Why is homemade bread so crumbly?

Written by julie mcmurchie
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Why is homemade bread so crumbly?
A lack of gluten will cause homemade bread to crumble. (baked bread image by Dmitri MIkitenko from Fotolia.com)

Homemade bread comes with its own set of challenges. Crumbly bread is one of the common complaints home bakers most often voice. Chances are the problem is not enough gluten in the dough.

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Bread is best made with bread flour because it contains the most protein, which is essential to the formation of gluten. Gluten is what gives bread its chewy texture. If there is not enough gluten, the bread will be crumbly. Water is necessary for gluten to form, so in bread, a moderate amount of water is necessary for a good quality loaf. Sugar and fats inhibit gluten production.

Gluten Formation

Stirring and kneading the dough is what causes the two proteins contained in wheat flour, gliadin and glutenin, to form gluten. The gluten becomes stronger the longer the dough is worked. Dough that is not kneaded properly produces crumbly bread with large air pockets.


Bread dough needs to rise before it is baked, but if it goes too far, the bread will be crumbly. Two tips to help insure moist bread: Let the dough double in size, and make sure to bake the bread in a preheated oven.

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