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. The best thing to do is replace the water in your recipe with whole milk or increase the water content.
You can add eggs or a bit of oil and swap regular sugar for inverted liquid sugars, such as honey or glucose. Lastly, cut down the mixing, developing, and baking time.
Are you ready for the softest bread of your life?
- 7 Ways to Make Bread Soft
- 1. Replace water with milk
- 2. Increase the water content
- 3. Add eggs
- 4. Add fat
- 5. Add sugar (liquid recommended)
- 6. Cut down on the mixing and development
- 7. Lower the baking time
- How do you make bread soft again in the microwave?
- What is the best flour for soft bread?
- How do you make bread soft again?
- Why is my homemade bread hard?
- Making Soft Bread is Easy With a Few Hacks!
7 Ways to Make Bread Soft
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 for 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 with. 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?
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.
What is the secret to soft bread? ›
The first way to soften breads is to add fat somehow. Liquid fats are your best bet from sandwich breads or soft rolls. It could be as easy as replacing some if not all of the water in the recipe with whole milk. Be aware that this will also change how much the exterior will brown as well.What makes bread super soft and fluffy? ›
Carbon dioxide is responsible for all the bubbles that make holes in bread, making it lighter and fluffier. Because gas is created as a result of yeast growth, the more the yeast grows, the more gas in the dough and the more light and airy your bread loaf will be.What ingredients soften bread? ›
Making bread soft is easy. The best thing to do is replace the water in your recipe with whole milk or increase the water content. You can add eggs or a bit of oil and swap regular sugar for inverted liquid sugars, such as honey or glucose. Lastly, cut down the mixing, developing, and baking time.Does oil or butter make softer bread? ›
Baking with oil produces moist and tender baked goods.
Because oil is liquid at room temperature, it produces exceptionally moist baked goods. Butter, on the other hand, is solid at room temp, and therefore baked goods made with it are (arguably) a tad more dry.
There's something magical about the bread you get at your local bakeries - they're always sooo soft and fluffy. Many of these breads, especially packaged ones, are made with a ton of chemical additives such as calcium propionate, amylase, and chlorine dioxide which help keep them soft, light, and fluffy for days.Does baking soda make bread soft? ›
It helps to make these soft and spongy.How do you make bread lighter and fluffier? ›
If you want a lighter fluffier bread loaf just add 2 Tbsp of dry milk to the flour per loaf of your bread. Vinegar has a very similar effect to the dough as the ascorbic acid. It helps hold the dough together and strengthens the bubbles so they won't pop.What does adding an egg to bread dough do? ›
It makes the bread lighter and fluffier. The reason for that is the fat in the yolk that inhibits gluten formation just as any other fat would. This results in a looser dough that can expand and puff up more.Does milk make bread softer? ›
The fat and lactose in milk help with tenderizing the crumb of the bread making it softer and sweeter. The crust of the bread also gets more caramelization.How do you soften hard bread hacks? ›
- Moisten a section of paper towel long enough to completely cover your loaf of bread (or the portion that you intend to eat). ...
- Wrap your portion of bread in your damp paper towel snuggly.
- Place your covered loaf or slice into your microwave.
- Microwave for 10 seconds.
Does sugar soften bread? ›
How does sugar affect bread dough? Sugar acts as a liquefier. It absorbs water, weakens the gluten structure, and makes the dough looser. The dough expands more when baking achieving an airier and softer crumb.How do you soften hard tough bread? ›
put them for a few minutes on a radiator, put them under a lamp (near the light bulb), heat them up quickly with a hair dryer, place them in the microwave oven for a few seconds in defrosting mode.Does olive oil make dough softer? ›
Does olive oil make dough softer? Yes - adding olive oil to sourdough bread will result in a softer crust and crumb. The oil as a lipid coats the flour and inhibits the gluten network resulting in a softer, tighter crumb and softer crust.Does shortening make bread softer? ›
Aids in trapping moisture and lubricating the gluten structure to deliver soft textured bread. Best use: bread loaves, rolls, pie bottoms, muffins, buns, donuts.
The acidic properties of vinegar inhibit gluten, some will say. This theory proposes that once the water and flour are combined, gluten starts forming, causing the dough to grow tough. Adding an acid, the theory goes, stops the gluten in its tracks and rescues the crust from toughness.Why does heating bread make it soft? ›
In microwave heating, the starch of the bread is re-gelatinised. That is to say, the starch molecules bind to water molecules, which sort of dissolve or plasticise the starch, making the texture of the bread softer overall.What does baking soda do to bread? ›
Formally known as sodium bicarbonate, it's a white crystalline powder that is naturally alkaline, or basic (1). Baking soda becomes activated when it's combined with both an acidic ingredient and a liquid. Upon activation, carbon dioxide is produced, which allows baked goods to rise and become light and fluffy (1).Should you let dough rest before kneading? ›
It means to let your dough rest (I give it 25-30 minutes) before kneading. This allows the flour to become thoroughly saturated, and provides time for the gluten chains to start forming up before you even lay a hand on the dough — more pre-kneading. Following that, it's an easy 5 to 7 minutes — that's all!What makes bread fluffy baking soda or powder? ›
Baking soda changes the texture of baked goods by causing a batter or dough to spread, while baking powder produces light, fluffy texture. Some recipes may call for baking soda or baking powder on their own, while others may require both ingredients to create the ideal balance for great texture.What happens if you put too much baking soda in bread? ›
Too much baking soda will result in a soapy taste with a coarse, open crumb.
Does letting bread rise longer make it fluffier? ›
For a fluffy bread texture, the key is to let the bread rise long enough. Now, you may be wondering “how long does it take for bread to rise?” The short answer is that it depends on the temperature of your kitchen. For bread to rise, yeast must be activated, and yeast is very sensitive to temperature.How long should you knead bread? ›
Kneading for 10-12 minutes by hand or 8-10 minutes in a mixer are the general standards; if you've been massaging the dough for that length of time, you can be pretty confident that you've done your job.Which flour is best for bread? ›
Bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour, ranging from 12% to 14%. That makes this type of flour ideal for all kinds of bread recipes, including hearty sourdoughs, tender brioche, and lacy English muffins.Is it better to make bread with milk or water? ›
Milk changes bread recipes by producing a softer loaf, due to the milk fat content, which also gives bread a richer flavor. Bread made with milk browns more easily than bread made with water, as lactose or milk sugar will caramelize as it bakes.
Adding butter (unsalted) or oil (olive or vegetable) in small quantities to bread results in a higher rise, a crisper crust, and a longer shelf life. When fat is added in large quantities, such as for brioche, it results in a softer texture and less volume.Do you brush bread with egg before baking? ›
An egg wash can be applied to shaped bread or rolls before or after proofing, but it should always be added before baking. When applying after proofing, use a very light touch with the brush to avoid deflating the bread.Why do you brush bread with milk before baking? ›
Milk Bath: Brushing a loaf with milk before baking gives the baked bread a tender, golden crust. For a sweet bread recipe, sprinkle with sugar if desired.Does kneading make bread soft? ›
An excess of flour can create a stiff, dry dough. A perfectly kneaded dough springs back when poked with your finger and will feel soft and silky in texture.What milk is best for baking bread? ›
In professional bakeries, whole milk is the standard for baked goods and most recipes for home bakers – unless otherwise specified – tend to assume that you will be using whole milk.What is the perfect trick to revive stale bread and you won t believe how simple it is? ›
This is the approach The Spruce Eats recommends for bringing back stale bread — dampen under the faucet, wrap the whole loaf in foil, and reheat for 15 minutes in a 300°F oven. After that 15 minutes, the directions say to unwrap the loaf from the foil and continue baking for another 5 minutes.
Why is my homemade bread so hard? ›
Baking quick breads at too high temperatures can cause a hard outside crust. Most quick breads bake in a moderate oven (350°F to 375°F). Double check your recipe to see the temperature they recommend. Oven thermostats can vary over time, requiring adjustments by the baker or calibration by a professional.Why does homemade bread get hard? ›
“As bread cools, the structure of the starchy carbohydrates start to crystallize,” explains Institute of Food Technologists past president Roger Clemens, Ph. D. This crystallization process occurs as the bread loses moisture and heat.Does salt make bread softer? ›
Exposing Baker's yeast to a salt solution prior to bread baking can improve the volume, texture, taste, and aroma of the finished product, says a new study.What does salt do for bread? ›
When added to bread dough, salt works to tighten the gluten strands that are formed, which makes them stronger. By strengthening these gluten strands, salt enables the dough to hold carbon dioxide more efficiently.Does more kneading make softer bread? ›
Kneading dough develops and lengthens the gluten strands making the bread chewier and giving it more structure and a more define shape when it bakes. For a softer bread, you need to knead it less. For a fluffier airier bread use more liquid and either more initial yeast or/and a longer fermentation time.What oil is best for homemade bread? ›
Coconut oil is arguably the best oil you can use in your bread dough recipe – or any baked good for that matter. This is why it is becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in vegan baking. Coconut oil is made up of 100% fat.Does butter make dough soft? ›
Butter is an amazing ingredient. It makes bread soft, and it gives it a wonderful flavour and aroma. The mouthfeel of bread made with butter is smooth and pleasant.What does sugar do to bread? ›
Sugar is hygroscopic; that means it attracts and holds moisture. Without sugar, moisture evaporates from bread during baking, creating a drier loaf. The more sugar you cut from a sweet yeast bread recipe, the more you'll notice this effect.Does cornstarch make bread softer? ›
Cornstarch. This is the key to soft, fluffy texture. Cornstarch is gluten-free, so it prevents long, tough strands of gluten from forming in your dough.Can I use Crisco instead of butter in bread? ›
The answer is yes, butter or shortening can be used interchangeably in baked goods and can be used as a one-to-one swap.
What does oil do to bread? ›
Fats work as tenderizers in breads by coating some of the proteins that form gluten, preventing them from hydrating and linking up to form large networks that would lead to toughness.Why should you pour vinegar on bread and leave it? ›
The vinegar and bread will help “soak up” those awful, stinky smells and leave that area smelling so fresh and so clean-clean.Why do you add vinegar to milk when baking? ›
Let us explain:
- Vinegar makes cakes rise. ...
- Vinegar helps stabilize meringues. ...
- Vinegar can be used to make a buttermilk substitute.
Vinegar in Baking
In general white distilled vinegar and apple cider vinegar in combination with baking soda is used in baking recipes as an egg substitute. Personally I prefer the use of apple cider vinegar in all my baking recipes because it does not have the after taste of white vinegar.
Asian-style breads are also made by adding a Japanese-invented dough called tangzhong. “The Japanese realised that by cooking the flour, the dough absorbs all the water. This cooked dough is added into the rest of the bread mixture which gives a moister mouthfeel,” says Tay.How do I make my bread crust soft and thin? ›
Adding Olive Oil or Other Fats
Adding fats or oils to your bread can help to soften the crust. Sometimes it can be trial and error as to how you like your bread, but some things to try are (all based on my 500g flour loaf): 20g of olive oil. 30g of melted butter.
Sugar is often added to packaged bread in the US to preserve freshness, create a soft texture, and add sweetness. As a result, American bread is sweeter than European bread.What is the softest bread to eat? ›
This bread is made with all-purpose or bread flour, or a combination of the two, and is usually soft, fluffy and perfect for sandwiches.
All-purpose flour can be used for bread but bread flour is always better if your goal is a “fluffier” bread. The biggest difference between bread and all-purpose flour is that the former has a higher protein content. This high protein produces more stability, form and ultimately increases the amount of rise.What makes the bread soft and bouncy? ›
Final answer: Carbon dioxide gas given off during fermentation of sugar makes bread soft and fluffy.
How do you soften dough? ›
You can :
- put them for a few minutes on a radiator,
- put them under a lamp (near the light bulb),
- heat them up quickly with a hair dryer,
- place them in the microwave oven for a few seconds in defrosting mode.
Does olive oil make dough softer? Yes - adding olive oil to sourdough bread will result in a softer crust and crumb. The oil as a lipid coats the flour and inhibits the gluten network resulting in a softer, tighter crumb and softer crust.Why does my bread come out hard? ›
The flour you used may have contained too much protein. Protein is one of the ingredients that help yeast bread brown. Use bread flour that is purchased at a grocery store or a national brand of all-purpose flour.Why is my homemade bread crust so hard? ›
Baking quick breads at too high temperatures can cause a hard outside crust. Most quick breads bake in a moderate oven (350°F to 375°F). Double check your recipe to see the temperature they recommend. Oven thermostats can vary over time, requiring adjustments by the baker or calibration by a professional.Why is homemade bread hard next day? ›
“As bread cools, the structure of the starchy carbohydrates start to crystallize,” explains Institute of Food Technologists past president Roger Clemens, Ph. D. This crystallization process occurs as the bread loses moisture and heat.