Lots of people are having a good time learning how to bake various types of bread right now. If you’ve been baking bread, then you might be curious why you aren’t getting the best results sometimes.
When your bread turns out a little bit harder than you would like it to be, it’s going to be good to try to learn how to make bread soft.
Keep reading to learn all about how you can make your bread both soft and delicious. Baking soft bread is really all about how you’re preparing things, and you can learn to do it right.
Once you’re done reading the information below, it’ll be that much easier to get the type of bread that you want each time you decide to bake some.
Why Bread Turns Out Soft
To get your bread to turn out soft, it’s necessary to ensure that the CO2 that is produced by the yeast is turned into steam.
This steam will then get trapped in the gluten pockets so that the dough will start to expand for you. Once the dough becomes solid enough, you should have soft bread that you can eat if all went as planned.
Sometimes you might not get the right results even when you think that you did everything right. There are a couple of potential reasons why this might happen that you should be aware of.
If you know what missteps to look out for, then you should be able to get your bread to turn out soft just like you want it to be.
1 – Dry Dough
Dry dough can be a major problem when you’re trying to get your bread to turn out soft. If the dough is too dry, then it isn’t going to produce steam as much as it should under normal circumstances.
The water is a huge part of the process because it’s what makes it possible for your bread to rise in the first place.
When your dough is overly dry, it’s going to make it impossible to form the gluten pockets that you want to see. This heavily impacts the expansion of the dough and makes it more likely that you’re going to get dry bread. This could even wind up being somewhat flat bread due to not being able to rise as much as it should.
This is why you need to be sure that you’re making your dough properly. If you make dough that has the proper level of wetness, then the steam is going to be able to do what it needs to do.
This is the number one thing that will keep your bread from turning out too dry and hard.
2 – Bad Yeast
It’s also worth considering whether there is an issue with the yeast that you’re using. You see, yeast is actually going to become inactive if it is too old. If your yeast is quite old, then it is not going to be good to try to bake a loaf of bread with it.
Yeast can become inactive when it comes into contact with certain other ingredients as well. For example, yeast that has come into contact with salt is going to inhibit it from being able to rise properly.
You want to put your salt on the opposite side of any bowl that you’re using to try to keep your yeast from being inhibited in any way.
You might have an easier time if you buy yeast that is known to be easy to work with as well. Many people have good luck baking soft bread when they use quick rising yeast. You’ll be able to simply add to a floured bowl and then add your water to get good results.
3 – You Need to Work the Dough More
Some people make the mistake of not kneading the dough enough before they start baking bread.
Ideally, you should spend a good amount of time kneading your dough so that it will become very pliable. A good dough is going to be stretchy enough to allow gluten molecules to do what they need to do.
Exercising a bit more patience when kneading your dough might help you to get the right results. Try to spend more time kneading the dough so that you can get things done right. After a bit of practice, kneading your dough just right should become second nature.
It is technically possible to make things worse by kneading the dough too much, but it’s unlikely that you will encounter this problem. If you’re baking bread at home and using your hands to get things done, then you should have nothing to worry about.
This is more of a concern for those who are using automatic dough-kneading methods.
4 – Dough Being Under-Risen or Over-Risen
Sadly, you can also make a mistake by having your dough be under-risen or over-risen. Your recipe time will give you a good estimate of how long it should take your bread to rise, but this is just an estimate.
It isn’t possible to 100% pinpoint the time because of variations in the specific yeast that you’re using.
Knowing this, you should be ready to pay attention to your bread so that you can get it to rise just the right amount. If you have it rise too much, then it might not turn out to be soft like you want it to be.
Just pay more attention to how the bread is doing in the oven so that you can make the right judgment call.
Softening Old Bread
Finally, if you want to try to soften old bread that has become a little bit hard, then you could try to use your microwave. Some people add a little bit of moisture to the bread and then put it in a microwave for a few seconds.
The amount of time you should put your bread in the microwave will depend on the power of your microwave.
Enjoy Soft Bread
Soft bread is going to be delicious and you can eat it more often now that you know the tips above. It should be easier to bake soft bread when you know the pitfalls to avoid. Just keep this information in mind the next time you want to do some baking.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.