Pillowy soft bread? There’s nothing like it. But if you keep baking bread, only to find that it turns out hard and unpalatable, you might wonder if you’re doing something wrong. Well, I have good news for you – making super soft bread is a cinch with a few simple tips and tricks!
Hello! My name’s Michelle, and well, I love bread of all kinds. While you can find me whipping up a batch of delicious sourdough for toast and grilled cheeses, I always need a soft loaf on-hand for the immense amount of sandwiches I make (I’m looking at you, turkey bacon sandwich!).
Making bread soft is easy. You should know what makes bread soft. The best thing to do is replace the water in your recipe with whole milk or increase the water content.
Are you ready for the softest bread of your life?
- 7 Ways to Make Bread Softer
- Making Soft Bread is Easy With a Few Hacks!
7 Ways to Make Bread Softer
While Artisan bread with a crunchy crust is definitely needed in specific applications, sometimes you just want to go back to the basics and relive your childhood with a pillowy piece of bread. Here’s how to do it.
1. Replace water with milk
While we can’t live without water, our loaves of bread certainly can. If you want to make your loaf instantly softer, the best thing to do is to replace the water content with milk.
Does this make you nervous? I totally understand. Swapping ingredients can sometimes make me anxious. If it makes you feel better, you can start by replacing half of the amount of water with milk. It will be softer and give you a boost of confidence to go full milk next time!
2. Increase the water content
If you have a milk allergy (or don’t like milk) and find yourself using milk substitutes in baking regularly, you can nix the idea of replacing the water with milk. Instead, try increasing the water content in your recipe.
Start by adding ¼ cup of water to your dough. If it’s not overly wet and you’re still able to knead it easily and efficiently, you’re good to go. If you think your dough could use a bit more, test an additional ¼ cup in the dough and go from there.
Be careful not to overdo it, though. While more water will enhance overall moisture for a softer result, too much water will weaken the gluten structure and cause a dense loaf.
3. Add eggs
Did you know that eggs are one of many liquid ingredients in baking? They’re full of fat and protein, which not only help your bread to rise beautifully but also impart a richer flavor. It’s a win-win situation.
If you’re OK with eating eggs (no allergies or dispositions), go ahead and add one to your next loaf. Just make sure to reduce the water content by a teaspoon. Otherwise, it may get too wet and become dense.
4. Add fat
Adding fat is a premier idea to make your bread softer. It works by lubricating and tenderizing the gluten, ensuring it stays nice and soft – before, during, and after the baking process.
Any type of fat will do, including oil and butter. Just be careful that the flavor won’t grapple with your other ingredients. For instance, olive oil might not taste great on sweeter bread.
Regardless of the fat you decide to use, it’s important not to go overboard. Only substitute your preferred fat for 5% of the water’s weight in your recipe.
5. Add sugar (liquid recommended)
Sugar is a wonderful ingredient to add to your bread. Not only will it add a pinch of sweetness, but it will also tenderize and moisten the bread while reducing water activity. The result? Scrumptious, super soft bread you might mistake for your pillow.
Any sugar will work well in your dough. However, inverted liquid sugars – such as glucose – are highly recommended. They won’t crystallize like regular sugars, so your dough remains soft and flexible.
6. Cut down on the mixing and development
Quick bread doesn’t need to undergo the same process as other types of bread. So, if you’re on a mission to make your quick bread softer than ever before, opt for a speedy kneading period followed by a shorter rise. In fact, you can nix the rise altogether (if desired).
7. Lower the baking time
If you want perfectly soft loaves of bread, consider reducing the baking time by a few minutes. Don’t touch the temperature – it remains the same. However, move the rack to the top shelf and place your bread here. That way, it cooks quickly and thoroughly without taking too long.
See? Making your bread soft isn’t too challenging. If you want to keep learning about this topic, here are some frequently asked questions!
How do you make bread soft again in the microwave?
If you’ve already baked your bread and it’s become unpleasantly hard, don’t throw it out just yet! As long as your bread isn’t showing any signs of going bad, such as mold, you can simply wrap a slice of hard bread with a damp paper towel and warm it in the microwave for ten seconds.
What is the best flour for soft bread?
While bread flour seems like the obvious choice for baking bread, it’s not recommended for all types of bread. Bread flour is excellent for Artisan bread types. If you want something pillowy soft, it’s best to stick with the good old-fashioned all-purpose flour (unbleached).
How do you make bread soft again?
While you can use the microwave method I mentioned above, another great way is to use your oven. Turn the oven on to 300F. Spray your loaf with a bit of water (optional). Wrap it tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about 25 minutes. Viola! Soft bread once more.
Why is my homemade bread hard?
A couple of things could have gone haywire. For instance, you may have used too much flour (always sift and weigh your ingredients!) or didn’t knead or proof your dough long enough. You may have also used the wrong type of flour or overcooked your loaf.
Making Soft Bread is Easy With a Few Hacks!
Your days of hard bread loaves are over. By following one (or all) of my top-notch tips and tricks for soft bread, you’ll wow your family and friends with superbly soft bread that can stand up to the most well-known bakeries in the area.
Do you struggle with hard loaves of bread? What did you do to fix it?About Michelle