How to make bread lighter

When baking the perfect loaf of bread you usually imagine it with a golden crispy crust on the outside with a soft and airy crumb inside. Therefore, it is especially frustrating when, after a well-intentioned baking process, we remove a loaf of bread from the oven, hard as a brick inside.

Why is this happening and how can the result be better?
From my experience as a baker it could be the results of one of these factors:

Dense or heavy bread can be the result of not kneading the dough long enough.Mixing the salt and yeast together or Losing patience in the middle of molding your bread and there is not enough tension in your finished loaf before baking.

If you find that your bread collapses or flattens before you bake it, you might want to check out this article.

So why are these reasons responsible for your dense dough? Here we go

Not Spending Enough Time On Kneading Yeast Dough

Yeast releases gases when it consumes the sugars in the flour. These gases get trapped inside the dough buy the mesh the gluten makes. This is what causes your bread to be airy and fluffy.

This mesh is formed by kneading the dough. If you do not knead a dough enough you do not give your bread a chance as the gluten did not have enough time to build that mesh. I would like to point out that over kneading a bread can also have negative results as this may cause your dough to become old or overworked and the yeast will not be as effective because it loses some of its power. This is a delicate balance of time.

What Is The Solution?

Be sure to knead yeast dough for at least 10 minutes in a mixer with a kneading hook, or at least twenty minutes with your hands until the dough is flexible and bouncy to the touch. To be extra safe, you can always grab a piece of dough between your fingers, stretch it, and see the web fibers that have developed. If your dough rips as soon as you start pulling you got to keep on working that dough. You want your dough to be able to stretchand kind of pull apart rather than a tare.

Dont Mix Salt and Yeast Together

Almost every recipe for yeast dough contains salt, which gives a taste to the dough. The problem is, salt kills the yeast. So how should these two ingredients be used in one recipe? Well, make sure the salt does not come in direct contact with the yeast. Note that many recipes tell you to add the salt to the dough only after the initial mix of the other ingredients, and the salt does not touch it directly. Contrary to salt, Yeast loves Sugar which helps to accelerate their growth. The heart wants what the heart wants

Lose Patience In The FinalStagesOfMoldingTheBread

Bread needs time invested in its molding, otherwise, all the work and care you put into making the dough will not have the desired results. If you break at this stage or think its less important, and decide that its not that important, I will just roll the dough into a ball and it will come out nicely you will end up with a flat and dense loaf.

What Is The Solution?

You need patience and make sure that you invest the time and effort in this last stage before baking. Therearemany shapes you can mold your bread into. The idea is to have enough tension in your dough when it is finished. This tension will come from folding and tucking your dough into the center of the bread. After the final proof or rise of your dough make sure to flatten it out and get all the air out. Then start tucking the dough inwards to the center of the loaf. If it isa roundbread then you simply go around the outside of the dough and tuck it into the middle until you have gotten all the way around and got back to the start. This will form a round loaf.

If it is a long loaf than you will want to fold the bread in an envelope manner. Taking the left and right sides of the bread, stretch them out and fold them inwards, then take the bottom or the top of the loaf and fold those in one at a time. Finally, grab the top half of the loaf androllit to about the middle of the bread. and tuck it in with your thumb and secure with the palm of your hand after. This should leave another third of the bread remaining to fold over. Grab the half that you have rolled and the roll it over once more and close the loaf with the palm of your hand. This should create that nice tension you will need.

Too Much Flour? and What kind Of Flour?

Make sure you dont use too much flour. Meaning your dough is not too hard, to begin with. Use only the amount of flour to make a workable dough. It will probably come out sticky as hell- good! thats how it should be. Its not easy to work with a sticky lump of dough but thats the ideal texture for a light loaf. Also, take into consideration that heavier flours like whole wheat or rye are not a good fit if you want light and airy loaves. You could use these flours in your mix to get the more complex flavor but use smaller percentages. About 30% of the flour mix. This will give your bread that airy texture while adding some more complex flavors.

Did Your Dough Have Enough Time To Rise?

If you slice the loaf and see that that the dough appears to be compressed, especially around the edges it means you should have let it rise longer. baking bread is about the experience, not so much as following a recipe to the dot. make sure to put the dough for a rise in warm space and keep an eye on the timing. Most bread needs a couple of proofs before ready to mold and then another final proof again before bake.

A great tool for the home baker is a proofing box. It is essentially an enclosure that has a heating element and creates humidity with a water chamber. To read more about how a proofing box works and how it can improve your bread and cut down on time read here.

Now Baking at home differs from baking in an industrial bakery. The tools are different in a way that affects the dough. A home mixer will not give the same result as an industrial mixer, so it is difficult to achieve stable airiness in all the dough. In most cases, the dough will be airy in some parts and lumpy in others, so after the first rise, it is recommended to knead the dough again for a few minutes and then let the dough rise again until it doubles itself and becomes easy to work with. Yes, that means more work but the airy results will be worth it.

Lastly, note that you could potentially let the dough rise too long as well. I know, I know, its getting confusing. If the dough has sat around for too long after rising the dough becomes what we call in the industry OLD and it loses its power to rise in the oven at bake. If your dough is old you will find that you do have some airiness in your bread but it is much smaller than it should be and not as fluffy.

Conclusion: These are some common mistakes a lot of first time bakers do in terms of dense bread and lets face it most people dont like dense bread ( unless you are making it on purposes like a pumpernickel bread or heavy German-style rye ) BUT everybody loves fluffy airy bread. How can it be achieved? the secret is practice, patience and lots of trial and error. Patience is the keyword here

5 Best Tips For The Fluffiest Bread You Ever Tasted

1. Use Bread Flour

Its tempting to use All-purpose flour, you probably already have in the kitchen and you use it for all your other baking needs like cookies, cakes ex. However, its impotent to note it has a lower protein content as compared to bread flour: the high protein in bread flour helps to create more gluten and rise in your baked bread, producing a lighter and fluffier loaf.

2. Gluten Can Help

Adding some gluten can help, especially with more whole-grain types of bread. Rye flour has less gluten than regular flour, and naturally, rye bread should be denser, but if you want to enjoy both worlds: healthy rye bread on one side and enjoy an airy bread on the other, it is recommended to combine two types of flour: rye flour and white flour and in this case adding some gluten contributes to the airiness of the bread.

3. Warm or Room Temperature Water For Yeast Will Make It WorkForYou

Yeast reacts differently to variable temperature. Ten degrees difference in the temperature of the dough profoundly affects the growth rate of yeast. proofing the yeast with warm water (not hotter than 110 degrees so as not to kill the yeast) and keeping the mixing bowl worm really helps. it gets the yeast working toward a perfect rise. Basically, you want all of your ingredients and tools to be at room temperature. If you have your flout sitting in the fridge make sure to take it out about 30-45 min before you start making your bread mix. This goes for any other ingredients you might use in your bread.

So how does it work? its simple biology. the yeast cells are a living organism and like any organism they will metabolize the simple sugars they interact with, releasing gases into the bread dough, giving your bread rise.
The longer the yeast is allowed to work, the more gas is created which helps to create air bubbles in the loaves- the same air bubbles that make it airy and fluffy.

4. The Windowpane Test a Technique Every Beginner Baker Should Know

This technique is the best way to figure out if you sufficiently kneaded your bread dough. Insufficient kneading will result in underdeveloped gluten, creating a bread dense as a brick.
To be on the safe side take a small piece of the dough (a bit bigger than a golf or ping pong ball ) and hold it between your thumb and first two fingers gently start to stretch out the dough rotating it in a circular motion in order to stretch it around evenly. Once you have your dough thin enough that you can see light go through you know your bread is kneaded enough and you can start the proofing stage. If your dough rips during this test and you dont get a good stretch out of your dough you will have to keep kneading it until you get the desired result.

5. Measuring Cups OUTScale IN

Measuring cups seem like an easy way to portion your ingredients but is it inaccurate. Remember, baking is a science and should be exact. There is too much room for error with measuring cups. You could have air pockets in the ingredient ( this is common with flour mostly ) while you pour it in the cup and you want to be able to tell that you do not have the correct amount.

The best way to ensure you have the correct proportions in your ingredients is to use a scale. This is your starting point and if you get this wrong nothing else will be right in your bread so go out and get yourself a scale and throw away those measuring cups. For the best scale I work with, check out this post. It is very reliable and never disappoints me.