The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How do you get a feathery crumb in white bread?

clazar123's picture

How do you get a feathery crumb in white bread?

When I was a teen, I had a neighbor who would make a loaf of white bread that had a really feathery crumb.If you tore a piece of bread apart, the inside just pulled apart and waved in the breeze like cotton candy. It was wonderful. I know she used milk but that is all I know. It wasn't yellow so I don't think she had eggs.There were no big air holes-just nicely even distribution and great for sandwiches-not at all crumbly. Being a teen, I wasn't interested in how she made it and really regret that now, a "few" years later.

So, did she knead til the cows came home or is there some secret lost forever? We lived in the midwest of the US so i'm sure it was no special flour-that just didn't exist at our local stores at that time.


PaddyL's picture

Double Crusty

2 cups lukewarm water

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. active dry yeast (If using instant yeast, make it 2 tsps.)

1 tbsp. salt

1 egg

1 tsp. vinegar

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

6 cups, approx., flour

If using regular active dry yeast, put it into the water with the sugar in a large bowl, let it bubble up nicely, then add the rest of the ingredients.  If using instant yeast, mix it with about a cup of flour, then add it to the warm water in a large bowl, stir and add the rest of the ingredients, with enough flour so that it clears the sides of the bowl.  Tip it out onto a work surface, and knead it for 8 to 10 minutes.  Place in greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise till double.  Punch down, and let double again.  Punch down, divide in two, and place in two greased 8x4-1/2" bread pans.  Preheat oven to 350 deg.F.  Let bread rise till double, slash if you wish, brush with egg wash, or leave plain.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until done.  Cool on wire racks.

This makes a very light bread and perfect toast, and sounds as if it's what you may be looking for.

I have made this bread, sometimes a double batch, in the pan size I mentioned above, or in slightly larger tins.  It does have extraordinary oven spring and can positively balloon in the oven.  It usually tears along the side if put into a too-small pan, but whatever it looks like, it is delicious bread.



PLloydie's picture

Proteins (milk, eggs) Lipids (oils,fats) Soy flour, Potato flour will soften the crumb and crust.  Fresher faster rising doughs seem to result in more the sort of crumb you describe, however they will stale more quickly (eat quick!). Lipids and potato flour will help though. Try some different flours maybe.

PLloydie's picture


Pjacobs's picture

Dear Clazer,

You might want to try using all-purpose flour or a better for bread flour using a little high hydration level, say 60 percent. (multiply the weight of the flour by .60 and thats how much water you with need. the flour is alway 100 percent. Use a scale. Bake it for 30 minutes at 350. This is just a guess on the time, It may take 35 minutes. You'l just have to work that part out, but my guess is that she used all-purpose flour. I have moved on to high gluten flours made from red and white hard spring wheats from Montana and Alberta with oven temps of 450 to 500 for 30 minute but that is not what you are looking for. Good Luck!!

Phil Jacobs