How to Make Bread Soft

Pillowy soft bread? Nothing like it. However, if you find making soft bread difficult and challenging and suspect you might be doing something incorrectly, don’t panic; I have some wonderful news to share with you. Here are a few easy tips and tricks to make super soft bread.

Hello! My name is Ismail, and well, I love all kinds of bread. When you see me making a batch of deliciously toasted and grilled paneer tikka, I always need soft bread in abundance (I’m looking at you, turkey bacon sandwich!).

Making bread soft is easy. You should know what makes bread soft. Replacing the water in your recipe with full cream milk or increasing the amount of water is the best option.

You can add eggs or a little oil, and you can switch regular sugar with liquid sweeteners like honey or glucose. Lastly, knead, rise, and bake for a shorter time.

Are you ready to prepare your soft bread for a delightful dining experience?

Understanding the Science of Soft Bread

Before delving into the techniques and tips, it’s essential to understand the science behind soft bread. Several key factors contribute to the softness and texture of bread, and gaining a grasp of these elements will empower you to make informed decisions in your bread-making process.

One critical component is gluten, a protein formed when flour is combined with water and subjected to kneading. Gluten provides structure and elasticity to the bread, contributing to its chewiness and overall texture. However, achieving the right balance of gluten development is crucial, as excessive gluten can result in a dense, tough bread, while inadequate gluten can lead to a crumbly loaf.

Hydration levels also play a significant role in bread softness. The amount of water added to the dough affects gluten formation, dough elasticity, and moisture retention. Proper hydration ensures a tender, moist crumb and a softer crust.

Fats and oils are another essential factor in creating soft bread. They act as tenderizers by coating the gluten strands, preventing them from forming excessive bonds and resulting in a more delicate texture. Fats and oils also contribute to moisture retention, extending the bread’s shelf life and enhancing its overall softness.

Lastly, yeast, the microorganism responsible for fermentation in bread dough, contributes to both flavor and texture. Yeast produces carbon dioxide gas during fermentation, which causes the dough to rise and creates a light, airy crumb. Proper yeast activation and fermentation times are vital to achieving the desired softness in your bread.

By understanding these fundamental elements and their impact on bread texture, you will be better equipped to manipulate and control them to achieve the perfect softness in your homemade bread.

In the next section, we will explore various techniques for making bread soft, including ingredient selection, kneading and proofing methods, the use of fats and oils, and managing hydration levels. Stay tuned for practical tips and tricks that will take your bread to new levels of softness and delight.

Techniques for Making Bread Soft

Now that we understand the science behind soft bread, let’s explore the practical techniques that will help you achieve that desirable soft and fluffy texture in your homemade loaves.

Ingredient Selection

  • Choosing the right flour: Opt for bread flour or all-purpose flour with a higher protein content. The protein in these flours helps develop gluten, resulting in better structure and texture.
  • Selecting the appropriate yeast: Use active dry yeast or instant yeast, both of which are reliable choices for bread-making. These yeasts provide a consistent rise and contribute to a soft crumb.

Proper Kneading and Proofing

  • Kneading techniques for gluten development: Kneading is essential for gluten formation. Use the proper technique, such as the fold and push method, to develop the gluten network gradually. Avoid over-kneading, as it can lead to excessive gluten development and a denser texture.
  • Optimal proofing conditions for softness: Follow the recommended proofing time and temperature specified in your recipe. Proofing allows the yeast to ferment the dough, resulting in a light, airy texture. Maintain a warm, draft-free environment for optimal yeast activity.

Incorporating Fats and Oils

  • Types of fats and oils to enhance softness: Consider using fats such as butter, vegetable oil, or olive oil in your bread recipes. These fats add moisture, tenderness, and flavor to the bread.
  • Techniques for incorporating fats into the dough: Add the fats or oils during the mixing stage or incorporate them gradually during the kneading process. This allows the fats to evenly distribute throughout the dough, resulting in a softer texture.

Managing Hydration Levels

  • Importance of measuring accurately: Use a kitchen scale or precise measuring cups to measure flour and water accurately. Maintaining the proper hydration level is crucial for achieving a soft and moist crumb.
  • Adjusting hydration for desired softness: Depending on your preference, you can adjust the hydration level of your dough slightly. A slightly higher hydration can contribute to a softer crumb, but be cautious not to add too much water, as it can lead to a sticky dough that’s difficult to handle.

7 Ways to Make Bread Softer

Although Artisan bread with its crispy crust has its special place in certain situations, there are moments when you simply crave a return to the simple pleasures and the nostalgic comfort of soft, fluffy bread. Let me show you how to bring that experience back to life.

1. Replace water with milk

Water is essential for our survival, but our bread loaves don’t share the same dependency. If you’re aiming to achieve instant softness in your loaf, the most effective approach is to substitute the water with milk.

Does this idea make you feel uneasy?

I completely empathize with that sentiment. Changing ingredients can be daunting at times, and it’s completely normal to have concerns.

To ease your worries, you can begin by replacing half of the water quantity with milk. This way, you’ll experience a softer texture and gain the confidence to switch entirely to milk next time!

2. Add eggs

Here’s an interesting fact: eggs are among the various liquid ingredients used in baking. They bring a combination of beneficial qualities to your bread-making process.

Packed with fat and protein, they contribute to a lovely rise and add a delightful richness to the flavor. It’s truly a win-win situation!

If you have no allergies or dietary restrictions that prevent you from enjoying eggs, I encourage you to add one to your next loaf.

However, remember to slightly decrease the amount of water by a teaspoon to maintain the right consistency. This adjustment will prevent the bread from becoming overly moist and dense.

3. Increase the water content

If you happen to have a milk allergy or simply don’t prefer using milk in your baking endeavors, there’s no need to fret. You can forgo the idea of substituting water with milk and instead consider increasing the amount of water in your recipe.

To begin, incorporate ¼ cup of water into your dough. If the consistency remains balanced and you can knead it comfortably and efficiently, you’re on the right track. If you feel that a bit more hydration is necessary, try adding an additional ¼ cup of water and assess the dough’s condition from there.

Exercise caution, though, as it’s important not to go overboard. While additional water will enhance the overall moisture, providing a softer outcome, excessive water can compromise the gluten structure and result in a dense loaf. Finding the right balance is key.

4. Add fat

The best way to make your bread softer is to add fat. It functions by lubricating and tenderizing the gluten to keep it lovely and supple during the baking process.

Any fat will do, including butter and oil. Make sure the flavor doesn’t clash with the other ingredients, though. On sweeter bread, for instance, olive oil might not taste all that fantastic.

No matter what kind of fat you choose to employ, it’s crucial to exercise moderation. Only replace 5% of the water in your recipe with your desired fat.

5. Add sugar (liquid recommended)

Adding sugar to your bread is a great idea. It won’t just give the bread a hint of sweetness; it will also moisten and tenderize the bread while lowering water activity. The outcome? Delicious bread that is so soft that you might mistake it for your pillow.

Your dough will work fine with any sugar. But inverted liquid sugars, like glucose, are strongly advised. Your dough will remain soft and malleable since they won’t crystallize like conventional sugars.

6. Cut down on the mixing and development

Unlike other forms of bread, quick bread doesn’t need to go through the same process. Therefore, choose a rapid kneading time followed by a brief rise if you’re trying to make your quick bread softer than ever. In fact, you have the option to completely cancel the rise.

7. Lower the baking time

Consider shortening the baking time if you want wonderfully soft loaves of bread. The temperature won’t change; leave it alone. Place your bread here, but move the rack to the top shelf. In this manner, it cooks thoroughly and rapidly without taking too long.

How to Store Soft Bread properly?

Proper storage is crucial for maintaining the softness and freshness of your homemade bread. Follow these guidelines to store your soft bread effectively:

  1. Cool the Bread Completely: Allow your freshly baked bread to cool completely on a wire rack. This ensures that excess moisture evaporates and prevents condensation inside the storage container.
  2. Wrap in Plastic or Place in a Bread Bag: Once cooled, tightly wrap the bread in plastic wrap or place it in a sealable plastic bag specifically designed for storing bread. Ensure that the wrap or bag is airtight to prevent moisture loss and keep the bread soft.
  3. Store at Room Temperature: Soft bread is best stored at room temperature, preferably in a cool and dry area of your kitchen. Avoid storing bread in the refrigerator, as it can accelerate staling and dry out the bread.
  4. Avoid Direct Sunlight and Heat: Store the bread away from direct sunlight and heat sources, such as stovetops or ovens. Exposure to heat can cause the bread to dry out and lose its softness.
  5. Use Airtight Containers: If you prefer using a storage container instead of plastic wrap or bags, ensure it has an airtight seal. Place the bread inside the container, close it tightly, and keep it in a cool, dry place.
  6. Avoid Slicing Before Storage: It’s recommended to store the bread in whole loaf form rather than slicing it before storage. Sliced bread tends to dry out more quickly due to increased exposure to air.
  7. Freeze for Long-Term Storage: If you want to store bread for an extended period, freezing is an excellent option. Wrap the cooled bread tightly in plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil, and place it in the freezer. Thaw frozen bread at room temperature when ready to consume.
  8. Slice and Toast When Needed: For individual servings or to refresh the bread’s softness, slice off the desired number of slices and toast them lightly. Toasting can revive the softness and bring back the fresh flavor of the bread.

By following these storage practices, you can maintain the softness and quality of your homemade bread for an extended period, ensuring each slice remains a delightful treat.

Common Issues When Making Soft Bread

Even with the best techniques and intentions, you may encounter some common issues that affect the softness of your bread. Here are a few common problems and their potential solutions:

Dense or Dry Bread:

  • Possible causes: Insufficient kneading, overproofing, or using too much flour.
  • Solutions: Ensure proper kneading techniques, follow recommended proofing times, and measure ingredients accurately. Adjust the amount of flour if needed to achieve the desired texture.

Bread That Doesn’t Rise Enough:

  • Possible causes: Inadequate yeast activity, insufficient proofing time, or using expired yeast.
  • Solutions: Check the freshness of your yeast, provide optimal proofing conditions (warmth and humidity), and allow enough time for the dough to rise. Consider increasing the amount of yeast if necessary.

Bread That Rises Too Much and Collapses:

  • Possible causes: Excessive yeast activity, overproofing, or using too much sugar.
  • Solutions: Use the appropriate amount of yeast as recommended in the recipe. Avoid overproofing the dough by following the specified proofing times. Be mindful of the sugar content, as excessive sugar can lead to an overly active yeast.

Tough or Chewy Crust:

  • Possible causes: Insufficient steam during baking or baking at too high a temperature.
  • Solutions: Create steam in the oven by placing a pan of hot water during the initial stages of baking. This helps keep the crust soft. Additionally, adjust the oven temperature to ensure a moderate heat that promotes a tender crust.

Bread Becoming Stale Quickly:

  • Possible causes: Improper storage or exposure to air.
  • Solutions: Store the cooled bread in airtight containers or sealable plastic bags to minimize air exposure. This helps retain moisture and keeps the bread fresher for longer. Avoid storing bread in the refrigerator, as it can accelerate staling.

Gummy or Underbaked Center:

  • Possible causes: Insufficient baking time, low oven temperature, or improper dough hydration.
  • Solutions: Ensure the bread is baked thoroughly by following the recommended baking time and using an accurate oven temperature. Adjust the hydration level of the dough to prevent a gummy center. Use a reliable oven thermometer to monitor the temperature for precise baking.

Remember, troubleshooting bread issues may require some trial and error. Adjusting techniques, ingredient quantities, or proofing times can help overcome these challenges and lead to perfectly soft bread.


Achieving perfectly soft bread requires a combination of understanding the science behind it and employing the right techniques and ingredients. With the knowledge gained from this guide, you’re well-equipped to create bread that is not only soft but also incredibly delicious.

Remember, practice and experimentation are key to honing your bread-making skills. Embrace the process, and don’t be afraid to try new recipes and techniques. With each loaf, you’ll inch closer to achieving bread that is irresistibly soft, ensuring delightful moments with every bite.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

How do you make bread soft again in the microwave?

To make bread soft again in the microwave, sprinkle it with water and heat it on low power for a short time.

What is the best flour for soft bread?

The best flour for making soft bread is typically referred to as “bread flour.” Bread flour is a high-protein flour that contains more gluten than all-purpose flour, which gives bread its structure, elasticity, and chewiness. The higher gluten content in bread flour allows the dough to rise well and create a light, fluffy texture in the final product.

Why is my homemade bread always dense and not soft?

Several factors can contribute to dense bread, such as insufficient kneading, overproofing, or using too much flour. Ensure proper kneading techniques, appropriate proofing times, and accurate measurements to achieve a lighter and softer texture.

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.

Can I use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour to make soft bread?

Yes, you can use all-purpose flour with a higher protein content as a substitute for bread flour. However, bread flour typically has more protein, which aids in gluten development and results in better structure and texture.

How can I make my bread stay soft for longer?

To maintain the softness of your bread, store it in airtight containers or plastic bags once it has cooled completely. This helps prevent moisture loss and extends the freshness of the bread.

Is it necessary to use fats or oils in bread recipes to make them soft?

While not essential, fats and oils contribute to the softness and tenderness of bread. They help coat the gluten strands, preventing excessive bonding and resulting in a more delicate texture. Fats and oils also add moisture and flavor to the bread.

Can I make soft bread without using yeast?

Yeast plays a crucial role in bread-making as it contributes to both flavor and texture. While it is possible to make certain types of bread without yeast, achieving the same level of softness and texture may be challenging without the yeast’s fermentation process.

How can I prevent my bread from becoming stale quickly?

Storing bread properly is key to keeping it fresh for longer. Place the cooled bread in airtight containers or sealable plastic bags to minimize exposure to air and moisture, which can cause it to become stale more quickly.

Are there any alternative ingredients or techniques to make bread softer?

Yes, there are additional techniques you can explore. Using ingredients like milk or milk powder, incorporating sweeteners like honey or sugar, baking with steam, or trying advanced techniques like enriched dough or pre-fermentation methods can further enhance the softness and texture of your bread.

How can I adjust the hydration level in my bread dough?

Maintaining the proper hydration level is crucial for achieving a soft and moist crumb. If you prefer a slightly softer texture, you can adjust the hydration by adding a small amount of water to the dough. Be cautious not to add too much water, as it can make the dough too sticky and challenging to handle.