When you imagine bread, then you think of warm, soft bread freshly out of the oven. But how to make bread soft and fluffy?
There are a few easy tricks that you can use to give your homemade bread a fluffy texture, from specific bread flour to temperature checks.
In this article, we find out how you can whisk together amazing bread with a fresh crust, no matter what bread recipe you use.
Use Bread Flour
All-purpose flour is fantastic for baking a great variety of delicious baked goods, including cakes and cookies.
While you can use this type of flour also for bread in emergencies, it is best to use bread flour which contains a higher amount of gluten and protein.
The gluten in wheat flour is what makes your homemade bread fluffy with a chewy texture.
This being said, many bread recipes already come with a recommendation for flour, so it is important to follow your bread recipe to ensure the texture and consistency are right.
Measure Precisely Using Weights
Although measuring cups can seem a lot easier to handle bread flour and instant yeast, they are often inaccurate and give you wrong measurements.
The best way to ensure that you get a fantastic result for your white bread recipe is by simply using weight measurements instead of measuring cups whenever you need to weigh your bread ingredients.
A few grams may not sound much initially but they can make a big difference to the result of your baking.
Plus, bread recipes are often incredibly accurate with measurements, so it is best to stick to them as well as possible.
If you use too much flour, softened butter or instant yeast, then you might end up with a denser bread dough that doesn’t feel and taste fluffy.
Follow Your Bread Recipe
Whether you are making classic white bread with whole wheat flour or delicious Japanese milk bread, it is essential that you use exactly the same ingredients and measurements as specified in your recipe.
The right recipe makes baking bread easy and it should also result in the perfect bread with a soft texture.
Add More Water To The Recipe
When you have bread recipes that you regularly follow and your bread still turns out too dense, then you can try adding a little bit of water to the dough.
A dough that is well hydrated allows the gluten within the dough to expand as much as possible.
But be careful! Too much water in your dough can have the opposite effect and create a dense loaf.
It takes a bit of experience for a bread maker to add the right amount of liquids, so if you are unsure, then add only a few milliliters of water until you have the perfect bread.
Do The Windowpane Test
The windowpane test is popular with hobby bakers because it allows you to check if your dough has been kneaded for long enough.
Not enough kneading means that the gluten in your dough stays underdeveloped which can lead to a dense loaf of bread.
Simply take a small ball of bread dough and slowly stretch it out similar to a pizza. If your dough turns into a thin membrane, then it is ready for baking.
On the other hand, if your dough tears, then you need to knead it for longer. Make sure that you use plenty of bread flour when kneading.
Add Fat To Your Bread Recipe
Fat, such as unsalted butter, olive oil and lard, makes the gluten in your bread dough soft and tender.
Plus, the enriched dough with more fat also shortens the baking time, so it doesn’t take too long for the bread to form a soft crust.
Simply swap around 5% of the water in your recipe with a type of fat and check the difference.
Add Sugar To Make Your Bread Softer
Sugar doesn’t just make your bread sweeter but it also helps to make it tender and soft, especially in a bread machine.
By adding sugar, you cannot just make your bread’s texture softer but it also stays softer for longer.
Keep in mind when you are making raising bread or any other type of fruit bread, then you also need to consider the amount of sugar in the dried fruit.
Proof At The Right Temperature
As a bread baker, you know that yeast makes the bread rise and it does this by creating some air bubbles inside the dough.
However, the rising can only happen when your yeast has the right conditions, such as the perfect temperature.
This means that you will need to “proof” the temperature of your bread dough.
Most of the time, this is simply room temperature but if it is extremely hot or cold outside, then you need to check with a bread thermometer.
If you want to make your bread rise faster, then you can use the oven-proofing technique. Simply put your bread dough next to boiling water inside a turned-off oven.
The steam will encourage the yeast to create air bubbles that will make your bread rise.
Add Warm Milk To Your Brioche Bread
There are plenty of brioche bread and milk bread recipes but even if you follow a traditional white bread recipe, you can still use some of the brioche ingredients.
By adding plenty of sugar, butter, eggs and whole milk to your bread recipe, you can improve the texture making bread soft and fluffy.
Watch Your Oven
While it is tempting to put the bread in the oven and leave it until the baking time is up, every oven can be different.
This means that unless you always make the same bread recipe in the same oven, it is best to keep a watchful eye on the bread while it’s baking.
If you are using a bread machine to bake your bread, then you can still use the instructions for the ingredients.
Making bread can be a true art for a hobby bread maker but there are a few things you can do to make your broad golden brown and fluffy.