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This BEST bread recipe makes the most deliciously fluffy loaf of white bread. It tastes so much better than store-bought!
a Family Favorite!
My very favorite kind of bread, though, is a fluffy white loaf of this bread recipe.
I taught myself to bake perfect bread, and it has totally changed my life! It’s perfect for morning toast, sandwiches, or a batch of French toast.
As long as you plan ahead a little for the rise times, it’s really not very much work, and well worth the effort.
Cost Effective and Healthier
I can find a cheap loaf of bread at the grocery store, but it comes with a long list of ingredients – some of which I cannot even pronounce.
If I want to buy bread with quality ingredients, then I’m spending 3-4 times more, especially if I’m shopping at local bakeries or buying artisan bread.
Making this homemade bread recipe will cost about $1.25 worth of ingredients per loaf and I get to control exactly what ingredients I use!
How to Make Bread
This easy bread recipe is really quite simple! It just takes a bit of time.
Start with good yeast! If your yeast is old or dead, your easy bread recipe is going nowhere fast. I store my yeast in the fridge at all times, and that helps to keep it fresh.
YEAST. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in warm water with a pinch of sugar.
COMBINE. When the yeast mixture is bubbly and foamy, add the sugar, salt, oil, and 4 cups flour, and mix with a dough hook until smooth.
KNEAD. Add the remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, to form a soft, smooth dough. The dough should stick just slightly to your finger when touched, but not be overly sticky. Knead for 5-7 minutes, until smooth, then roll into a ball.
rising + Proofing
This is the part that, while very easy, requires a bit of patience!
RISE. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn over once to coat the top with oil, and cover with plastic wrap. (Use olive oil or cooking spray to coat the bowl.) Let rise for one hour, or until doubled.
SHAPE. When the dough has risen, punch it down gently and divide it in half. On a non-stick baking mat or lightly floured surface, roll each half of the dough into a long rectangle about 8 inches wide.
Roll the dough up, starting at the short edge, to form a cylinder that is approximately 8 inches wide. Repeat with the remaining dough.
2ND RISE. Place the dough, seam side down, into lightly greased bread pans, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for one hour, or until the dough is ½-1 inch higher than the top of the pan.
Here are a few tips when proofing the dough. It’s best to use a heatproof glass or metal bowl:
Oil the bowl before adding the dough to rise. This will keep it from sticking when it is dumped out and shaped.
Cover the bowl. Lock in moisture by covering the bowl with a piece of oiled plastic wrap, unless otherwise noted.
Air temperature can affect the proof time. A warmer environment will allow the dough to rise faster. A cooler area will slow down the process.
A quicker proof time. Create a warmer environment and reduce the amount of time it takes to rise in a few different ways:
- Preheat your oven to 200°F then turn it OFF. Place the dough in an oven-safe bowl and cover it with a warm damp tea towel. Stick it in the oven until the dough has doubled in size.
- Heat up a bowl of water. Put the bowl of dough on top of the hot water bowl, making sure that the water doesn’t touch the bowl of dough.
- Place the bowl of dough near a warmer area in your home such as a fireplace or warm slow cooker.
Doneness. Visually observe when the dough has doubled in size and use that as an indicator of doneness.
To further tell if the bread has been proofed just right, poke your finger into the top of the dough.
- Bounces back immediately – continue proofing.
- Doesn’t bounce back at all – it is over-proofed.
- Bounces back halfway – it’s perfect!
How to Make Homemade Bread
Now it’s time to bake this white bread recipe.
PREP. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
BAKE. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.
I like to brush my loaves with a little melted butter after baking, but it’s totally optional. I like that it helps to soften the top crust just a little, and a little extra butter is always a good thing, right?
COOL. Remove to a cooling rack and cool before slicing. MAKES 2 LOAVES.
Slice When the Bread is Cool!
Cut as thin or thick as you wish. Use a bread knife with a serrated edge that is long enough to make a sawing motion. Do not push down to cut the bread. Instead, saw the bread using the whole length of the knife with light pressure.
Although I’m often so hungry for warm bread that I eat it hot! My favorite way to eat it is warm from the oven, smothered with fresh Honey Butter.
Even if you’re a bread novice, you should definitely give this easy recipe a try!
all Things Flour
Create a fluffy loaf with these flour tips.
Bread flour comes in both whole wheat and white versions and has a higher percentage of protein than all-purpose flour. This protein produces extra gluten strands which trap air and produce the airy and chewy texture perfect for bread.
- Make your own bread flour substitution by measuring out 1 cup (4½ ounces) of all-purpose flour.
- Remove 1½ teaspoons of the flour and replace it with 1½ teaspoons of vital wheat gluten.
- Sift and use this mixture whenever a recipe calls for bread flour.
If you don’t have bread flour and can’t make your own substitution use all-purpose flour. Just note that it won’t have as chewy of a texture.
Whole wheat flour. Wheat flour especially can yield heavier bread. If you wish to use whole wheat flour it is suggested to use white wheat bread flour. You can also combine ½ wheat flour with ½ white flour.
Heavy and dense bread. A few common reasons that bread turns out heavy and dense include:
- Adding too much flour. It’s always best to scoop the flour into the measuring cup with a spoon and level it off. Be mindful of how much flour you add while kneading.
- Under or over proofing. It is really important that the dough rises well. If you don’t allow it to rise long enough it will be dense. If you proof it for too long, it will fall and also become dense.
- Over kneading. This is really hard to do when you knead by hand, as your hands will tire before it can happen. However, it can happen if you let a stand mixer knead for too long or at too high of a setting.
Repurpose Your Homemade Bread
Use this bread in some of our favorite recipes:
Make bread crumbs. Let 1 loaf of bread dry out and become firmer.
- Use a food processor to blend the crumbs evenly – do not over-process.
- Melt ½ cup butter in a large pan and add the crumbs along with some salt and pepper.
- Stir until evenly coated. Keep stirring until crumbs sound like sand.
- Let cool and store in Ziploc bags with zipper seals for up to 6 months!
STORE. Cool completely and place in a Ziploc bag or wrap in foil. This best bread recipe should last 2 to 3 days stored at room temperature.
FREEZE. Slice the loaf all the way through, place it in a plastic bread bag, and freeze it as soon as it has cooled completely.
To thaw, pop the loaf in the fridge for a few hours. I love that I can pull out a few slices as needed for toast, or an entire loaf for soup night, or for sandwiches for school lunches.
Freeze the bread dough. Add twice as much yeast to compensate for any yeast that will die in the freezer.
- Allow the dough to rise the first time, then shape it into loaves and place them into greased bread loaf pans or directly on a greased baking sheet.
- Place them in the freezer and freeze until solid.
- Wrap each loaf with plastic and again with aluminum foil. Label and freeze for up to 6 months.
To bake – unwrap and place in a greased bread pan. Cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap. Allow it to thaw for several hours and then rise until it is about doubled in size. Bake according to recipe directions.
If you don’t have bread flour, you can replace it with an equal amount of all-purpose flour. The bread will have a slightly different texture, but will still turn out delicious. You can also make your own bread flour using vital wheat gluten. (See above for recipe)
Baking is a science and any deviation from the steps can affect the end result. A few common reasons for dense bread include adding too much flour, not proofing properly, and over-kneading. Over-kneading is hard to do by hand but can happen when you use an electric mixer.
Absolutely! Just follow the recipe, but do not let it rise a second time. place the shaped loaves into the greased bread loaf pans, but do not let them rise a second time. Place them in the freezer until solid, then wrap each loaf with plastic and again with aluminum foil. Label and freeze for up to 6 months.
For More Bread Recipes, Check Out:
- French Bread
- Cinnamon Bread
- Cream Cheese Banana bread
- Best Banana Bread Recipe
- Homemade Naan
- Focaccia Bread
- Whole Wheat Bread
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in warm water with a pinch of sugar. When the yeast is bubbly and foamy, add the sugar, salt, oil, and 4 cups flour, and mix until smooth.
- Add remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, to form a soft, smooth dough. The dough should stick just slightly to your finger when touched, but not be overly sticky. Knead for 5-7 minutes, until smooth, then roll into a ball.
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn over once to coat the top with oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for one hour, or until doubled.
- When the dough has risen, punch it down gently and divide it in half. Roll each half of the dough into a long rectangle about 8 inches wide. Roll the dough up, starting at the short edge, to form a cylinder that is approximately 8 inches wide. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Place the dough, seam side down, into lightly greased bread pans, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for one hour, or until the dough is ½ – 1 inch higher than the top of the pan.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Brush with melted butter, if desired. Remove to a cooling rack and cool before slicing. MAKES 2 LOAVES.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
For more delicious recipes by Alicia, head on over to The Baker Upstairs.