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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Breads & Baking / Making bread more "airy" and light?
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    Making bread more "airy" and light?

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    Red Apple Guy
    Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:45 am
    Forum Host
    The "rules of thumb" are general formulas that only make sense when ingredients are weighed. Most bakers in the US don't worry about these formulas and just follow recipes. Below are my guidelines for bread machine recipes - your mileage may vary.

    I think the weight of liquids will range from 55% to 75% of the wieght of the flour.

    The weight of yeast is usually 1.5% to 2% of the weight of the flour. If not using a bread machine, lower percentages work as long as long fermentation times are used.

    Salt is usually 1.5% to 2% of the flour by weight.

    If a recipe calls for 3 1/2 cups of flour, the flour will likely weigh between 16 and 17 oz. If that recipe also calls for 1 1/4 cup water (10 oz), then the liquid is between 59% and 63% of the flour weight, a normal range.

    Again, most folks don't mess with these formulas.

    Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:54 pm
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    Awesome!!!! Thank you so much; I'll sure use these as benchmarks when I try new recipes!

    By the way, do you actually have a counter scale? haha...that's fancy.. icon_biggrin.gif Or, how do you convert measurements to weights?
    Red Apple Guy
    Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:46 pm
    Forum Host
    Digital scales are inexpensive and accurate. I have two that were about $25 each.

    A cup of flour will vary from 4.5 to 5.2 oz depending on how it's filled, but 4.5 oz is 4.5 oz and doesn't vary. Recipes become very repeatable if using the same flour.

    Recipes that are in weights are common now. The popular bread books now (Reinhart, Hamelman, Leader) give weights of ingredients and some give volumes too. The internet recipes often give ingredients in weights.

    But, to convert a recipe from volume to weight is easy. Use:
    1 cup flour = 4.5 oz or 127 g
    1 cup water or milk = 8 oz or 226 g
    1 teaspoon table salt = 0.2 oz or 6 g
    1 teaspoon yeast = 0.1 oz or 3 g

    Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:46 am
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    I'm new to this forum and also new to bread making. For the last few weeks I have been trying to make challah for our Friday night dinners. I don't have a bread maker but I do have a Kitchenaid mixer with a bread hook which I've been using to make the dough. I've used three different recipes so far and although there are slight variations in the taste of the bread the one constant is that the bread is very dense. I would like it to have a lighter consistency. I'd like to see some air holes in the bread.

    It's much tastier than the store bought challas but it's heavy as a rock. How do I lighten it up?
    Red Apple Guy
    Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:27 am
    Forum Host
    Welcome to the bread and baking forum.
    If you've tried multiple recipes and each bread is dense, it's likely a practice or ingredient issue.
    Some common problems are
    1. too much flour (either spoon flour into the cups and level with a knife, or use a kitchen scale and weigh ingredients).
    2. a yeast problem (from the wrong type of yeast to using water that's above 120F and killing the yeast)
    3, not fermenting properly
    4. handling too roughly (easy to do with braided loaves)

    do your breads rise well?
    How stiff is the dough? What is the liquid and egg amounts compared to flour amount?

    Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:18 pm
    Forum Host
    Red is right - technique is likely the issue. Too much flour is the most likely culprit. Be sure you spoon your flour into the measuring cup - don't shake to level it and use a straight edged knife to level off. If you dip the cup into the flour bin you can end up adding 25% more flour than you think you have.

    I now turn out onto an oiled rather than a floured surface for kneading and shaping - just to reduce the amount of flour that the dough absorbs.

    The dough should not be sticky but rather tacky - kind of like a yellow-post it note - a little sticky but not messy sticky.
    Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:40 am
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    I used the amount of yeast the recipe called for and I
    m easured the temp of the water to 110 degrees. I also found that the last recipe I used called for more flour than my mixer could handle so I used as much as it would take and left the rest. I'll guess and say it was about a cup or two left over for 2 large loaves.

    My guess is I handled it too roughly. I could easily have made 3 loaves and i struggled with braiding 2 large loaves. I could have been gentler rolling the pieces and braiding them.

    Question: How is being more gentle with the dough going to make it lighter?
    Red Apple Guy
    Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:37 am
    Forum Host
    Gentle handling preserves some of the CO2 bubbles that raise the dough.

    The gluten could be underdeveloped. Do you knead until a windowpane is achieved or do you do some stretching and folding?

    for the windowpane or membrane test.

    Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:14 pm
    Forum Host
    Also, look at the sourdough bread making tutorial, which is a sticky above, for the folding technique. The folding technique helps develop the gluten, and also introduces more air into the dough, which results in a lighter product.

    If your machine was straining, I suspect the dough was not kneaded enough. The windowpane test Red referred you to is a great measure - so long as you are not using whole grain flours or adding things like nuts and raisins to a dough.
    Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:37 pm
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    I was stretching and folding. I never heard of the windowpane till just now. It looks like a g idea. I will try it. What is that website? I'd like to learn more.
    Red Apple Guy
    Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:54 am
    Forum Host

    If I'm not quite there by kneading, I will add stretching and folding to help improve the gluten formation.

    Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:08 am
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    So basically, there's a "feel" to the dough that you have to attain
    Red Apple Guy
    Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:19 am
    Forum Host
    Well, I can feel the dough getting stronger, but I use the windowpane test to see how developed the dough's gluten is. If the windowpane is not quite reached, I knead some more or I begin some stretch and folds as fermenting proceeds.
    Red Apple Guy
    Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:05 am
    Forum Host
    The recipe looks ok to me too. Adding more yeast will make it rise faster but then it can fall as it will have overrisen. Measuring flour is the most important component - you need to spoon it into the measuring cup, rather than dip it into the flour bin. Dipping compresses the flour and you can end up with 25% more flour than you think you have. Also watch the temperature of the water. If in doubt, use slightly cooler water.
    Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:10 pm
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    Proper temp of water 110
    Right amt of yeast
    Spooning flour into cup
    Accurate amt of flour
    Strtching and folding
    Test with windowpane technique

    Have I got it?
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