Have-it-on-hand-at-all-times Homemade Sandwich Bread.
This homemade white bread recipe turns sandwich suppers, a humble bowl of soup, or a simple piece of toast into something special.
Years ago, when our kids were little and the budget was tight, I decided to plant a vegetable garden. My initial interest in doing so was really for economic reasons. I figured that a few packets of seeds and seedlings could provide a healthy, economically savvy solution to our restricted grocery budget.
This proved to be true. That vegetable garden fed our little family well for the few years we had it. What I didn’t anticipate was the enormous satisfaction I felt from walking out into the garden on a warm summer evening and picking things for my family’s dinner that I had grown myself.
This is how I feel about homemade bread. Baking your own bread is economical and delicious. Yes, yes. But, it’s also enormously satisfying.
Is there anything as basic and extravagant as homemade bread?
I make at least one batch of homemade bread every single week. Homemade bread is completely commonplace around here, and yet somehow, it still hasn’t lost its novelty. We comment on how good it smells while it’s baking. We hover around warm loaves, wondering if they are cool enough to slice.
Homemade bread is always welcome, always delicious, and always a treat. Comfort food at it’s finest. It’s also a rare occurrence in most homes, at least in my little corner of the world.
I can cook dinner guests a gourmet feast of complicated, expensive dishes and you know what they can’t get enough of? The homemade bread.
We love and appreciate homemade bread – we just don’t bake it. I think this is partly because most people don’t realize how easy it is. The majority of the bread making process is hands-off. Mix the dough and let it sit. Shape the loaves and let them rise. Put the loaves in the oven and let them bake.
If you’re making bread by hand, the most involved part of the process is the kneading, which will only take you 10 minutes or so. (Kneading dough is also a great way to get out any pent up frustrations. I recently received a sweatshirt that says, “I bake because punching people is frowned upon.” There are days when a truer statement has not been uttered.)
If you have a standing mixer, even kneading the dough for this white bread recipe is hands-off.
I made homemade bread before I owned a standing mixer. But, I started making it weekly after receiving one. It just makes the process so incredibly easy. Dump the ingredients in the bowl and let the mixer do all the work of kneading them into bread dough.
You can even force the dough to rise in accordance with your schedule. For this homemade white bread recipe, there are two blocks of time during which the dough is left alone to rise. If you allow the dough to rise at room temperature, each rise will take about 45 minutes – 1 1/2 hours.
However, if you place the dough in the refrigerator to rise, you can slow the whole process down. Use this as needed to make bread baking fit your schedule. Mix up a batch of dough and let it rise in the refrigerator all day if you wish.
Another way to make bread baking suit your schedule is to punch it down after the first rise and let it rise again before shaping it into loaves and baking it. This will, in fact, make your homemade white bread loaves even more delicious because it’s during the rise time (also called “proofing”) that the bread’s flavor is developed.
One reason why you might not want to bake homemade bread…
I recently read an article about a woman in Rhode Island who is literally the town baker. It’s the kind of town where such a thing can still exist. Every week she bakes wholesome, hand crafted gorgeous loaves of bread, which she then delivers around town, stocking local shelves with the kind of happiness that only comes from a fresh loaf of homemade bread.
If you live in that Rhode Island town, buy that woman’s bread. Otherwise, it’s time to start baking.
Used to make this homemade white bread recipe:
More favorite homemade bread recipes:
- Buttery Homemade Dinner Rolls
- Homemade Flour Tortillas
- Homemade Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns
- Overnight Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
- Overnight Homemade Sticky Buns
For more delicious bread recipes, follow me on Pinterest.
Simple Homemade White Bread Recipe
- 2½ cups whole or 2% milk (warmed slightly, to between 80-100 degrees Fahrenheit)
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 6 cups (approximately) unbleached all-purpose bread flour
- 4 tbsp (1/2 stick or 2 oz.) butter, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp salt
- Add the milk, yeast and sugar to the bowl of a standing mixer and whisk with a fork to blend. Let the mixture rest for about 5 minutes, until the yeast is activated and looks creamy.
- Fit the mixer with the dough hook and add 4 cups of flour to the milk and yeast mixture. Turn the mixer to low (speed level 2 on a KitchenAid mixer) and beat to start to bring the dough together. As the dough beats, slowly add enough remaining flour to bring the dough together into a soft, smooth dough. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl, but stick slightly to the bottom.
- With the mixer running, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, to the dough. The butter will cause the dough to come off the dough hook. Don't be concerned. Continue to beat, adding a sprinkle of the salt in between additions of butter to give the dough something to cling to. Allow the dough to come together before adding another addition of butter. If the dough is too soft to come back together, simply sprinkle in a bit more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. It will take approximately 5 minutes to incorporate the butter.
- Once all the butter has been incorporated, allow the mixer to knead the dough for another 2-3 minutes, until the dough is elastic, smooth and soft, but not sticky. Add additional flour or milk, in very small amounts to achieve the right consistency.
- Spray a bowl large enough to hold double the amount of dough with non-stick spray, or coat it with a bit of melted butter. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl, shape it into a ball, and plop it down into the greased bowl. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with non-stick spray, or brush it with a bit of melted butter, and use it to cover the bowl.
- Let the dough rest at room temperature until it has doubled in size. Depending on the temperature of the room, this will take between 45 min, and 1½ hours.
- Spray two 8½ by 4½ inch loaf pans with non-stick spray, or coat with a bit of melted butter. Dump the dough out onto a clean work surface and divide into two pieces. Lift one piece of dough and form it into a ball by using your thumbs to gently stretching the outside of the dough into a ball, pinching the dough together at the bottom. Bring the opposite sides together and pinch together at the bottom. Lay the ball of dough on your work surface, and roll it back and forth a few times to create an oblong ball. Lay the dough, seam side down, into one of the loaf pans. Repeat with the other half of dough.
- Spray two sheets of plastic wrap with non-stick spray, or brush them with a bit of melted butter and loosely cover each loaf.
- Allow the loaves to rise at room temperature until they double in size again, rising over the tops of the pans, 45 minutes - 1½ hours.
- While the loaves rise, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. When the loaves are fully risen, bake for 35-45 minutes, until they are golden brown and an instant read thermometer plunged into the center of one of the loaves registers between 190 - 200 degrees.
- Remove from the oven and use a dish towel to grip the top of each loaf to lift it from the pan onto a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.
- Once cool. the loaves can be placed in paper bags or wrapped in plastic and stored for 2-3 days. at room temperature. For longer storage, wrap the bread airtight add freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature, still wrapped.