Grandma’s Homemade White Bread is the best, easy recipe with yeast, milk and shows how to make a loaf of soft, classic farmhouse fresh bread from scratch.
Easy White Bread Recipe
As we age we get a lot of suggestions what to eat and what not to eat when we have an appointment with our doctor. Ken and I are not getting any younger. So MOST of the time we try to stick with whole wheat breads and lower carb, healthier options.
Sometime I need to be a rebel. Sometime I need to walk on the wild side. When I get this feeling to be crazy, I go all out and bake…. a loaf of my Grandma’s Homemade White Bread. I’m telling you I was born to be wild!
Seriously though this recipe is a classic for a reason. This is how homemade bread is supposed to taste. It also is my number one favorite smell when it is baking. It’s like a hug from grandma herself!
I will say that in today’s society we want everything too fast and quick. My Grandma’s White Bread is not one of those recipes.
This is the type of recipe that will help you practice patience. It takes time to let the bread properly rise. In fact this recipes calls for the dough to rise three times. Trust me, it is worth the wait!
Some home cooks are afraid of baking with yeast. My Grandma’s White Bread is a great recipe to try it for the first time. It is not nearly as hard or scary as some think. The trick is to use warm water. If the water is too hot or too cold the yeast will not work.
I hope you join me on the wild side and make a loaf of My Grandma’s White Bread!
No chemicals at all. What’s not to love? I guarantee you’ll never want to go back to store bought white bread again after trying and tasting this recipe!
Loaf of Bread
If you’ve never made bread before, you have found the perfect recipe to make your first attempt. This recipe is simple and straightforward.
All of the women I know, make this recipe for homemade bread whenever possible. My friend Julie always makes a double batch so she ends up with four loaves and freezes 3 of them.
That being said, feel free to cut the recipe in half and make only one loaf, if you prefer. I always figure why not make two. It is very little extra work to make the second loaf, especially while you are working on the first one.
My grandmother would be amazed at the number of people that are enjoying her recipes, especially this white bread recipe. My son still makes it himself but then he has been making this recipe with me for so long I am not even sure he uses a recipe at all.
Making homemade bread is easier than you think.
Soft White Bread Recipe
This recipe is total white bread perfection. It’s super simple to follow and results in 2 loaves of the most wonderful bread that is terrific with anything and everything.
This white bread is amazing fresh, still warm from the oven with melted butter, as you would expect, but makes great sandwiches, toasted or not too!
Even grilled cheese tastes better with this homemade fresh bread! Really. I think everything does.
The only problem we ever have is whether the loaf survives the cooling down process. If we all are home the first loaf usually disappears at a fast pace, before it has totally cooled down.
There is something about a loaf of fresh white bread.
The texture is flawless, soft, fluffy and light and the loaves are an ideal shape.
Don’t forget that your entire house will smell like freshly baked bread when all is said and done. The best air freshener going my husband always says and the perfect way to start any day.
Fresh Yeast Bread Recipe
Bread baking is on the rise because nothing says home baked comfort food goodness like a perfectly baked crusty loaf of homemade bread, fresh from the oven. This recipe is over 50 years old and turns out beautifully every time.
Grandma’s make the best recipes and this is the only white bread recipe you’ll ever need.
This fresh bread with yeast is not like any store bought white bread, this homemade white bread recipe is sturdy and made with simple ingredients, mostly from your pantry.
I always feel a sense of accomplishment after baking and then eating fresh bread. As long as you have the time and can organize it, these loaves are well worth the effort.
Overall this recipe isn’t difficult and before you know it you will become an expert at making this bread too!
I’ve made this recipe for so many years that I can make it without measuring anything right now and you will get there too! Practice does make perfect!
Ingredients in Bread Like Grandma Made
- active dry yeast
- all purpose flour – If your dough is too dry or didn’t rise enough in the final proofing stage the cause is usually over measuring the flour. Baking is precise and you may be adding up to ⅓ more flour than the recipe actually calls for which can cause bread to be dry. If you have a scale, measure a proper cup of flour and it should be about 140 grams. The proper technique however is to spoon the flour into the measuring cup until overflowing, then run the back of a knife across the top to level it. This will result in perfectly measured flour every time.
- warm milk
- warm water
How to Make Bread
In a large bowl, combine 1 ½ tablespoons of sugar and water.
It’s possible to kill yeast if you use water that is too hot, so aim for slightly warmer than lukewarm, or about 105°F.
Sprinkle yeast over top of the mixture and allow it to sit for 10 minutes and foamy. The yeast puffs up and covers the surface of the water. If your yeast doesn’t foam up within ten minutes you might need to use slightly cooler water or get some fresh yeast.
My grandmother always said that as a general rule run tap water on top of the underside of your wrist or forearm until you can just tolerate the heat.
That is when you grab your large measuring cup or whatever heat resistant bowl you are using and add your water, sugar and then yeast.
I can hear her saying it now, at her kitchen sink, while holding her arm under the water and decreasing the heat.
If using an electric stand mixer, switch to the dough hook at this point and begin to slowly add the remaining 2 ¾ cups flour until incorporated.
If not using an electric mixer keep mixing in the flour gradually until a soft dough forms that leaves or releases from the sides of the bowl, and stays somewhat tacky to touch.
You may need to use another ½ cup of flour, maybe less. Depends on the time of year and humidity.
Turn the dough out onto the counter top or bread board to knead.
Knead the dough for an additional 10 minutes either in the electric mixer or using your hands on a cutting board or counter top.
Cover with a warm damp cloth and place in a warm area for 45 minutes. My grandmother always left the bread in front of the window with the sun shining on it. This bread needs to rise in a warm area or it will not rise properly.
Inside your stove is always an amazing option.
If your house is cool, your bread will take longer to rise. In the wintertime when my house is cooler than normal, I like to turn the oven on for 1 to 2 minutes, then turn it off and allow the bowl of dough to rise in there.
The oven traps warmth for a long time and it’s the perfect atmosphere for rising dough.
Stir in milk, remaining sugar, salt and butter until combined.
Stir in 5 to 6 cups of the remaining flour, enough to make a soft sticky dough.
Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for 10 to 15 minutes.
Going through the process of kneading bread dough is crucial for bread with great texture. Kneading dough allows gluten to form which enables dough to rise better, be lighter and fluffier.
You can knead by hand or with a mixer. The dough must be elastic and somewhat, sticky or tacky to touch and not stick to the side of the bowl. It must be easy for your dough to roll up into a smooth ball.
Incorporate as much flour as necessary to prevent sticking.
Form it into a ball and put it into a well buttered bowl. Coat the dough with butter also. Cover again with a warm, damp towel and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, back in a warm place, until it is double its original size.
Punch down the center of the dough. Punching the dough down quickly releases any air pockets that have developed and helps your bread have a more consistent rise and texture.
Separate dough into two pieces and form into 2 loaves. I used to use a kitchen scale to make sure they’re the same size, but you can definitely just make your best guess!
Next, you need to form your dough into a flat, even log to fit inside your bread pan. Turn bread dough onto a lightly floured surface and flatten it into a rectangle, removing any excess air.
All the seams of the dough should be on the same side and the opposite side should be smooth, stretched tight with as little wrinkles as possible.
Then carefully place into your prepared bread loaf pan, and gently press it into the corners and bottom of the pan.
Cover both loaves with a damp towel, and let rise again for about an hour.
This is called proofing and this rise will shape your loaf of bread. Proofing times can vary depending on temperature and weather. As you would expect, proofing in winter usually takes more time than summer.
The bread dough will double in size and form a sort of dome on top. There is also a poke test that will tell you if your dough is ready to go!
Also, when you gently press into the dough with your index finger, a dent will remain if your dough is ready to go. If your dough springs back without a dent, then your dough needs more time to proof.
If poking your finger causes the dough to fall, then the dough has proofed for too long and you will need to knead and form your dough so it can proof again. Usually that will fix your dough but sometimes it will not. You may need to start all over again.
The dough is ready to bake when it has almost doubled in size again. OR
You also have the option of cold proofing your bread at this point which is perfect if you want to bake fresh bread the next morning or much later in the day.
Place both bread pans in your fridge, covered in a clean dish towel. Remove pans from fridge and leave to rise until they double in size, another 1 to 2 hours inside your turned off oven or another warm place without drafts.
Scramble the egg and paint on top of both loaves before placing inside the oven. The egg will make your bread a beautiful golden brown color.
Bake in the middle of a preheated 425 degree oven for 5 minutes.
Lower the heat to 375 degrees and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool baked bread in the pan for 10 minutes. Paint loaf with melted butter for a softer crust.
Overturn pan and turn loaf out onto a cooling rack or folded towel to finish cooling.
If you leave the bread in the pan for much longer than that, you’ll steam it, which may cause some parts of your loaf to go soggy.
Serve and enjoy!
How to Store, Make Ahead and Freeze Homemade White Bread
Unfortunately, fresh, homemade white bread doesn’t last as long as I think it should. ? Without adding preservatives, like those found in store bought bread, you are likely going to be disappointed in how long your bread will last.
You will need to store your completely cooled bread in a resealable bag, with as much air removed as possible, or an airtight container, at room temperature, for between 2 and 3 days.
Keeping fresh bread in your fridge tends to dry the bread out at a faster rate.
To Make Ahead – Cold Proofing
You can easily make this recipe the day before, up until you proof your dough or the second rise in the loaf pans. This way you can bake your bread in the morning so your house smells great. What an amazing way to wake up!
This is called cold proofing your bread and is super easy.
Place both of your bread pans in your fridge, covered in a clean dish towel. In the morning, remove pans from your fridge and allow to rise until they double in size, another 1 to 2 hours inside your turned off oven or another warm place without drafts.
Then bake as directed.
This recipe makes two loaves so one can easily be placed inside your freezer until a later date. Feel free to freeze the entire loaf, half a loaf or even slices, if desired.
I usually freeze half a loaf and my son freezes 2 slices together at a time. Whatever works best to meet your needs.
Bread can be stored in your freezer for about 2 months.
To defrost or thaw your bread you can leave it in your fridge, on your counter or thrown directly into your oven, toaster or microwave as well.
Tips for making Farmhouse White Bread
- using a handheld or stand mixer makes bread making easier. You can knead the dough by hand, and I still do, but I have to warn you this isn’t a quick step. You must knead for as long as the recipe states in order to achieve the best loaf of bread possible.
- the amount of water or flour needed to make this homemade white bread can vary slightly each time you make it. Use this recipe as a guide, and know that you may have to adjust it a touch depending on the weather, exact type of flour and ingredients used. If you live in a moist climate, chances are you will likely need to add an ¼ cup to ½ cup more of flour. Add your flour little by little so you avoid adding too much which is a difficult or impossible fix. The dough must be somewhat sticky or tacky to touch and not stick to the side of the bowl. It must be easy for your dough to roll up into a smooth ball.
- you can use bread flour instead for a chewier bread texture but with bread flour you may need to use a little extra water to get the right consistency of your dough.
- the first rest or rise time, is important to allow the yeast and gluten to develop and improve the flavor of your end result. The second rise or proof is important to get a beautifully risen, light and airy bread loaf.
- if you allow your dough to rise too long or not enough you could be left with an unpleasant yeast flavor, a smaller, denser loaf, the crust doesn’t behave properly, or big air holes in your bread making each slice unstable.
- a fool proof method to ensure your bread is fully cooked is to use a thermometer. This recipe uses milk so the bread is cooked at 200 degrees. For the record if you are baking bread with no milk you want the internal temperature to be between 190 to 195 degrees.
- do not allow your loaves of bread to cool inside their pans or your bread can end up soggy on the bottom. Allow to cool for no more than 10 minutes in their pan and then place on a wire rack to finish off cooling.
- Start with fresh yeast and check your expiry dates. If your yeast is old or dead, your bread recipe will not work. Store yeast in your fridge which will help keep it fresh a bit longer. If your yeast isn’t bubbly and foamy within about ten minutes, throw it away and start over with fresh yeast.
- because proofing time can vary depending on the temperature and weather here is the test to know if your dough is perfectly proofed when you gently press into the dough with your index finger, a dent will remain if your dough is ready to go. If your dough springs back without a dent, then your dough needs more time to proof. If poking your finger causes the dough to fall, then the dough has proofed for too long and you will need to knead and form your dough so it can proof again. Usually that will fix your dough.
- Bake until the loaves are golden brown and then brush tops with melted butter which will soften up the crusts a little if you want.
- In a perfect world, allow your bread to cool before slicing it. I had to say it even though I rarely wait for the bread to totally cool down myself. If you do you will end up with better looking slices.
- Making breadcrumbs by allowing the one loaf to dry out and become somewhat hard. Next, using a food processor, grind and blend the crumbs evenly, do not over do it. Melt ½ cup butter in a large skillet, add crumbs, sprinkles of salt, pepper and even garlic powder or Italian seasoning. Stir until blended. Your crumbs will look like gritty sand. Allow to totally cool and store in an airtight container or resealable bag for up to 3 months.
- If your dough is too dry or didn’t rise enough in the final proofing stage the cause is usually over measuring the flour. Baking is precise and you may be adding up to ⅓ more flour than the recipe actually calls for which can cause bread to be dry. If you have a scale, measure a proper cup of flour and it should be about 140 grams. The proper technique however is to spoon the flour into the measuring cup until overflowing, then run the back of a knife across the top to level it. This will result in perfectly measured flour every time.
- Kneading dough helps to develop the flavor and texture of the bread, so don’t reduce or rush kneading time
- If your house is cool, your bread will take longer to rise. Try turning on your oven on for a minute or two, then turn it off and let your dough rise inside. The oven creates an ideal climate for rising dough.
- Allow your bread time to naturally rise. Don’t try and rush it or go to the next step until the bread has fully risen.
- If you have known hotspots in your oven, place your bread pans on the opposite side so you don’t have to open your oven door to adjust your pans, unless necessary. If one part of your loaf is darker than the others by all means open the oven door and rotate your pans.
Flavorful Homemade Bread Recipes with Yeast
Brazilian Cheese Bread (Gluten Free)
Grandma's Homemade White Bread
- 2 bread or loaf pans
- In a large bowl, combine 1 ½ tablespoons of sugar and water. Sprinkle yeast over top of the mixture and allow it to sit for 10 minutes and foamy.
- The yeast puffs up and covers the surface of the water. If your yeast doesn't foam up within ten minutes you might need to use slightly cooler water or get some fresh yeast.
- My grandmother always said that as a general rule run tap water on top of the underside of your wrist or forearm until you can just tolerate the heat. That is when you grab your large measuring cup, whatever heat resistant bowl you are using and add your water, sugar and then yeast.
- Stir in 2 ¾ cups of the flour until incorporated. Cover with a warm damp cloth and place in a warm area for 45 minutes. My grandmother always left the bread in front of the window with the sun shining on it. This bread needs to rise in a warm area or it will not rise properly.
- Stir in milk, remaining sugar, salt and butter until combined.
- Stir in 5 to 6 cups of the remaining flour, enough to make a soft sticky dough.
- Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for 10 to 15 minutes incorporating as much flour as necessary to prevent sticking. The dough should be smooth and elastic.
- Form it into a ball and put it into a well buttered bowl. Coat the dough with butter also. Cover again with a warm, damp towel and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, back in a warm place, until it is double its original size.
- Punch down the center of the dough. Separate dough into two pieces and form into 2 loaves. Put each into a buttered loaf pan. Cover with the warm, damp towel again and let them rise again, covered, for 30 to 45 minutes until they almost double in size again.
- Scramble the egg and paint on top of both loaves before placing inside the oven.
- Bake in the middle of a preheated 425 degree oven for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to 375 degrees and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden. Brush butter on top when it’s out of the oven and partially cooled and everyone will thank you. Turn onto a rack to cool.
- Serve and enjoy!