I used soft white winter wheat to make a bread recipe & it just didn't rise well. Everything else being equal, can this flour be used to make bread?
It's bread, so there's always tons of factors when it comes down to the differential, but in general, here's the gist with a soft wheat:-less protein -> less gluten development-less gluten -> less structure ->extra kneading for more structure ->combine flours types for more structure-on structure: rules of thumb -> gluten 'light'->elastic, pliable dough as in pizza, cake, I favor this for an enriched bread and sticky buns -> gluten 'heavy'-> inelastic dough as in artisanal breads; better for really airy, hole structureHope this helps but like I said, there can be so many factors from ingredient and dough temperatures, humidity, type of yeast, etc. Yeast naturally comes to mind when you're dealing with rise but you said it rose but not as much.
Soft white winter wheat is fabulous for biscuits, pie crusts and cake, but not at all what you want for a sturdy bread.
The reason your bread didn't rise well is because of its low protein, or gluten, content. You can knead it from now until forever, and it's not going to develop enough gluten to literally hold itself up because it can't. As the dough began to rise, the gluten strands broke apart, allowing all the lovely carbon dioxide (which is formed as a by-product of the fermentation process) to slip away rather than being trapped inside pockets of strong gluten. When the CO2 remains trapped within the dough, it expands as the dough warms (heat is another by-product of fermentation), causing the dough to rise. As ChefJune says, use that lovely soft flour for biscuits, and use a higher protein flour for bread - in the range of 12% protein.