Hey guys i made some french bread yesterday and it turned out a little too dense and hard. How can i make it more light and fluffy like the shit you get from jewel.Please give me tips or a better recipe. Here is the recipe i used
Cover the whole thing in an aluminum foil tent, you can reuse the foil many times. Also try putting ice cubes in a pan on the bottom rack directly underneath the bread-pan, so the foil tent will catch the steam and help the bread rise.
You could also try putting the dough in before the oven is done preheating, with the foil on, ice cubes, and all that.
Basically what is happening with your bread is a hard crust is forming and preventing the bread from rising in the oven.
Most home bakers do two things wrong. They don't knead enough, and they make the dough too dry.
The wetter the dough, the bigger the crumb. Because of elasticity - the dough needs to be loose enough to expand under the tiny pressure of the CO2 being made by the yeast.
If you have that grainy, biscuity crumb density typical of home breads, knead more. A hand mixer helps, so does a good ole baking mixer. I let mine run on low for at least an hour.
I know - wetter doughs stick. Add a little olive oil. Like about a teaspoon per cup of flour. Then just deal with it.
Bakers talk in terms of "percentage hydration" - 60% will give you that big open crumb like you find in ciabatta.