The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I made Heavy bread, but wanted light and fluffy like the Store

ChefShelly's picture

I made Heavy bread, but wanted light and fluffy like the Store

I made bread 2 times this week. I am talking simple white bread. But, I just can't figure out what I did wrong. The bread smelled good, even looked like a pretty loaf, but when a slice was cut it was like a bisquit instead of a bread. I wanted a NICE FLUFFY WHITE loaf, like the kind you buy in the store for sandwiches. My goodness, it was so embarrising. PLEASE, apparently the bread recipe I had wasn't working, so I picked that recipe in the trash ....along with Heavy Bread. Recipes are welcome!! and thank you

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and the fluff is so important, why don't you just buy store bread white with all the chemicals and additives?

Have you tried plugging in "light and fluffy"  into the site search box?  I know that there are good techniques and recipes there.  

Recipes are one thing, but how you develop the gluten in the wheat dough is very important as with having the right flour.  Technique is very important.  From the general description of your crumb, I would say you needed more gluten development.  As there is no recipe, details and method, I see this post more as a frustrated rant.  Please, Let's turn this around.  :)    Got a link to the recipe?  Got any details?    

If you mess around with just one recipe you can learn more about what influences the crumb.   If that doesn't interest you, then look for a recipe with as much detail as you can find.  Including exact handling methods with temperature and times listed for every little step.

Ambimom's picture

I suspect you measure your flour, not by weight on a scale, but by measuring cups.  Am I right?  I think the simple solution to your problem is to buy a scale with a tare mechanism.  They cost around $15.  A cup of flour weighs 5 ounces (425 grams).  If you're kneading by hand, 10 or 15 minutes should do it.  Breadmaking is a skill and like all skills it takes practice.  You'll soon get the loaves you want.  Just don't give up.  Every knead-er has a different technique, every kitchen is different, every oven is different.  

mrfrost's picture

...A cup of flour weighs 5 ounces (425 grams)....

Now, they are really confused. lol

ananda's picture

Hello ChefShelly,

Firstly, to clarify, 5oz is just short of 142g.   425g is 15oz.   I haven't got a clue about the weight of a cup of flour, and don't wish to speculate.

If it is out-and-out fluffy bread you want, then Mini's suggestion to buy it from the shop seems a reasonable approach to me.   Otherwise, you could invest in a breadmaking machine.

Otherwise, if you are prepared to put the time and effort in which Mini suggests, then here is a recipe which you can use to work on to achieve "high-crown" bread which is as light as you can reasonably expect to achieve as a homebaker, using common baking techniques.

Firstly, you need to look at making a pre-ferment the day before you bake.   This is then incorporated into your final dough.   The pre-ferment acts like a bread improver.   It kickstarts all the crucial enzymatic reactions, it introduces acid which strengthens the dough, and it really speeds along the final fermentation.   To make really light bread, your dough needs to be properly developed and strong, and your fermentation process in great working order.   To that end, use a good quality strong flour.   Make sure your yeast source is active.   I use fresh yeast.   If you can't get that, then add instant yeast at 1/3 the amount in my recipe, or Active Dried Yeast at 2/5.   Instant can be added direct, active dried is best dissolved in water first.

The sponge just needs the ingredients combining together by hand to form a stiff dough.   Use water at c.20*C.   Cover the pre-ferment and leave overnight.

For the final dough, you will achieve best results for the type of bread you describe by using a mixing machine with a hook attachment.   The dough should be well-developed, which would mean sufficient time mixing on slow speed to combine all the ingredients plus the sponge to form the dough.   Depending on your mixer, you can then expect to mix for 5-8 minutes on a medium speed to develop the gluten.   The dough should be silky smooth, and elastic when mixed, and the dough temperature should be 28*C.   I would use water at 20*C as a starting point and see where you end up when the dough is mixed.   In fairness to Ambimom, the advice to invest in digital scales and to weigh all your ingredients is sound.   I would also add a probe thermometer to your tool kit too.

Once the dough is mixed it needs bulk proof of around an hour, in a covered container, holding the dough at 28*C if you can.   After that, assess the strength and activity in the dough.   If it has about doubled, then gently knock the dough back, and assess the strength of the gluten structure as the dough should then tighten back up.   If the dough is ripened, then scale and divide it into the piece size required for your tins, and pre-shape as rounds.   Cover these and rest them for 15 minutes.   Prepare your tins.   Then shape your dough pieces carefully and put them into the tins.

The final proof should take 1-2 hours at c.28*C, and you will need to keep the dough pieces covered.   Pre-heat your oven to 250*C.   The next investment you may consider is a pizza stone to use as a base to bake on.   The oven should be properly pre-heated.   Using a source of steam when you bake is also a good tip, as that will give more volume to your finished loaf, making it lighter.   You can also spray the surface of the loaf with a plant mister to further delay crust formation.  Drop the heat in your oven to 235*C as you set the bread, and leave for 15 minutes.   Check the baking progress at that stage, drop the heat if needs be, and bake out your loaves properly.    They will need between 25 and 45 minutes, depending on size.   Lastly, buy an oven thermometer too, then you know what the real temperature is inside your oven....all over.

Happy Baking!


Here is the recipe:

White Sandwich Bread


Recipe [grams]

1. Pre-ferment [sponge]


Strong White Flour


Fresh Yeast








2. Final Dough


Sponge [from 1]


Strong White Flour






Fresh Yeast






Ambimom's picture

I'm sorry, I was looking at my flour gram weight for a single loaf of white bread and I ended up typing it as the cup gram weight....

The point is that weighing flour is much more conducive to fluffy than volume measurement.  


 296 grams water (or milk)

22 grams sugar (or honey)

5 grams salt

30 grams melted butter

7 grams (one envelope dry yeast)

444 grams AP flour

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.  (Whisk until blended)

Add wet ingredients.  Blend.

 Knead 10 or 15 minutes (in the bowl or on a counter)

Place kneaded dough in a bowl that has been oiled.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Let rest for 30 minutes.

Shape loaf and place in pan with seam side down.

Let rise for couple of hours.  (should double in size.)  Preheat oven 375 degrees.

 When dough has doubled.  Bake for 30 minutes on middle rack of oven.  Internal temperature of bread should read 200 degrees.

 This recipe works every single time!  Delicious, fluffy, white bread.   



ChefShelly's picture

Wow, I see now why details were so important to my "rant"...sorry about that. Well, long story short, I did NOTHING even close to what was said in the posts here. I did not weigh anything, I did not knead my dough...well, a minute maybe, and I didn't let my loaf rise...well, if ya count 20 minutes. SHUCKS...I feel, well, dumb!! I thought I would go to this site and get some help. But I see NOW that if I ever need help again, it would be helpfull to ALL OF YOU if I actually included DETAILS....sorry about that!!

Ok, I will post back for now on with Details..that is my promise to you :-)

For now...

I will go buy me a scale and get my "ducks in a row" before I attempt making bread again. I DO want really good results, so ...If thats true, the I better do my homework!

Thanks to everyone who wrote me...It was NOT a time waister for you, I promise what you wrote HELPED ME :-)

MangoChutney's picture

No wonder you got a biscuit instead of a loaf of bread.  Even a simple white bread recipe, not using any pre-ferments and made using cup measures, will require 5 - 10 minutes of kneading and a couple of hours total of rising (in two stages).

ChefShelly's picture

Ya...tells ya what I Know....anyway, thats why I am learn

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I can see that already!   Can't wait to see that first ducky loaf!   


Marty's picture

I'm going to suggest a recipe with good step by step instructions. See if your library has "The Bread Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum. There is a recipe called Basic Soft White Sandwich Loaf. I think it would be best for you to have this in front of you as you make the loaf. Also the begining of the book has tons of information about bread baking.

It's only one book of many, but it's the one that helped me the most. Good Luck. Marty

jaywillie's picture

I'm going to give you an alternative that just involves clicking:

King Arthur Flour is a trusted source. Their flours are favored by many TFLers, but are not necessary to make the breads. Any of the first few recipes on that page will give you a good start toward good bread.

ssorllih's picture

I have been making bread for my family for sixty years. I started before I started high school and learned from my mother. There are two basic kinds of bread: yeast bread which requires substantial time to allow the yeast to grow and quick breads which are leavened chemically. All of the variations in starters are basically variations in the ecology of the bread dough.  You must have the proper conditions for growth and you must allow enough time for the growth. You can't set out tomato plants today and expect to harvest red tomatoes tomorrow. Just as you can't mix flour, water, salt and yeast and expect it to become bread if you don't cultivate it a little. 

ChefShelly's picture

To: Mini Oven, Ambimom, mrfrost, ananda, Ambimom, MangoChutney, ssorllih ...

First I want to THANK YOU for taking the time to help me, I mean REALLY Help Me!! Thank You.

2nd of all i mentioned how I got rid of the original recipe I used and put it into the trash. Well, I was asked above what I did to make such horrible bread, so...I dug out the had a few coffee grounds on it, and I decided to POST to you exactly what I did. First let me JUMP to the end of the story and let you know that going on the some of the advice here, I re did the bread and it turned into the BEST LOAF of Bread I had ever attempted in my whole life!! But Saying that, I know it would still pale in the loaves that most of you PROS do. But for it really worked. ...first, I will post the recipe...and THEN I will post WHAT I DID DIFFERNT!!! make it actually work! NOTE: The First couple of times I baked this bread up I did NOT follow the directions in the recipe. I followed the amounts and temp of oven, but I did no kneading, and only 20 minutes of rising....I think. Anyway, LESSON LEARNED LOUD AND CLEAR!!! Ok...Here I go:

From a Taste Of Home ...Home baker...Submission recipe
Country White Bread

2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon of salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 1/2 to 7 cups all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add sugar, salt, eggs, oil and 3 cups of flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured board;knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Divide in half and shape into loaves. Place in two greased 9-in.x5-in.x3-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to coll on wire racks. YIELD:2 LOAVES


For one, I did NOT have time to go and buy any of the fancy gadgets that I have heard talked about on this forum. A scale? Like you mean the kind I weigh my body on?? Any way, did not have that. BUT...I said to myself.."SELF" I can take at least SOME of the instruction here on the bread forum and apply it to bread making ...I figured at least applying SOME of the instruction has got to improve my bread..even if a litle bit.

So, I started Yesterday, and made one of those Starters..poolish? I used 1/4 teaspoon yeast with 1/2 cup AP flour and 1/2 cup warm water...I let it rest 3 hours. Ya ya..I know...not over night like alot of you have said. But I was STILL impatient...LOL..(I will work on the patients a poster said above, tomatoe plants take time to grow to get tomatoes..Thank You ssorllil for the advice, it was life changing!!) So, after I made that starter I made the bread as stated...EVEN KNEADING THE DOUGH...LOL...then I set it aside to proof till doubled, then kneaded it again. THEN...well it got, then I placed the bowl of dough, covered with saran wrap, into the fridge overnight. Well, this morning showed up and I wanted some bread. Not Sure where I read this on this site, but something about I needed to take the dough out of the fridge for like a half an hour before doing anything with it. So, I did just that. I placed the bowl on the counter to slowly come to room temp. about thirty minutes. Ok, then I Kneaded the dough again. and then I shaped my loaves, placed them into bread pans, then TURNED THE OVEN ON...YEA!!! I actually preheated the oven...something I am not sure I did when I made bread the last couple of times! And now I let the bread rise till Almost doubled..I guess I also read someplace that I needed to leave a litle bit of rising time in the hot oven. then, I placed my pans into the hot oven and quickly took a 14 cup of plain water and dumped it on the bottom of the oven...and it steamed up like crazy..Not exactly what I was tolled to to here, but I improvised. Then, in about 12 minutes I took the bread and gave it a turn to brown the same on both sides. Then I DUPPED into the oven another 1/4 cup of water. Then, when I took the bread ouT, i took some butter and smeared it over the top. Then I took the loaves out of the pan and let it rest to cool on a metal pan I had set aside. I waited...this was hard to do...until it was just about cooled. Then I sliced a slice of bread and I was on Cloud 9!! It was fluffy, tender, and tasty. WOW...maybe not how you all would of done this, but I tried...and TO worked!! So, will I continue to learn here? Yes!! cause I know from reading, practice makes perfict, and someday...someday I want a HUGE TOMATOE PLANT...HE HE

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


MangoChutney's picture

You are someone after my own heart, to experiment so freely.  *smile* 

You want to be careful with the water in the oven if your oven door is glass.  I've heard people talk about spilling cold water on the glass in their oven door and having to buy a new door.

A kitchen scale is like the one you use to weigh yourself, but much smaller.  It only weighs up to a few pounds, at most.  If you like the results you are getting with measuring cups, don't let anyone intimidate you into thinking that you need to buy a scale.  However, it is easier to get help here with problems if you weigh out the flour, and the fancier recipes will usually be expressed in weights instead of volumes.

ssorllih's picture

The great advantage of a scale is that it allows you to accuractely repeat a recipe or  to scale one larger or smaller. I made several hundred batches of bread before I learned about "bakers per centages and weighing the ingredients. Now I can make a batch of bread with a half pound of flour come out just like a recipe made with five pounds.  When I want three loaves for me and two loaves to give I can scale the recipe to meet the need.

ChefShelly's picture

This was fun!!!

I enjoyed doing this, and its the start of something NEW for me. I have been on this site for like...over a year, but never really had the time to read the posts. Been busy busy. But Now, baking has given me and outlit to relax. And the rewards are wonderfull!! Ok all, thanks again. I look forward to making something NEW soon. I might peek around the corner on this forum and try to attempt something else. I will Listen up, and do my homework :-)

gary.turner's picture
nicodvb's picture

relies on a massive poolish to give softness.  It's also without fats.