Fresh homemade bread is one of my comfort foods for sure! A warm slice slathered in butter and drizzled with honey is a little piece of heaven. Learn how to make your own bread for your family.
Isn’t white bread unhealthy?
So if you are currently buying your bread from the store – even whole wheat bread – homemade white bread is a huge step in the healthy direction.
Your homemade white bread isn’t going to be full of preservatives to make it last a week on the shelf. It won’t have fillers to make it just perfectly fluffy and spongey, either.
Now if you want to be the purist, you will make your bread from sprouted, fresh ground grains with sourdough starter
That’s a lot of work. I don’t want to scare you off from making your own bread, so we will just start with what you have on hand.
Plus, if you are making food changes for your family, homemade white bread can be a nice transition into healthier homemade breads.
Then there’s my husband:
He loves most of what I make – even fresh ground whole wheat bread. But he still longs for his beloved white bread.
So I keep some of each on hand.
We have a small chest freezer so I have room to store a couple loaves of white bread and a couple loaves of my wheat bread.
Depending on his hankering in the moment, he can take his pick.
What I do to Make My White Bread a Little Healthier
I buy a 25 pound bag of unbleached, unbromated white flour. It looks and acts the same as flour off the store shelf except it’s a little more expensive.
Buying it in bulk saves me a few bucks, though.
I also use butter for the oil in my recipe. No dangerous or unstable vegetable oils here!
Also, if I have whey on hand, I will substitute some of the water in the recipe for whey. Whey is a superfood full of beneficial enzymes and bacteria.
Sometimes I make my bread with 1/2 white flour, 1/2 whole wheat. My husband likes this bread because it still has the texture of white bread.
I must mention that fresh ground whole wheat makes a much fluffier loaf of bread. Whenever I add whole wheat to my bread, it is fresh ground.
Read More: A Few of My Favorite Things
How to Store Homemade Bread
If you have a large family, three or six loaves of bread might not last longer than a week in your house. Great!
But if you have a small family like mine, bread lasts a long time. Actually, it starts to mold because we don’t use three loaves (a half recipe) fast enough.
So I make three loaves, throw two in the freezer and keep the third in the fridge.
In the fridge, bread will last a month or so.
Remember, homemade bread isn’t filled with preservatives so refrigeration or freezing is required to extend it’s shelf life.
Homemade bread is much easier to slice after it’s been refrigerated. With a sharp, serrated knife you can get a beautiful, thin piece of bread.
If you have littles in the house, consider slicing the whole loaf at once so that they don’t have to get out a bread knife and cut wonky every time they want a snack.
I just cut freestyle. Grab this bread cutter for more uniform and easy slicing!
Read More: Cooking for the Freezer: How to Make and Bake Ahead
Don’t have room to store your extra loaves?
Remember, a loaf of bread makes a wonderful gift for a neighbor, elderly person, new mom or someone who’s laid up.
Or cube a loaf and season to your liking. Bake the cubes and you have your own croutons!
Now on to the Recipe!
Making bread requires a good half a day at home. Not that much hands on time required, just babysitting time.
I like to start mixing up my bread right before breakfast. I mix up all the ingredients except half of the flour. This will leave you with a soupy mixture. At this point, I let it sponge (or rise) while we eat and then after breakfast I add the rest of my flour.
Once I have added enough flour that I can no longer stir it, I grease my hands with butter and begin kneading it. I like my bread dough to be a little sticky so I only add a bit of flour at a time and knead it in completely so I don’t accidentally add too much flour.
You can see in this first picture below that my dough is lumpy and far from smooth. This is the point that I quit adding flour. I grease the bottom and sides of the bowl with butter, cover it with a lid or damp cloth and let it rise to double in size.
After your dough has doubled, knead it down with greased hands. You can see below how the dough is becoming a more beautiful texture.
Let the dough rise to double in size again. Usually the second time it rises much faster!
Once the dough has doubled in size, prep six bread pans (three for a half batch) by greasing them very well with butter. Focus on the corners and grease all the way up the sides. [My bread pans are from my grandmothers. Who knows how old they are but they are tin so they have lost their “pretty” a long time a ago!]
If you have a choice, go with glass or stainless steel bread pans to avoid leaching.
Next, divide the dough into six even portions. I just guess, but you can weigh them if you like. If you prefer a perfect shaped loaf, roll the dough out on a greased surface and roll the short end like you would cinnamon rolls. Tuck the ends under slightly and set in the pan.
I like to just work the dough with greased hands. By folding the dough into itself over and over again I get my desired shape. I lay the loaf in the pan and stick it all over with a fork to allow trapped air to escape.
I let the loaves rise on top of my stove because I’m preheating my oven to 350 at this time. The extra warmth helps the loaves rise faster.
Again, I let the dough double in size and then set them in the oven gently so the loaves don’t fall.
I bake them for 20 to 30 minutes (depends on your oven). Usually until golden brown.
Remove the baked bread to cooling racks. I like to slather the top with butter while the loaves are still hot. I think this is what pastry brushes are for, but I’m lazy so I just rub a whole stick on the loaf! Let the bread sit in the pans for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, gently flip the loaves out onto the racks and let them finish cooling off.
Bag only after they are completely cooled.
- 6 cups water or whey
- 1 cup melted butter
- 1 cup honey or sugar
- 2 tbsp salt
- 3 tbsp yeast Make them heaping.
- flour Can be half whole wheat.
In large mixing bowl (10 quart bowl or bigger) combine water, butter, sweetener, salt and 3 cups of flour. Mix well but can still be lumpy.
Add more flour and sprinkle the yeast on top. (Because of the melted butter will be hot and the water cold, this will make a warm temperature to allow the yeast to grow.) Mix this in well and add just enough flour to make a soupy mixture.
Let the soupy mixture rise for 20 minutes or so.
Continue adding flour until you are kneading it in with greased hands. Stop adding flour when the dough is still sticky.
Knead a bit longer with greased hands.
Grease the bottom and sides of the bowl with butter and cover. Let the dough rise until double in size.
Knead down the dough and cover to let rise again.
Grease 6 bread pans. Divide and shape dough. Place dough into each pan and stick all over with a fork.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Let loaves rise to double in size.
Bake loaves at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Set pans on cooling racks and butter tops of loaves.
After 10 minutes, remove loaves from pans to finish cooling.
Enjoy a fresh, warm slice of homemade bread with lots of butter!