A new method for measuring dough densities is presented, based on weighing small dough samples in air and immersed in xylene. The method can be used to evaluate the air content of low-density doughs and to follow the changing density of a proofing dough sample. The method is applied to evaluate the effect of flour strength and surfactant addition on dough aeration and subsequent proofing. Doughs were mixed in a high-speed mixer from two flours, a strong breadmaking flour and a weak flour. Surfactants sodium stearoyl lactylate (SSL) and diacetyl tartrate esters of monoglyceride (DATEM) were added at three levels, and the air content, proofing dynamics, and baked loaf quality were evaluated. The air content of dough was proportional to headspace pressure in the mixer, while the strong flour occluded less air than the weak flour. Surfactants greatly improved the volume of baked loaves but appeared to have no significant effect on air incorporation during mixing. The addition of surfactants appeared to increase the rate of growth of the dough piece during proofing, possibly due to increased bubble breakup during mixing or to increased rates of mass transfer of CO2 into bubbles during proofing.