minutes. 
  • Divide the dough into pieces of 75g each and loosely roll into round balls.
  • Cover and let rest for 30 more minutes. 
  • Shape each piece into a weckerl, or a long roll with pointy ends, and then place seamside-down on a floured cloth.
  • If the rolls are not proofed at a cold temperature, then this final proof lasts c. 45-50 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 250°C. Just before the rolls go into the oven, flip them over, spray them with water and sprinkle them with coarse salt and caraway. 
  • Place into the oven with steam and bake at a constant temperature of 240-245°C.
  • Baking time c. 15-16 minutes (to achieve a stronger crust, release the steam toward the end of the baking time)