problem with shrinking gingerbread house dough

by charlotte
(Nottingham, England)

I wonder if anyone could possibly help me with a problem I have had when making a ginger bread house.

This is something I have done every year since 1963 and until the last 3-4 years all has gone well and I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole process.

But about 3-4 years ago I suddenly starting running into a problem: normally I make sure that each piece of the house ends up the correct shape by taking them out of the oven about half-way through the approx 10 mins baking time and - placing the card board piece on top of the ginger bread one and using a fairly sharp knife - trimming back each semi-cooked (and still soft) piece. This is easily done as they tend to float out a bit during baking.

Or at least they DID.

The problem now is that they have started to shrink instead of expand and this makes it well nigh impossible to shape the pieces correctly.

Most frustrating. Unless you quickly decide how to reduce the size of the whole house, you just have to start all over again.

Any thoughts? I have made sure to use only the very best quality four and following the recipe (always the same one) very carefully.

Would really appreciate any help!

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