Troubleshooting means that mistakes were made the first time a loaf of bread was baked. Some of the most common errors are bread that won't rise; bread that rises too much, or collapses; and cracked crust.
Prevent a loaf from not rising
Buy and use new yeast that is well before the expiration date. Old yeast does not rise as much.
Take the temperature of the water into which your recipe says to dissolve the yeast. It should be between 110 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water is too cold, the yeast will not produce enough CO2, and if the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast.
Completely dissolve all of the yeast into the warm water by sprinkling the yeast over the surface of the water instead of dropping it in. If the yeast does not completely dissolve, the bread will not rise.
Add the salt with the flour in the recipe. Too much contact with salt will kill the yeast and stop it from making the bread rise.
Bring all other ingredients for the bread loaf to room temperature before adding them to the recipe.
Prevent bread from rising too much or collapsing
Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the flour in the bread recipe. If you leave out the salt, the yeast will over reproduce. This will result in the bread rising too quickly, too much, and then collapsing.
Make sure that your oven is cooking at the temperature you set it. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and place an oven thermometer inside. The thermometer after 20 minutes should register 350 degrees. Some ovens need to be recalibrated in order to match the actual temperature inside with the temperature to which they have been set. If your oven is not cooking at the proper temperature, your loaf will continue to rise before it bakes, and this will result in a loaf that has risen too much or collapses.
Find a location for your bread to rise that is just above room temperature, but not too hot. If you let the bread dough rise at too high of a temperature, it will get too big and possibly collapse in the oven.
Time the rising according to the directions in your bread recipe. Most recipes call for the rising to take place until the dough doubles in bulk. This is usually between one and two hours, depending upon the temperature of the room where the bread is rising. Do not let it rise too long to prevent overrising.
Prevent a crack on the crust of your bread by making sure that you only add enough flour to make the dough workable while you are kneading. If you add too much extra flour, the crust will crack and your loaf could taste dry.