Responding to: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bob Jones)
BJ> Well I have a Hitachi bread machine and have used it for about 2
BJ> years. Had pretty good luck up until about 6 or 8 months ago. The
BJ> problem is that the bread rises just fine, but as soon as the bake
BJ> cycle starts the bread falls to about 1/4 to 1/3 the size. I'm not
BJ> really into eating hockey pucks.
BJ> I have tried adding 2T of gluten to the recipe. I have tried both
BJ> cutting down and increasing the water. I have switched yeasts. I have
BJ> tried different flour. I really can't imagine it having anything to do
BJ> with the machine.
You've described an over risen loaf. This is most frequently caused by too
much liquid. It can be the result of too much yeast or too much sugar, but
either of these is rare - it takes so much yeast or sugar to over raise a
loaf in the time allowed by your machine that you would surely have noticed
Try the following:
Add only 2/3 of the amount of liquid called for in the recipe.
Start the machine and let it run for about 2 minutes.
Open the cover (leave the machine running.)
The dough should be grainy and uneven and may not even have formed a ball.
Add the held back liquid, one teaspoon at a time, waiting about 30 seconds
between additions, until the dough comes together and smooths out.
It should have a smooth, even, elastic texture and should feel soft and
dry (reach right in and touch it - turn off the machine if you must, there's
no harm in restarting it.)
Should the dough be sticky or tacky or should a smear of liquid or dough
appear on the walls of the pan or under the paddle, you've gone to far.
Add flour, 1 teaspoon at a time, waiting 45 seconds to a minute between
additions, until the smears and wetness get picked up by the dough and the
dough is as described above.
In either event, add 1 more teaspoon of flour, close the cover and go away
until your bread is ready.
... Please, God, not *another* learning experience!