How To Make Bread Fluffy At Home [An Easy Guide]

How can you make homemade bread fluffy? This question pops when you remember that your homemade bread is never as fluffy as the one you get from the store.

It could be quite disappointing because you have put in a lot of elbow grease at different times, but nothing is different. Maybe the bakeries in stores have a special ingredient they add to the bread dough. Yet, yours does come out as dense as a brick.

Could your recipe be missing something, or you did not give the dough enough time to rise? In this article, you’ll find answers to your question about why your bread isn’t fluffy and how you can make it fluffy.

SEE: How Much Is A Loaf Of Bread?

Why is your bread dense and not fluffy?

Bread turns out dense and not fluffy because of any one or more of these reasons:

1. The flour

Flour is a major ingredient in bread, and the type of flour and how much flour you use determines if your bread will come out fluffy. Low protein flour will give you dense, hard bread.

Flour for baking bread should contain 10-13% protein, which is sufficient to make an elastic dough. Furthermore, too much flour will make the dough hard, dense, and crumbly instead of soft, slightly sticky, and stretchy.

2. The dough was dry

While you want to end up with a sticky dough, a dry dough isn’t going to work either. Insufficient moisture will not make the yeast work. The dough will not rise, and you’ll have dense bread at the end.

3. How you knead

Kneading is a very important part of bread making. How well you knead determines how well the bread comes out. If you don’t knead enough, your bread will not be fluffy. If you also knead too much, your bread will be dense. So you have to get a balance.

4. The temperature in the kitchen

Your kitchen needs to have the right temperature for yeast activation and rising. It shouldn’t be too warm or too cold.

If your dough does not rise, it won’t be fluffy. This is because temperature influences yeast fermentation and, inadvertently, the rising and texture of the bread.

5. Measurements of your ingredients

Do not make assumptions about ingredients when baking bread. Get the right conversions, use the right measuring tools, and follow a recipe’s measurements if possible. Otherwise, a wrong ratio will leave you with a loaf of hard, dense bread.

Pro tip: use scales instead of cups to measure ingredients.

6. Rising or proving time

If the dough rises too much or does not rise well, your bread will be dense and hard. The dough has proved well if it doubles or triples its size.

Also, try poking the dough. If it goes back to its normal shape quickly, it needs more time to prove. If it returns slowly, it is well-proofed. When the dough never returns to its former shape, you have over-proofed it.

7. Yeast inactivation

Your bread could be dense and not fluffy because the yeast did not ferment completely. Mix the yeast with warm water, not hot or cold water. Also, if the yeast has expired, it will not get active, and you’ll not have fluffy bread.

One more thing, do not allow the salt in your recipe to come in contact with the yeast. Salt kills yeast.

SEE: How Much Yeast Is in a Packet?

8. The shape of the dough

As inconsequential as this sounds, how you mold the dough affects how well it holds gas while baking. Create enough surface tension by tucking the dough into the center. This will make the bread rise and become very fluffy.

9. Too many cuts on the bread

Making small cuts on the dough before baking looks decorative, but it is an essential part of the baking process. The cuts on the bread allow it to breathe while baking instead of trapping so much gas and exploding eventually.

However, if you make too many or too deep cuts, all the gasses that contribute to the fluffiness of bread will escape. Consequently, the bread will be hard.

10. You cut or cover the bread immediately after baking

While this doesn’t seem like a very necessary step, you must allow your bread to cool fully before you cut it. If you cover it before it cools, the moisture that should leave the bread is trapped in it and makes it hard and dense.

11. You did not bake the bread well

Well-baked bread should have an internal temperature of 190-210°F. Your bread could be dense and hard because it’s underbaked. When the bread is well-baked it should make a hollow echo when you tap the bottom of the bread.

SEE: Is It Safe To Eat Expired Bread?

Ingredients that make bread fluffy

1. Fat

Fat is necessary to create moist, soft, and fluffy bread. You can use oil or butter as fat in your dough, but you should not add it with gluten. Otherwise, it’ll interrupt gluten development.

2. Milk

Milk is one of the liquid ingredients you should add to your dough if you want a fluffier, softer, and less dense dough. The quantity of milk you add depends on how fluffy you want the bread to be. You may replace all the water with milk if you like.

3. Yeast

Yeast is one of the ingredients that make bread fluffy. When yeast becomes active, it releases has that creates air pockets in the bread. However, yeast needs warm water and sugar or gluten to grow.

As the yeast grows, it creates more gas and makes the bread fluffier.

4. Gluten

Gluten enhances the elasticity of baked goods and helps to keep gas in. And you don’t need a lot of wheat gluten to make your bread light and fluffy. However, this is only for people without gluten sensitivity.

SEE: Is Pita Bread Gluten-Free?

5. Dough enhancers

Dough enhancers like lecithin, ascorbic acid, and vinegar encourage yeast growth and make bread fluffy.

Lecithin is an emulsifier that helps the ingredients to mix properly and retain moisture in the dough. Ascorbic acid and vinegar act as preservatives and help to hold the dough together.

6. Eggs

Eggs contribute greatly to how well your dough rises and proves. The more eggs you add, the softer and fluffier your bread will be. Remember that egg yolk is fatty; expect a smooth texture when you add eggs to your dough.

7. Tangzhong

Tangzhong is an Asian water-based roux that helps to create softer, lighter, and fluffier bread. It’s a thick paste made by heating water and flour. Add tangzhong to the dough while kneading. It helps to retain moisture and keep the bread soft.

8. Mashed potatoes

Adding mashed potatoes to your dough won’t make any difference. Flour is starchy, and so are potatoes. Make sure you peel off the skin before mashing the boiled potatoes and adding them to your dough.

SEE: Get a Delicious Burger For Free at Whataburger

Steps to make fluffy bread

This recipe will make four large loaves of bread.

Ingredients

  • 720g all-purpose flour
  • 350 ml whole warm milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 50g sugar
  • 4 teaspoons of salt
  • 4 tablespoon instant dry yeast
  • 60g  butter
  • You can make tangzhong with 10-12 cups of flour and 2 cups of milk. This will help to moisten the dough

Instructions

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the milk, warm tangzhong, yeast, sugar, eggs, butter, and salt
  • Begin to mix on low speed
  • Then, add one-half of the flour and increase the speed to medium
  • Mix for about 12 minutes and watch the dough become smooth and sticky
  • While it’s mixing, use the flat edge of a knife to scrape the sides of the bowl
  • Add more flour until you have a tacky, smooth dough
  • Grease a bowl with oil and turn the dough into the bowl
  • Make the dough into a bowl and cover it with a plastic wrap
  • Afterward, transfer the bowl of dough to a warm place for it to rise and proof. This should take 45-60 minutes
  • When it is well-proofed and has doubled its size, you can begin to grease the loaf pans
  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface and shape it as you like
  • Place the rolled-out doughs in the loaf pans and leave them to rise one more time (for 20-25 minutes)
  • While you’re waiting for the dough to rise, preheat the oven to 350°F
  • Thereafter, bake the loaves until they are golden brown
  • When you’re sure the bread is well-baked, bring them out of the oven, and allow them to cool in the pan for two minutes
  • Afterward, transfer them to a cooling rack to finish cooling

FAQs

Can you make bread fluffy without yeast?

Yes, you can. Use a mixture of baking soda and lemon juice or vinegar in place of yeast to make your yeast-free bread fluffy. Baking powder can also help make yeast-free bread fluffy.

Can you make bread fluffy without gluten?

Yes, it is possible to make fluffy bread without adding gluten. Gluten-free bread is made from gluten-free flour, but you need to add other ingredients to make it soft. Gluten-free bread needs more liquid (about the same ratio as the dry ingredients) to be fluffy.

Additionally, go for high protein gluten-free flours, more eggs, apple cider vinegar, ascorbic acid, yeast, pectin, and mayonnaise.

Is it possible to over-knead bread dough?

Yes, it is. When you have over-kneaded bread dough, it won’t stretch easily. It’ll also feel dry and dense. If you bake with over-kneaded dough, the bread will come out hard and dense. In addition, do not expect over-kneaded bread dough to rise.

How long does it take for dough to rise?

Bread dough takes one to three hours to rise. How long or quickly it takes for your bread dough to rise depends on the ingredients in the dough, the moisture content of the dough, the temperature in the kitchen, and gluten development.

Conclusion

So your bread isn’t soft and fluffy because something went wrong with the dough. It’s either you didn’t put in enough when kneading, or you did, but didn’t allow it to rise fully. Either way, I believe your hopes have been revived with this article.

Use the right ingredients in the right amounts. If you’re increasing the amount of one ingredient, increase that of other ingredients that can also influence the texture of your bread. Most importantly, bake your bread with patience.

Thanks for reading.

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