How to make a porous and light bread ?



Whenever trying a french type of bread which has very porous texture and light, I end up with a bread which has very dense and heavy crumb.  All tips that I know about this type of bread are less kneading and more water ( higher than 70% of hydration ) .  What else  do I need to make a better bread ?  Does the type of flour affect the result ?   Does the flour that has less protein work better ? 


Your advice would be very appreciated.



329 users have voted.


eyendall 2011 February 11

 I am no expert, just an ethusiastic amateur, perhaps a step or two ahead of you on the same quest. What works for me is a lighter flour-I blend unbleached white flour 50:50 with Canadian all purpose flour which I believe has a higher protein content than American AP flour. French flour is much softer than North American flours which accounts in large measure for the difficulty in emulating their results. I do hydration of 66% (not counting hydration of my sourdough starter which varies from 50-70%). I bake at a very high temp 500F for 30 mins which gives a dark crust, spraying water a couple of times during the first 10 minutes. I use the 1:2:3 formula obtained from a french language bread-making blog, that is 1 part sourdough starter; 2 parts water; 3 parts flour. Works for me as my waistline attests.


Muff 2011 February 11

I think we've all been bedeviled by this.

Without seeing your bread or knowing just what your flour is like and all those tricky "personal" environmental things it's hard to make good suggestions. But my first thought is that your dough could use more time. So make sure that your ferment (starter) is not just active but at its peak; that the room is not too cold, and that each period between folds is enough to allow the dough to regain activity and to start to relax.

The protein question is different and complicated and I don't have a full grasp of it myself. For now, it's more important to get to know one flour, because any flour that can be made into decent bread can be made into good sourdough. Yes, higher protein flours can simplify things, but it's also true that lower protein levels push you to the kind of practice that is necessary to use all the protein available, and those same practices -slow fermentation, frequent, well-spaced folds, low temperatures- encourage the texture you're looking for.

I hope that's helpful.



Jerry Gene Calvin 2021 September 20

how about adding a tablespoon of lemon juice or  other professional additives?

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