As any home baker knows, few things are more frustrating than a loaf of bread that comes out heavy and dense. Fortunately, with a little knowledge and attention to detail, it’s possible to avoid this common problem of heavy and dense bread that taste and resemble flour bricks.
Here are some tips to help you bake light and fluffy bread that you’ll be proud to slice and serve:
- Use the right amount of yeast
Make sure you use the recommended amount of yeast in your recipe to ensure proper rising.
- Give the dough enough time to rise
Letting the dough rise for the appropriate amount of time is crucial to creating a light, fluffy loaf of bread.
- Don’t overwork the dough
Overworking the dough can cause it to become too dense. Be sure to knead the dough only as much as necessary and avoid excessive mixing.
- Use the right flour
Bread flour is best for making bread because it has a higher protein content, which helps create a more elastic dough that can rise properly.
- Don’t use too much flour
Using too much flour can also lead to heavy bread. Make sure to use only the amount of flour specified in the recipe and don’t add extra unless absolutely necessary. This is probably a newbie baker’s number one mistake. If you want to get consistent results, get a cheap scale, and weigh your ingredients. Just do it. You can always upgrade later.
- Use the right temperature water
Generally, water between 110-115°F (43-46°C) is recommended. You can use the touch test, similar to testing bath water. Warm-to-hot is good. Very hot-to-scalding is not good. You don’t need to splurge on a Thermopen, there are plenty of affordable thermometers to get the job done. I’ve had this one for over a year and had no complaints.
- Let the bread cool before slicing
Slicing the bread too soon can lead to a dense and gummy interior.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your bread turns out light and fluffy, rather than heavy and dense. Check out these other reasons your bread might have turned out like a brick to figure out where you might have gone wrong with the recipe. Happy baking!