The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

how to make bread super light and soft??

mcnum1357's picture

how to make bread super light and soft??

i recently making pain au lait by a recipe from the cookbook which i bought when i  was in culinary school, i ve never failed with the recipe in this book before,all the recipe have pretty clear instruction to follow, but ive failed 2 times with this recipe, which the bread should has a light,uniform crumb.
the recipe:
bread flour 300g
yeast,instant 3g
milk 150g
sugar 30g
salt 6g
eggs 30g
butter 45g
malt syrup 3g

mixing time:prefer intensive mix(5mins first speed, 8-15 second speed),but i am using hand,so i mixed it until it was smooth and elastic, around 15mins

first fermentation:27c for about 1.5 hr(1 fold when 30 mins left)
then i shape it into a ball and put in my round cake pan(6") then proof at 35c for 1.5 hrs until 2.5 larger in size
i bake at 180 for about 40mins
it comes out the crumb so dense, which should be a light and whiter crumb

another question is how to make some super light,soft bread, which i have had in japan, most of the bread is very light and very airy texture, they are very common in asia rather then crusty bread, my family prefer soft and light bread rather than crusty bread(in fact, only i like crusty bread in my family)so i really want to make some of these light,soft bread for my family.
sorry for my poor english

bottleny's picture

Keywords for a light &soft bread: "Hokkaido Milk", "Tangzhong"
Eg. Hokkaido Milk Bread with Tangzhong and many others' trials when you put the keywords in the upper right search box

Ford's picture

It seems to me that you are a little light on the liquid.  The picture makes me think you have not baked the loaf long enough, interior temperature should be about 195°F (90°C).  The super light soft bread probably is the result of using the Tangzhong or roux technique in which you mix some of the flour with the milk and heat while stirring until the flour gels about 190°F (88°C) and the mixture thickens. (Check out the search box in the upper right side of this page.)  I hope this helps.


hanseata's picture

Proofing your bread at 35 degrees C for 1 1/2 hours to grow 2 1/2 times its original size? To me that sounds like a balloon that deflates when you bake it.

With a soft dough like this I would maximally aim for a doubling in volume.


clazar123's picture

The Hokkaido Bread is an excellent recipe and if you search "txfarmer" you will find a LOT of information on how to make light, feather bread. She has excellent pictures, also.

The most important thing is to develop the dough (both starch and gluten) to a strong windowpane. Txfarmer talks extensively about that with great illustrations and also hints about how to achieve it -such as don't add the salt until the windowpane is achieved. Salt can inhibit the starch/gel formation.

Another suggestion I have is to NOT use bread flour. I have found that since learning to develop the starch and gluten present in adequate amounts in regular, good quality, unbleached AP flour (Gold Medal,Pillsbury,Dakota Maid, Ceresota,etc), I don't need to add any additional gluten. 

Bake delicious fun!

EDIT: I concur that it was probably proofed too long. Take a look at this:

Here's an explanation I gave someone else: it makes this a long post but it may be very helpful.

When you indent the dough about 1/2 inch with your finger you are feeling the quality of thenetting (gluten strands) that are holding the balloons of gas. The gluten has to be strong enough to hold the bubbles but relaxed enough to expand. It takes practice and familiarity with your dough. Not all doughs proof the same-either timewise or how they feel so keep poking the loaves.

For the most part the following is true: 

If you indent and it stays indented-the loaf is overproofed. It will deflate if you slash it, in the oven or even when cooling,depending on how over proofed it is. The gluten strands that are trapping the gas bubbles is so overstretched and weakened, it can't hold on anymore.When you press on them you actually break the strands holding the gas bubble. Think about holding a 25 lb weight out at arms length-pretty soon your muscles are shaking and "poof" they give out-esp if another ounce is added. If your yeast has enough oomph left, you may want to count this as an extra rise,re-shape and re-proof.

If you indent and it bounces back and fills in right away, the gluten strands are srtong and not very stretched-like a very tight ballon. You are just bouncing back. This is underproofed and you will end up with a dense crumb and possibly a brick. The gluten strands are so tight,yet, that the bubbles can't expand against them so no oven spring for you. Keep going no matter what the clock says or how long it has been taking. A little warmth may speed things up but change can come very quickly! Watch that dough!

If you indent and it fills in slowly, some of the gluten bands are giving way but most are holding and the gas re-expands. This is perfectly proofed. The gluten bands are strong enough to hold the gas but still allow some expansion.Should have oven spring and the best crumb for that dough.

If you are working with a dough that proofs quickly or the gluten is particularly delicate (some flours do this), then you may want to 3/4 proof the loaf and allow the oven spring to complete the expansion. This is harder to describe-kind of "it indents but fills in quicker than a fully proofed loaf".

Take practice!