The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How can I make my bread 'lighter'?

cuboidjpn's picture

How can I make my bread 'lighter'?

Hi everyone.

This is my first post - I've spent a lot of time reading and learning from everyone's great posts. There's one thing I can't seem to get right and was wondering if anyone could help.

My bread, although I feel it's not bad for a beginner, still seems a bit heavy. I can't exactly describe it but it seems to me still a little bit doughy and dense. My guess, given that it's dense (in the scientific sense), is that it contains a lot of water - to support this, when I toast it, it becomes much better presumably because a lot of the moisture evaporates.

If this is true, how can I make my bread drier or feel drier, without reducing the hydration? Is this even possible? I have eaten some great bread where the holes are large as if the hydration quite high, yet feels very dry - I'd like to achieve this effect. I've outlined my steps below for info and a couple of my breads (one walnut sourdough, one white sourdough) - any help would be greatly appreciated.

[I ripen my starter, make my 75% dough, autolyse, and then stretch and fold (almost no kneading) intermittently for a few hours and then prove in the fridge. I take it out, shape etc and second prove. I bake it in a dutch oven - lid on for 25 mins and then lid half off for 15 mins or so.]

MichaelLily's picture

Your bread looks awesome.  However, if it doesn't taste as good as it looks, it may have to do with underproofing.  I've found that about 3.5 hrs of stretch and fold at 82-86F is sufficient to complete bulk fermentation (at 85% hydration).  I keep my dough in the fridge for over 20 hrs.  Soft as a pillow. 

MisterTT's picture

to bake it more, but might this not be the case of getting used to proper bread? It is not going to be as light as wonderbread no matter what you might do to it and for the record I think it looks great!

cuboidjpn's picture

Thanks for your comments. Just thought I'd mention that actually, the bread tastes great - I'm just eager to make it better and learn more.


MichaelLi, I have a tendency to overprove the second prove so I try to get it in the oven early but I assume you're talking about the first right? I didn't think of that but it makes sense - presumably then I'll get a larger, and therefore less dense, bread? I usually put mine in the fridge and take it out after 24 hours but maybe my fridge is a little cold.




pmccool's picture

reversing the timing in the bake. Try 15 minutes covered and 25 minutes uncovered next time around.  That will dry the bread more.  If that turns out to be too dry for your liking, try something between those two points until you arrive at something that fits your preference.

Another tactic is to turn off the oven at the end of the bake and prop the door open slightly, leaving the bread in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.

Your bread looks fabulous to me.


Leandro Di Lorenzo's picture
Leandro Di Lorenzo

I used to have the same problem...

Try to . after steaming n all.... when the bread is not "oven springing" anymore, to remove the vapor (steam) from inside the oven, let it bake the last 2/3 on a dry oven.... That will make ur bread dryer n crispy n the crust crackling....U can crack the oven door a bit open, so the steam can come out!!!

A professional is easy, They come with vents. just have to be opened...

I use my vacuum to suck out the vapor... n this improved my bread a lot!!!

P.S. Ur bread look awesome!!!!

Leandro Di Lorenzo's picture
Leandro Di Lorenzo

Dunno what happen but my text didn't show up lol... sorry

Try to bake the last 2/3 on a dry oven... meaning release the vapor, steam, from inside the baking chamber, u can crack the oven door a bit open.. so the humidity can come out...

It improved a lot my results... The same used to happen with me.. my bread was heavy... the looks n color were ok... but no crispy at all... the crust use to get soggy, cos of the water migration of the excess of water from the crumb..

they do the same with professional ovens.. they open the vent..

Hope it will help

BTW... Ur bread look awesome


Leandro Di Lorenzo 

cuboidjpn's picture

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll try taking the lid off early and see how that goes!

PetraR's picture

I do S&F for 3 hours every 30 Minutes and then put the Dough in the fridge for 12 hours, sometimes longer. 

I let it warm up before shaping and only proof the dough for about 2 hours after shaping before I bake it in the Dutch Oven.

I have the Lid on for 30 Minutes at highest temperature, than lower to 200C , lid off for further 20 Minutes.

I let it cool for 2 hours minimum before I cut . I used to cut it sooner and than my crumb was heavier and felt dense.

Once it is out of the Oven it still will bake and settle.

Bob Marley's picture
Bob Marley

I aint read all the stuff but your stuff looks great  GREAT.