Loaves of bread made with a bread machine taste chewier than those made by hand. Gluten, a protein created when wheat flour mixes with water, holds a yeast bread together as rises. While the gluten creates the structure for the risen yeast bread, too much gluten makes the loaf tough. Since the machine automatically mixes and kneads the dough, you cannot control if the dough becomes kneaded too much, which makes the bread tough. But you can influence some of the other gluten-producing factors: the type of flour, fats or acids used in the dough.
Things You'll Need
Replace the high-protein bread flour used in your bread machine recipe with an equal amount of all-purpose flour to reduce the toughness in the loaf.
Add some acid to the recipe to lessen the gluten formation by replacing half of the milk or water in the recipe with buttermilk.
Pour an additional 2 tbsp.of water into the bread mix ingredients for a softer loaf.
Add 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil to the ingredients to coat some of the proteins in the flour and yield a softer loaf from your bread machine.
References and Resources"Cookwise"; Shirley O. Corriher; 1997
"The Science of Good Food"; David Joachim and Andrew Schloss; 2008