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I want to make sweet bread. I found the most suitable recipe. But I want to make it so that after I put the dough in the oven, it will not change in shape and size, and that in the end the bread will have a crispy crust and will be soft and airy inside.

Is it possible to get this result?

I have a square glass mold 18x12 centimeters.

I'm not a professional cook, but it seems that to get a crispy crust and airy dough inside, you need to cook everything in the oven on low heat first, and then increase the heat in the last 10-15 minutes. Is this the case?

But how do you make sure the dough doesn't change its shape during baking (usually the dough sprouts)? Would a container of water under the mold help?

I also have an idea to cover the top of the mold with a lid. That way the dough would have nowhere to rise. But I don't know what exactly to cover it with yet, since the mold didn't come with a lid.

So in the end, I think I need something like Pullman loaf, but with a crispy crust and a more airy dough inside.

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    I suspect that you’re gonna to have difficulty. The ‘airy’ inside is because the dough rises as it cooks, which means it’s going to change shape. My understanding is that you don’t fill a Pullman pan to the top when baking, as it expands to fill the container. (And maybe you could unfold it part way through to get a crisper crust?)
    – Joe
    Commented Sep 2, 2023 at 13:17

2 Answers 2

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Your requirements are mutually exclusive. I don't know of any way to get the combination you are describing.

If you are really looking for "airy inside", then you need to get as much rising out of the bread as possible. The air isn't present in bread dough before baking, the airiness of bread happens by the yeast creating and inflating myriads of tiny "balloons" whose walls get set by the oven heat. Just the way you can't inflate a balloon without it getting bigger, you can't get airy bread without it getting bigger. There are breads which rise relatively little, but they also don't have an airy interior, e.g. pumpernickel.

If you would drop your "has to not rise" requirement, then the airiness is easy, it basically happens automatically with any proper recipe. The crisper crust is a bit more involved, but in a sweet bread, it's not that difficult, just look for recipes with enough milk and sugar in them. Also, you can look at older questions about crust around here. Beware that a mold and a crispy crust also don't go well together, a crispy crust needs free exposure to air.

The ultimate combination of very airy sweet bread dough on the inside and a very crispy crust on the outside is a donut - which means that you have to leave all molds and even your oven behind and start deep-frying perfectly expanded spheres.

If you instead insist on having the bread fit a mold perfectly - e.g. if you have a certain complicated shape and want to bake it in a silicone mold, - then such pastries are usually not made with bread dough. If you need something that's relatively close to two-dimensional (some relief is OK), then there are different doughs close to cookie dough which can make such stuff. Gingerbread is one option, but you can also look at other classic shaped pastries, maybe also look into recipes for easter lambs.

If it has to be thicker than 3-4 cm, then you'll probably need to make it a cake instead. There are cake doughs which perform relatively well when baked in a mold, I think that classic quark-oil dough is good for this kind of application. But also some well-structured batters take well to this kind of shaping, and are relatively airy after baking. You'll have to look around for such cakes, many will be labelled simply "cake" or "sponge" but in the end, some types of sponge hold up to such treatment and some don't, so try finding recipes which are meant for mold shaping.

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Bake in a larger pan (and a larger amount) than the result you want. Accept rising and changing shape, it doesn't matter because it's not the final shape.

Cut the shape you want from it.

Deep-fry that to crisp the exterior. Experiment with just deep frying and with battering and immediately frying to see which ges closer to your desired result, perhaps, but the batter will once again change shape; just not as much since its only a thin layer of batter.

The oil will need to be adequately hot so as to fry the crust on, not just soak in. Exact temperature will depend on the point at which the product browns excessively or burns, which will depend on the sugar levels.

The standard "cake approach" to "exact size" is to let it rise out of the top, and cut the risen part off level with the top of the pan after baking, then invert the cake so the cut side is down.

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