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Crust on Homemade Bread is Hard

I have tried to bake my own bread. I use a bread maker to mix the dough. It rises once in the machine. Then I take it out, knead it and let it rise again. When I put it into the oven and bake it. But it doesn't come out right. It gets really crusty. It smells wonderful but is inedible. What am I doing wrong?

Melissa from Arizona

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Recent Answers

By helen [64]04/07/2010

I don't use a bread machine but still the crust is hard. The bread is lovely, just the top gets hard. So what I have done (and this really works) is put a damp towel over it or damp kitchen roll and the bread crust remains soft. This is nothing you will read about but I have found this really works. Good luck, and let us know what works for you. Helen

By Joan [13]06/11/2009

I only use frozen bread dough, and have never had trouble with the crust getting hard in the oven. However, awhile back I saw directions for baking frozen bread dough in a slow cooker. I have tried it twice, and the bottom, sides, and ends get nice and brown, but the top stays light. The crust also gets real hard, and on the bottom it is usually about 1/4 inch thick, which makes it awfully hard eating for an old granny with bad teeth. lol

By Judi [17]02/08/2009

Somebody may have already said this but...don't knead after removing from machine, just form into a loaf and let rise. As soon as you get it done in the oven brush it with milk for a softer crust.

By Ronda (Guest Post)02/08/2009

I bet your oven is not hot enough so it has to cook to long to get done and it dries out. Get a meat thermometer and check the real temp of your oven. It should be about 350 to 400 to bake bread. Also when you take it from the bread machine you should not knead it but just punch it down and form it. When its almost double, bake it.

By Louise B. [4]11/28/2008

I would pay attention to all of these posts. However, I too, wonder why you don't let the bread machine bake the bread. It would use less energy than your oven. I noticed that if the bread sat in the breadmaker after it was baked, the crust would get heavy. (I had problems with the timer.) Take the bread out of the breadmaker promptly after it is cooked.

If you must bake it in the oven, be sure your tempurature is correct. It could also be too cool, and you dry the bread out as you bake it.

Bread needs to be kept in a plastic bag if you want the crust to stay soft. Even if you don't butter the top, the crust will be softer if you put it into the plastic bag after it has cooled.

By susan winship [4]11/24/2008

The bread machine can form and bake the bread all the way through...it takes about 4 hours. If you are using the dough setting and then letting the bread rise, try not kneading the bread, just forming it into loaves and letting them rise, then bake. If you have an instant-read thermometer, use it for the bread. You want a temperature of 190-200 degrees F.

By Noella [9]11/24/2008

You may butter the top and put it in a "plastic" wrapper while it is still hot or warm. Doesn't seem to hurt it. I've done it for years. The crust comes out like bread from the store!

By Coreen Hart [73]11/22/2008

I think Harlean has it right. Butter the top and then wrap a towel around the loaf. How much fat are you putting in each loaf? If the above doesn't fix it, try adding more fat, preferably butter. Good luck! Nothing like a slice of homemade bread fresh out of the oven and dripping with butter!

By Harlean from Arkansas [125]11/21/2008

I rub a little oil or butter on the top of my loaf and wrap it in a heavy terry towel hot out of the oven. The steam that is formed inside the towel softens the crust. When it is cool, I slip it into a plastic bread wrapper.
Harlean from Arkansas

By Erica (Guest Post)11/21/2008

I have the very same problem! I have tried putting butter on the top to no avail. I am not sure if it is because of the way the bread machine bakes it--maybe somerthing is different being in such a small and sealed environment? We can eat it when it comes out but after that no one wants it and I then use it to make croutons or to feed the birds.

By Rasta (Guest Post)11/21/2008

Simple. Butter the top as it comes out of the oven. I've baked bread for years and this has always worked. After the loaf has cooled put it in a plastic bag.

By Andrea [2]11/21/2008

I though bread makers baked the bread - why are you making it in the machine and then baking it in your oven?

Go simple - make Betty Crocker's white bread. It's foolproof when done by hand.

Also, are you using a bread machine recipe, or are you trying to adapt a "hand made" to the bread machine?

By Jan (Guest Post)11/21/2008

Hi,don't knead it after you take it from the machine. Shape it into loaves and let them raise and then bake them. Hope that helps.

By Algis Kos11/21/2008

Perhaps your oven is too hot? I bought an oven thermometer for $3 and found that my stove was 25F too hot. I also used an instant read meat thermometer to check if the bread was ready, 190F and once I got used to everything, I didn't need the thermometers anymore.:)

By Marna (Guest Post)11/21/2008

What kind of recipe are you using? Recipes like French bread which have no fat in them are supposed to be crusty. You need a bread with some butter or oil in the recipe to get a softer crust.

Another option is to brush the crust of your bread with melted butter when it comes out of the oven. It will soften it and give it a nice sheen.

By Lynette (Guest Post)11/21/2008

I have found many useful bread making tips on Allrecipes.com. Our family favorite is the Amish bread recipe. Perhaps it is the ratio of ingredients you use? Good luck and don't give up!

By Algis Kos11/21/2008

Perhaps your oven is too hot? I bought an oven thermometer for $3 and found that my stove was 25F too hot. I also used an instant read meat thermometer to check if the bread was ready, 190F and once I got used to everything, I didn't need the thermometers anymore.:)

By Jill [4]11/20/2008

How long do you bake it? It should probably not need more than 20 to 30 minutes.

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