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Is there a generally accepted method for lightening bread dough that is pretty general for a variety of breads; pizza crust, whole grain bread, dessert breads, etc.

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I'm sorry to sound thick, but what do you mean by 'lightening bread'? Do you mean a fast acting yeast dough? Also, there is no 'catch all' dough to make pizza crust and dessert breads. These types of bread doughs require differing amounts of fat, sugar, milk, the addition of egg, etc. Pizza crust is a lean dough, dessert breads are sweet dough. – mrwienerdog Mar 17 '11 at 14:18
Could you define 'lighten' ? Do you mean lower calorie, paler color, a more tender crumb, a more delicate texture, or less weight per given volume? – Joe Mar 17 '11 at 14:18
I mean make it less heavy. I know all of the doughs are different, but didn't know if there was a general baking tip to make them all come out lighter. Sometimes my pizza crust comes out really dense/heavy, and I'd like it to be lighter/fluffier. – Canuteson Mar 17 '11 at 14:22
Add more water to your pizza crust. Make it softer in the bowl. It will come out lighter. – mrwienerdog Mar 17 '11 at 14:24
1 This might be helpful – nixy Mar 17 '11 at 14:36
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Heaviness is caused by fiber and lack of water. A dry wheat dough will make a very heavy bread.

On the other hand a very wet dough that has a lot of protein will be lighter. The steam when baking will inflate the protein structure. The extreme example would be angel food cake which is light enough to not really be bread anymore.

Obviously you don't want it to be too light because then you get wonder bread. A lot of the things that make bread taste good also make it heavier.

The variables you can play with are:

  • Water- the wetter the lighter (as long as it isn't so wet to no longer have structure)
  • Protein- High protein flour or adding gluten will help.
  • Fiber- lower fiber flour will be lighter. (but also less tasty)
  • Additives- Chunky additions, such as whole grains, can damage the protein structure if overdone.
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Also, once it has gone through an initial rise and you are shaping it for proofing, handle very lightly and avoid degassing as much as possible. – justkt Mar 17 '11 at 16:32
@justkt so I'm guessing tossing a pizza crust is much better than beating it down on a flat surface? It's unfortunate because I really suck at tossing pizza dough. – Canuteson Mar 17 '11 at 17:05
@Canuteson - the water is key for pizza. For breads the degassing as little as possible is a lot more feasible, but for sandwich breads which you don't want big holes in it's not ideal. It works best for rustic breads. – justkt Mar 17 '11 at 17:13

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