Knowing how to make bread softer is a great way to make sure you can always get a delightfully soft and light sandwich any time of the day. There’s nothing quite so frustrating as bread that’s thick, claggy, and endlessly dense.
In this article, I’m going to run through some of the best tips that I have in mind for ensuring that the bread you make is as soft and fluffy as possible.
How to make bread softer and fluffier – 5 techniques
There are many ways to make bread softer and fluffier, but these five techniques are the tips that I most commonly think of when I’m chatting with someone about making their bread softer and more delicate.
Increase the amount of water in the recipe
The most basic concept of baking something is that you can make it harder and crispier by removing water. That’s precisely what an oven does – prolonged exposure to heat means that any water in your recipe will boil off, leading to a fully baked item.
If you increase the amount of water in your bread recipe by just a little, you can ensure that there is more bread left behind in your bread by the time it’s fully cooked through. This will mean your bread is more hydrated throughout and, therefore, softer.
Add some level of fat
Adding fat to the dough that you’re working with can serve to make the final bread softer. It does this by binding with the gluten in the dough to make it softer and more tender overall, leading to a loaf of bread that’s exceptionally light.
Be careful not to go too far, though – too much fat will make the dough heavy, and it may not rise properly.
Fats also lower the temperature at which the outside of the loaf of bread starts to brown, which means that the total cooking time will be a little longer, as you take less time for the crust to form.
Add sugar to the recipe
Sugar functions really well to make bread softer during and immediately after baking. It naturally tenderizes a wide variety of things, but the important thing, in this case, is that the sugar will reduce water activity in the bread.
If the water in the bread has sugar dissolved into it, it will lead to a softer loaf of bread. Furthermore, sugar will give the yeast a boost, allowing for the bread to have more gas in it and, thereby, be lighter overall.
Proof the dough for longer
Proofing dough for a little longer will lead to more gas being within the bread itself. The proofing process is a process during which the yeast feeds o the flour, and produces CO2 gas. This gas is trapped during baking and produces the crumb you see in your final loaf.
Increasing the amount of CO2 in a loaf of bread will lead to the bread being less dense with actual solid bread. To that end, the loaf will be lighter overall, leading to a softer loaf.
Balance the amount of steam in your oven
Steam in an oven is a key part of a bakery’s process. For crusty rolls, steam will be injected into the baking chamber to create a humid environment. In this environment, the bread doesn’t brown as quickly, leading to it losing more moisture overall, and the final bread is less soft.
In your home oven, you can replicate this by baking in a dutch oven. This creates steam, leading to a harder crust. Remove the dutch oven from the equation to cut down on the steam in your baking, then you should have softer bread.
How to keep bread soft after baking
Keeping bread soft in your home is a question of staling. To stop the process of bread going stale and becoming touchy, you need to cut off the amount of air that can get to the bread. You can do this by sealing the bread in a bag as soon as it’s cool.
How to make bread soft again
Making stale bread soft again is a question of removing moisture. The best way to do this is to wrap the bread in question in foil, and then bake it in a 300˚F oven for fifteen to thirty minutes, depending upon the size of the piece of bread. This should result in softer, warmer bread.
Why is my bread not soft and fluffy?
The main reason why bread isn’t soft and fluffy is that there is the wrong amount of moisture within the bread. There’s a ‘goldilocks zone’ in the bread, meaning that a loaf with too much or too little moisture will not be soft and fluffy. Ensuring the bread has just the right amount is vital for great bread.
What makes bread soft and chewy?
Bread is most commonly soft and chewy when it has a good balance of moisture, gluten content, and fat content. These three things combine to form a crumb to the bread that is soft while also being chewy. A poor balance of these things will often lead to poor final execution.
How do you fix a hard loaf of bread?
If you notice that a loaf is hard when you first get it out of the oven, throw a damp tea towel over it as it cools. Over the course of around fifteen to twenty minutes, it can instill some moisture to ensure that the bread is soft.
Alternatively, you could wrap a loaf in some foil and add a few drops of water to the surface of the loaf. Baking it in the oven for around twenty minutes can soften the bread very well.
Wrapping it up!
Lastly, I hope that this article has helped you to understand the best ways to make bread softer : )