Best Ever Homemade Bread

Bread recipes are common, but this loaf of homemade bread is the winner after testing dozens of bread recipes!

 
Bread Recipes
 
A few years ago I went on a quest to find the very best homemade bread recipe. Here were my criteria for the perfect loaf of white bread:
 
– Super soft texture
– Slices well/doesn’t crumble
– No expensive ingredients (no honey, gluten, butter, eggs, milk)
– Easy to make
 
I wasn’t sure if it was possible, but after dozens of failed recipes and many loaves of so-so bread, I found it! THE VERY BEST homemade bread! And after using the same recipe for over a year, I am convinced.
 
Homemade Bread

It meets every single requirement. This bread is so tender it melts in your mouth. It doesn’t fall apart when sliced and whoa, baby… it makes the most amazing toast. Plus it uses the very most basic ingredients, so it’s cheap to make. When we power through a loaf in five seconds flat, I don’t feel bad.

This recipe makes one perfect loaf. It can be doubled as long as your stand mixer or bread machine is large enough to handle double the dough.

White bread recipe

Tips for Making Homemade Bread

Water Temperature

  • Cold water slows the rising yeast. Water that is too hot will kill the yeast. Warm water is best for bread making. I like to think of it as “baby bath” temperature.

Yeast

  • Yeast is available for sale in packets, jars and bricks. You can find it in the baking aisle at any grocery store. I bake a lot, so I buy the two pound bricks and store them in a glass mason jar in the fridge. If you only bake every so often, the packets or smaller jars might be better. Keep the yeast in a dry, cool place.
  • Newly purchased yeast doesn’t need to be proofed, but if you find an old yeast jar in the back of your pantry and wonder if it’s still good, there’s an easy way to test it. Mix 1 teaspoon of yeast with 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 cup water. If after 10 minutes or so, the mixture looks bubbly, the yeast is still good to use. If there are no bubbles, the yeast is probably no longer usable.

Flour Measurements

  • Bread recipes never specify an exact amount of flour because it’s better to do it by feel. Start with the minimum amount of flour, mix it together with the other ingredients, then add more flour gradually until the dough is no longer sticky.
  • Adding too much flour will make your bread stiff and crumbly. That is the other reason that you should start with the smaller measurement of flour and then add it gradually… you can always add more flour, but it’s much harder to fix the dough if you add too much flour.

Mixing

  • For years I mixed my bread dough in a bread machine, then transferred the dough to a bread pan and baked it in the oven. Bread machines are great because you just dump the ingredients in and walk away. They mix and knead the dough for you. They also keep the dough warm, so it rises faster.
  • Now I use a KitchenAid to mix my bread dough. I use the dough hook attachment and let the machine knead the dough for me. When the dough gets to the right consistency, I just cover the mixer bowl with a clean towel for rise time.
  • If you make bread by hand, mix the ingredients in a big bowl, then knead on a kitchen counter. Watch this 40 second video to see how to knead bread by hand.

Kneading

  • Kneading is an important step in the bread-making process because it develops the gluten structure and makes the dough have that stretchy, elastic feel.
  • You’ll know you’ve kneaded the dough long enough when it passes The Windowpane Test. If you can stretch a piece of dough thin enough to see light pass through it (like a windowpane) then the dough has been kneaded long enough.

Rising

  • Rise time is also an important part of bread making. If you don’t give the dough enough time to rise, you’ll end up with a loaf that is too dense. If you let the dough rise too long, the dough structure won’t be able to support the giant bubbles and it’ll collapse.
  • Rise times can vary based on the temperature of the air, the type of yeast, the exact amount of flour used, etc. so times are usually a suggestion and the size growth of the dough is a better indicator.
  • Bread requires two rise times. Place the freshly kneaded dough in a bowl and cover the top with a clean towel. This first rise is when the yeast will do its magic and make your bread airy and fluffy. After the dough has doubled in size, you’ll shape it into a loaf shape and place it in a greased bread pan.
  • Then it’s time for the second rise. I like to wait until the bread is about the size I want it to end up once baked. If you wait too long on the second rise and the dough collapses, don’t panic. You can still save it! Just reshape the dough into a loaf and let it rise again, but don’t wait so long.
Baking
  • I use metal bread pans and grease them with butter. You can use glass bread pans, although it may change baking times, so watch it closely.
  • Bread is done baking when the crust is a dark golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped. Or if you have a food thermometer, bread is done when it reaches 190 degrees F in the center.
4.65 from 17 votes
The Best Homemade Bread

This makes one loaf of soft, delicious homemade bread.

Author: The Craft Patch www.thecraftpatchblog.com
Ingredients
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2.5 – 3.5 cups flour (start with 2.5 cups and add more as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer or bread machine, add the water, sugar and yeast and let sit for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until a nice ball forms. The dough should feel elastic, but not dry. Add more flour if dough is sticky.
  2. Let dough rise in a warm place until double, about 1.5 hours. Shape into a smooth log and place in a greased bread pan. Let rise again, about 20 minutes. I usually let it go until it looks the right size for a loaf of bread. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, until bread is dark golden and sounds hollow when tapped.

 Pin the image below so you can find this recipe later!

Looking for a whole wheat bread recipe instead? This one is my favorite:

Whole Wheat Bread Recipe
100% Whole Wheat Bread

 

118 COMMENTS

  1. These are the exact measurements my father taught me (he was a construction worker during the 50's who liked to bake every Saturday!). He had another recipe (with egg, which really isn't too expensive but some people like to avoid for various reasons) that he used for dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls. Oh, wow — now I want to go make both kinds this afternoon. Arthritis has made it difficult for me to knead and I just got a food processor that is supposed to do the job. I hope it does. I don't think the cheaper bread machines do a good job of kneading and like you, I don't like how they bake.

    • That's so neat, Lindi! I use another recipe for rolls and cinnamon rolls too. It has egg, butter and milk in it and makes for a much richer dough which is perfect for rolls.

      I hope your new food processor works well. There's something so satisfying about making homemade bread, isn't there?!

  2. I just made this bread for the first time. I used coconut oil instead of vegetable oil and dusted with coconut flour. This is the most heavenly bread ever. I've found my new go to bread recipe.

  3. Making this bread in a few minutes, Jennifer! I'd like to thank you for the very brief comments prior to posting the recipe. I don't like scrolling & scrolling & scrolling through someone's blog to get to a recipe.

  4. I've been making breads for years, and during that time taught classes on it. I always use unbleached flour, to avoid the bleaching process. It's just not good for you. If I want whole wheat bread, I use approximately 60% whole wheat flour and finish with unbleached. I substitute oils without changing the measurements. If you use butter or shortening instead of oil, you may need a bit less flour, but you probably won't notice a change in texture…just taste. I don't change the measurement on the oil. Starting the bread in a machine does save kneading, which is great for those of us with joint problems, although I do like to finish with a few turns of hand kneading. This recipe looks fantastic. I'm so glad to see young women carrying on this wonderful and satisfying skill.

  5. I'm not sure what is going on but I have tried this twice and mine just doesn't rise. It is hard as a rock and horrible. I've followed the directions exactly. Same results both times. 🙁

    • Oh, no Laura! I'm so sorry you're having trouble. It's hard for me to guess long distance what the problem is, but since the bread is hard, I think it's probably something to do with the yeast and rising. What type of yeast are you using and how old is it? Do you give the bread plenty of time to raise, then shape it, put it in the pan and raise again?

  6. I'm using Fleishmann's yeast and I just bought it last week. The second time I gave the bread an extra hour to rise…no different.

    • Well, that does it. I am completely stumped. I have no idea why it isn't working. Maybe you could try a completely different recipe and see if it works, then you'll know whether it's the ingredients or the recipe. Good luck Laura, and I'm so sorry you've had so much trouble!

    • Usually if you move the pan up a rack in the oven, the top will brown quicker. Or you can brush the top with egg white before baking. Or make a sugar water mixture in a spray bottle and spray that on two or three times during baking. Hope that helps!

  7. Messed mine up big time. First rise didn’t work. Tried a second time. Slight improvement. Seemed like too much liquid? Put it in oven anyway. Will probably have a laugh when it comes out. I will try again!

  8. Made my first loaf of this bread today. I always mess with recipes. Used instant yeast, added half cup of whole grain cereal, increased water by half cup to accommodate the cereal, used the dough cycle on bread machine. Had to go an extra 15 minutes in the oven but I love the result! Grains added a bit of crunch. Thank you!

  9. I tried to make this twice today. BOTH times the dough didn’t rise at all. Yes I had it in a warm place to rise. I’ve made other bread before with great success. Very disappointed in this recipe.

    • If your bread didn’t rise, it was not the recipe’s fault… it was the yeast. Was the yeast old? Did you check to make sure it was active? If your water was too hot, that would kill the yeast or if the yeast comes into direct contact with salt, that also kills it.

      • Wow, Jennifer! I’ve always known that too hot water will kill the yeast, but this is the first time I’ve heard that direct contact with salt will kill yeast, too. Thanks for the info.

    • If you want it crusty, don’t cut into it and leave it loosely wrapped in a breathable cotton towel. I like mine to stay soft, so I put it in a plastic bread bag.

  10. hello,
    I’m new to your website. We live in WA state and got a huge snowstorm resulting in empty shelves at the grocery stores. This led me to look for a bread recipe I can make at home and sooooo glad I came across this one! I have made it 3 times already, doubling the recipe each time and it is absolutely divine!! my husband and kids devour it within a day haha. Thank you so much for an awesome recipe!

  11. Hi Jennifer! My daughter and I used your recipe for our very first homemade bread. It was so simple and 😄 Delicious! Thank you for sharing 💖 Next time I want to try the wheat bread recipe 😃👍

  12. I have never been a bread maker but love the way this recipe comes out. So soft and airy. Use my bread maker to mix and kneed. Makes it so easy. Doubleing for 1st time today. Hope it comes out good. Thanks for the recipe

  13. Followed the recipe to a T. Active yeast, not old. EVERYTHING was followed by the recipe. The bread didn’t rise and came out as hard as a brick! 🙁 I’ll try again.

    • Jana, Oh no! I’m so sorry! Bread can be tricky that way… there are so many variables. Did you let your salt touch your yeast? Was your water too hot? Both of those things would kill the yeast. Did you let the bread double in size during the first rise and then double again in size once it was shaped and in the bread pan? Just throwing out ideas. Hopefully you can figure out where you went wrong. Good luck!

  14. omgosh…. totally goofed and put 2 TABLESPOONS of yeast instead if 2 teaspoons 😂😂😂 I’ll let you know how it comes out🤦🏻‍♀️

  15. Hi!! Loved the recipe. Fast and easy. My first loaf I made accidentally, without salt. Did everything in a mixer. Taste is whatever but the look is perfect. Great rise and loaf shape. Literally the best loaf I’ve ever made. Second loaf I decided to try by hand, with all the ingredients this time. I felt like the dough was in better shape too…more moist.However the shape of the second loaf takes on the shape of a brick. Half the rise as the first. What did do? 😢

    • It sounds like something must have gone wrong with your yeast. If it didn’t rise, maybe the water was too hot? Or you didn’t allow enough time for the dough to rise? It could also be because you mixed by hand and didn’t knead the dough long enough to develop a good gluten structure. So many factors when baking bread, it’s hard for me to guess long distance. I hope you’ll try again, though. Good luck!

  16. Hey I made this recipe yesterday. I used rapid rise yeast or instant yeast. Is that ok to use?? I followed instructions to a tee. During first rise could I put in my oven? I have a proof option?? Also could I add more surgar??

  17. I made this bread last night and everyone loved it! And it was super easy! The only thing is I feel like it needs to be a little sweeter. Will it mess up the recipe if I added more sugar?

    Thanks,
    Erica

  18. How do you store this bread after you’ve made it?? So, many comments. I thought someone might have asked this, but didn’t find the comment after looking at a bunch! Thanks!

  19. Mine is rising now. 😉 With bread flying off the shelves I thought this this was a good idea. Plus I LOVE HOMEMADE BREAD

  20. If someone could tell me how long to let it kneed in a kitchen aid, that would be so helpful. I’m thinking 5-7 minutes?

  21. Just made the bread last night, my youngest son loves it has eaten practically the entire loaf, my oldest son asked me to make hoagies out of the dough, well I did it, I got 4 large hoagie rolls, used 6.2 oz of dough per roll. Thanks for providing a great recipe was going to send a pic but was unable to attach.

  22. Woo the best bread l have ever tasted & made just easy perfect. Thanks soo much l kneaded with my hands .added in more water as l had nuts in soo it was 1cup & quarter warm water.

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