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How to Achieve Soft Bread Texture?

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Soft Bread
Soft Bread texture secret

I recently stumbled upon a revolutionary technique that has transformed my bread-making game completely! My quest to achieve the softest and most moist bread led me to an unexpected discovery that changed everything.

During one of my usual trials in the kitchen, I noticed that my brioche and ensaymada turned out to be remarkably different from my previous batches, despite following the same standard recipe and procedure. Intrigued and determined to uncover the secret behind this delightful transformation, I decided to investigate further.

After hours of analyzing and contemplation, the revelation struck me - it was all about the process:

  • I prepared the dough ahead of time, dividing it into portions and letting it chill overnight in plastic containers within the fridge (around 8-10 hours).

  • The next day, I took the dough out and allowed it to temper at room temperature (around 15C - still cold) for an additional 5 hours.

  • I then flattened and filled the dough with my desired ingredients.

  • For the final touch, I proofed the dough inside the oven with hot water for 2 more hours before baking it to perfection.

Surprisingly, even without the use of bread improver and substituting whole eggs for 100% egg yolks, this innovative process yielded superior results. Allowing the dough to ferment slowly in colder temperatures for an extended period allowed the yeast to produce gas gradually, enhancing both the flavor and texture.

The outcome was nothing short of extraordinary - a product that boasts a soft, delicate, cotton-like texture, incredibly moist, and a delightful sweet yeasty aroma. The satisfaction of achieving such perfection is unparalleled!

Science behind this process

Slow Fermentation and Flavor Development:

  • The extended chilling and tempering phases of your process allow for slow fermentation. During this time, yeast consumes sugars in the dough and produces carbon dioxide gas.

  • Slow fermentation at colder temperatures, as opposed to rapid fermentation at warmer temperatures, has a significant impact on flavor development. It allows yeast to produce various flavor compounds, including alcohols, esters, and organic acids. These compounds contribute to the complex and pleasant taste of the bread.

Gluten Formation and Structure:

  • During the chilling period, the dough undergoes a process called autolysis. This is when enzymes naturally present in the flour break down proteins (like gluten) and starches. Autolysis continues even during the tempering phase.

  • The result is a more relaxed and extensible dough. The gluten network becomes better organized, resulting in improved bread structure and a soft, delicate texture.

Gas Production and Texture:

  • Slow fermentation allows for the gradual production of carbon dioxide by yeast. This slow gas production results in smaller and more numerous gas bubbles in the dough.

  • Smaller bubbles create a finer, more even crumb structure in the bread. This contributes to the soft and tender texture you've observed.

Yeast Activity and Aroma:

  • Extended fermentation provides yeast with more time to metabolize and generate aroma compounds. The sweet yeasty aroma you mentioned is a result of this.

  • Slow fermentation encourages the production of desirable aroma compounds that enhance the overall sensory experience of the bread.

Enzymatic Activity and Staling Delay:

  • The longer fermentation and proofing periods also activate enzymes in the dough. These enzymes continue to work even after baking.

  • Enzymes help break down starches into simpler sugars, which can slow down the staling process. This means your bread remains fresh and moist for a more extended period.

In summary, this innovative technique of slow fermentation and tempering at colder temperatures optimizes various aspects of the bread-making process. It enhances flavor, improves gluten structure, creates a fine crumb, enhances aroma, and delays staling. All of these factors combined result in the softest, most moist bread with a delightful texture and taste. It's a perfect example of how scientific principles can be applied to elevate the art of baking.

I can’t wait to share this newfound secret with you all. Give it a try, and experience the joy of baking your own soft, heavenly bread. Share your creations on social media and tag Motherbee!

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