Francala, the most popular bread in Turkey, is produced by a straight dough process from a lean formula. To determine the effects on bread properties, water absorptions were varied from 58 to 64%, ascorbic acid levels from 0 to 100 ppm, and fermentation times from 0 to 90 min. Openness and unevenness of grain, as well as slice contour as an indication of break and shred, were evaluated by six semi-trained panelists using reference samples for each attribute. Changing absorption from 58 to 60% increased bread specific volume. A further increase in absorption did not significantly affect specific volume (P < 0.05). An undesirable effect on crumb grain structure was pronounced at 64% absorption. Crumb grain opened, yielding an uneven structure. Adding ascorbic acid up to 40 ppm as an oxidant increased specific volume, but more than 40 ppm decreased bread volume. Openness and unevenness of crumb grain increased with the addition of 60 ppm ascorbic acid. Higher levels tightened the structure, preventing more open crumb grain and break formation. Fermentation time showed the most pronounced effect on bread properties. The changes in viscoelastic properties of dough during fermentation were investigated using a modified extensigraph procedure.