How to Get Soft Breads/Buns

I’ve been asked a few times what causes some people’s breads/buns to harden when baked. Here are a few tips that might be of some help inshaAllah.

Hard crusts/bread/buns etc means that you are either baking on too low heat and for too long, OR the dough you started off with was not kneaded well enough. So inshaAllah next time when you knead the dough, follow these tips:

1. Make sure the water/milk you use for kneading the dough is warm. Not HOT, but WARM! Hot water kills the yeast so make sure it is finger-tolerable warm.

2. Knead the dough well, for a good 8-10 minutes and get it to an almost sticky consistency, then dab a bit of oil on your palms and apply all over the ball of dough and cover it, let it rest to rise as per the recipe.

3. Make sure you pre-heat the oven before putting the tray of bread/buns in. Putting a tray of buns in a cold oven then turning on the heat whilst it’s in there makes them take longer to get done, thereby hardening them in the process.

4. Add a little bit of milk to your egg yolk before brushing over the bread/before baking. The milk helps keep the buns soft and the yolk gives them a good colour.

5. Standard temperature for breads/buns ranges from 180-200 C. So keep your oven in this temp range unless the recipe states otherwise.

6. If your oven has separate functions for top and bottom heating/grills, don’t turn on both at once, first use the bottom grill, then midway turn on the top one to even out the colour.

7. Buns take between 12 mins to 20 mins to get done, depending on the size of individual pieces. So if after this time they are not yet sufficiently coloured, you can crank the heat up slightly to speed things along. But keep a close eye on them.

8. Immediately after baking, whilst still hot, brush a bit of butter on the buns, then cover with a kitchen towel to retain moisture and keep them soft.

32 thoughts on “How to Get Soft Breads/Buns
32 Replies
  • dear fauzia, may Allah bless u, i have tried manythings, mashallah every time the result is super good….jazakallah khair…rose rolls turned out very good…pls tell me dry yeast measurement… placeof instant…thanks.

  • People are always talking about pre-heating the oven, but never say for how long!! Please provide a list of pre-heating timings corresponding to their baking times. For example, if the recipe says 180 degrees, the corresponding pre-heating duration would be..?
    P.S. A little silly doubt, you pre-heat at the same temp as given for the baking, right? 180 degrees for both?

    • My dear, people always say pre-heat the oven to a certain temperature and don’t give the time because when you turn the knob to that temperature, depending on the size of your oven it could take any number of minutes. Bigger ovens take longer to heat up than smaller ovens so obviously it would be difficult to pinpoint a time limit that will suit all!! There is normally an indicator light on MOST ovens that turns off once the required temp is reached. Doesn’t your oven have that??? And yes, if you’re told preheat to 180, that is the same temp which you will bake with.

  • Oh dear! I don’t have that! Let me run you through. (Sorry, tedious, I know). I have four knobs. one for the temp, second for turning on different grills, one for the timer and the last for the rotisserie. the second one has an option for ‘keep warm’ but i don’t think that’s the one we’re looking for. i just pre-heated the oven for 10mins for the rose rolls, n i feel that might have been a bit too much. Help!! (Thanx a ton!)

    • W/Salaam. I always prefer an electric oven with a gas stove-top. Baking turns out best in electric ovens whilst pot/pan cooking always is easier on a gas burner. Make sure the brand of oven you select is one that has warranty and is recognised, a good investment in a good oven could save you decades of agony as opposed to buying a cheaper make and having to replace it within a few years. Make sure you get a fan-assisted oven, speeds up baking and makes sure heat is evenly distributed in the oven. Also, check that the oven has a grill, this will be handy for browning the tops of such things as buns/cakes/naans etc. Get a spacious oven that can take at least 2 eight inch cake pans side by side with about 1 inch space all around. All the best! 🙂

  • Hi fauzia,
    Can you help me with your white bread recipe.I have baked white bread and sweet scones but both came hard from inside also. It dint turn out the way it is sold in bakery.

  • What kind of oven can used to
    What kind of oven can used to make bun and breads?i made chicken everything came out well till I bake it I turned out really hard definitely fault is in oven .can we use microwave for making breads I used the micro wave !please help me

    • I use a fan-assisted electric
      I use a fan-assisted electric oven. Do you preheat the oven before baking? I never bake in the micro so cannot help there, sorry!

  • If I am making a dough in the
    If I am making a dough in the food processor do I still need to knead it for 8-10 minutes after? What I do is make a dough in the food processor and kneed it for couple of minutes to form a ball then I put oil on my fingers and apply on the dough. Is that okay?

  • I want to know the tips to
    I want to know the tips to using gas oven. Is there any article of yours’related to USAGE OF GAS OVEN ? kindly refer me to that. As i m a novice so want to learn more about oven prior to starting baking.
    P.S your recipes are awsome cant wait to try em out.

    • Hi, sorry but I have
      Hi, sorry but I have personally never used a gas oven so I do not have tips on this. But you can look it up online, there are many articles that am sure will be of help to you.

  • I have oven having both upper
    I have oven having both upper n lower heat functional, i can use them together or separate…so whats better? can i use both at the same time? If yes then what would be temprature n time?

    • About the rods that need to
      About the rods that need to be switched on, my oven works differently (I don’t have to switch on various rods at any time) but I believe for ovens like what you are using, start with the bottom one and then midway turn on the top. Accordingly see how the results are and adjust. 🙂

  • salams sister,,in the ovens
    salams sister,,in the ovens which has up and down selector, u said that i have to start with the bottom one and then midway turn on the top. does that mean i have to switch on the top one alone in the midway or both top and bottom together in the midway??..i really need ur help..thanks in advance.. 🙂

    • W/Salaam, frankly I do not
      W/Salaam, frankly I do not have that type of an oven. SO am only advising according to what I have read other people suggesting. Both on from midway unless you find that the bottom of the buns are darkening too quickly then you can turn off the bottom. Go by your eyes and with a bit of practice you will master your oven. 🙂

  • asak fauzia, i have been
    asak fauzia, i have been reading through most of your bread / bun / pizza recipes. need a small clarification: I have a basic bread recipe which requires basic ingredients like maida, warm water, yeast, salt and sugar. However there are multiple recipes I have come across here and on other sides which ask to add egg, milk power, a mixture of (warm) milk and water for the yeast or just warm milk. How do these different approaches affect the dough and how do we decide when to use which method. I have tried the basic bread recipe and it has turned out quite soft. In this I use 1 tsp active dry yeast for 250 gms maida and all other ingredients accordingly. Please advise. Thanks!

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