The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How can I make my bread 'fluffy'?

ashtonb95's picture

How can I make my bread 'fluffy'?

Hullo. Introductions first, I guess. 
New to this bread stuff- college student at home and it's a good way to waste time. I made some bread with tips from this site and now I can't stop. It's addictive.  
Anyways. So I've made about bread about five or six different times now, and no matter what I do, I end up thinking, 'This bread is really dense compared to store-bought bread'. I hate to admit that I like my grocery store's day-old whatever-the-fuck-loaf better than this thing I've lovingly spent a couple days on. 
Are there any common reasons why bread might be thick? 

barryvabeach's picture

It is hard to know without knowing what your recipe is.  Generally, the bread will be at its best if it is put in the oven when it is about 80 to 90 % proofed.  If it is under proofed or underproofed, it can be dense -  in the former it is because the dough has not risen enough, in the later it is because the dough has risen and started to fall as it baked.  Unfortunately, there is no single guide to when to start baking, though since you have time on your hands, try making up your dough, and dividing it into several loaves, and put them in the oven every 20 minutes apart to see whether you are under proofing or over proofing.  You can also experiment with the amount of water, referred to as hydration.  As hydration increases, the dough gets lighter, until you add too much water, then the dough collapses while baking. To do these experiments, you would need to make several different batches of dough with different hydration.

DavidEF's picture

You can find lots of help using the search pane at the top right of the page. Here's a good place to start, though.

In this blog post, txfarmer tells you a lot of good information about how to get the soft bread and why it works that way. She does an excellent write-up with lots of beautiful pictures. She also has another post on the same topic, sort of a companion post to this one, with a lot more great pics and info.

Others have used other techniques to get similar results, and there are lots of great posts with excellent comments and discussion. You don't have to eat dense bread. TFL is here to help!'s picture

To add to David & Barry's good thoughts...

Txfarmer's method does reportedly produce "shreddable" crumbs in high-wholegrain formulae.  But if I recall, it comes, as do many such processes, at the cost of running a mixer for .5-1 hours.  If you don't routinely use a mixer or justifiably fear such abuse might shorten yours' life expectancy, then another technique to explore is Tang Zhong.  Do a search on it here.  Very simple and surprisingly, if mysteriously, effective at lightening whole wheat crumbs.  That and Raisin Yeast Water (search on that too) have made a world of difference in our weekly 100% WW sandwich loaves.  My wife swore she actually preferred dense 100%WW bread until I snuck in those changes.  Now she's seen the light(ness).

Happy Baking,


dabrownman's picture

fat dry milk powder and a pinch of sugar added to Toady Tom's YW and Tang Zhong tips above is as close as I have come to Wonder Bread - but doing 15 minutes in the mixer with some slap and folds will only help:-)

You cqan also search Japanese White Sandwich Bread.

Happy Baking