Zucchini bread deflates as it cools

Ellie Landau


Lori T. June 29, 2020
If your quick bread is completely baked done, and is given a 10 minute rest out of the oven before you remove it from the pan- then no, it shouldn't deflate as it cools completely. Yours may have done so for a few reasons- and you need to cut into your cooled loaf to begin figuring out what went awry. If you cut into it, and it's a damp uncooked looking center, then it may simply be under-baked. If it looks done, but is dense- then the problem may be you over-mixed the batter. When you stir together the batter for a quick bread, you only mix to dampen the dry ingredients. If you over-mix, you introduce too much air- which causes a good puff in the oven, but deflates the loaf as it escapes in the cooling off. Finally, your batter may have been too wet. Zucchini can bring a LOT of water to the party, and that's caused me some grief in the past. I solve that by shredding it ahead of time, and sprinkling it with a tablespoon of the sugar from the recipe, and letting it sit for a bit in a colander. That helps remove some of the extra water, and to be sure, I press on it before adding it to the batter- just to get out as much of that water as I can. The last reason for loaf collapse can be that there was too much batter for the size pan you used. A quick bread should never fill more than 1/2 - 2/3 of the pan. In the oven, it might be able to expand past the top, but it won't have the support for that extra height once it's out of the oven and loses the steam support. And last- if you remove the loaf from the pan before that magic 10 minute mark, you will remove support for the structure inside before it has completely set and able to maintain the height. Gravity is a pretty powerful thing to fight, and your loaf is still baking even after you remove it from the oven. The gluten structure needs to off steam and cool to set firm enough to resist the downward pull. In the meantime, support is from your pan.
Ellie L. June 29, 2020
Thank you so much for the explanations - so helpful!
I overmixed the batter:(.

What is the best way to tell if the bread is done? I use the toothpick method and insert it in the middle of the bread. If it comes out clean it should be done.... I do like my bread really moist but I don't want to underbake...
Lori T. June 29, 2020
Best way? I think that would be to use an instant read thermometer, to be honest. The final temperature should be somewhere between 200 and 210F. I usually prefer to shoot for the middle for the breads I make, but that's knowing my oven, recipe, and ingredients. Yours might vary a little, and as you bake more you get a feel for what the sweet spot is temperature wise. I have been known to use the trusty old toothpick method as well, and I usually go for a clean toothpick, stuck in the center of the loaf as well.

Over-mixing has undone a lot of quick breads, so you are not alone. It's awfully tempting to keep stirring until it's all well mixed, but don't. It's okay to have a few minor streaks of dry ingredient in there. I prefer to do the mixing with a flat rubber spatula, or a spoonula, so it brings in less air. Big spoons work, too. Just bypass the whisk and mixer, tempting as they are.
Ellie L. June 29, 2020
Thank you so much!! So helpful and my next zucchini bread will be so good, thanks to all your advice:)

I love the Food52 family!
Ellie L. June 28, 2020
Is it normal for a Zucchini loaf bread to deflate as it cools?
Recommended by Food52