If you're looking for a soft and chewy white bread that's perfect for sandwiches, toast, and snacking- this 5 Ingredient White Bread Recipe is it!
I love EVERYTHING about making homemade white bread! The smell of the yeast dough proofing and baking, all the way up to seeing that gorgeous golden top crust and slicing through to reveal the soft fluffy crumb inside.
This dairy free sandwich bread recipe is easy, simple, and PERFECT for beginner bread makers. Speaking of bread makers, I've included steps below and on the recipe card explaining how to make milk free white bread in the bread machine if you don't wish to make it by hand.
🍯 Why This Recipe Works
- It's super simple! This recipe just needs a few basic pantry staples (most of which you probably have on hand right now!)
- You can make it by hand or bread machine. Using a bread machine really cuts down on time and effort without sacrificing taste. I like to use my bread machine to prep and proof the dough, then turn it into a loaf pan for the final proof and bake.
- This recipe is beginner friendly. If you've never made bread before, you're in luck. This recipe is great for beginners! Just follow along with the thoughtful tips and tricks in this post and you should have no issues.
Flour- You can use all-purpose flour or bread flour, depending on what you have on hand. Both are great, but bread flour has more protein and will give you a slightly chewier texture and stronger bread flavor.
Yeast- You can use any dry active or instant yeast. We will not be proofing the yeast beforehand, so make sure the expiration date on your yeast packet is still good.
Sugar- To feed the yeast, we need to add in a little granulated sugar. You could use honey or agave if desired.
Water- This is technically "not an ingredient" since it's not something you'd buy at a store. The water is used to bring the dough together and give it the moisture needed for baking. Room temperature water (or slightly warmed) is best. The optimal temperature is 110F.
For specific ingredients and measurements, please see the recipe card below.
🔪 Instructions for Homemade White Bread Recipe
Step 1: Add flour, yeast, and salt to a large mixing bowl.
Step 2: Whisk together to combine.
Step 3: Make a well in the center and add in the sugar, oil, and water.
Step 4: Stir the dough to combine. The dough will appear shaggy.
Step 5: Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Feed it more flour as needed as you knead for 10 minutes. It shouldn't be sticking to your fingers.
Step 6: Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. If pressed, it should "spring back" to fill in the gap.
Step 7: Place your dough into a clean greased mixing bowl. Top with plastic wrap.
Step 8: Let rise 1 hr or until doubled in size.
Step 9: Punch down the dough.
Step 10: Roll the dough back out onto a floured surface and shape it into a log and place it into your greased bread pan.
Step 11: Cover the top of the dough with plastic wrap again and wait about an hour until doubled in size.
Step 12: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake the bread for 30-35 minutes.
Step 13: Cool the bread for at least one hour before slicing.
Bread Machine Option
- Place the dough ingredients into your bread machine in the order specified by the owner's manual. Mine goes from wets to dry with yeast being added last.
- Close the lid and set the machine to "dough cycle" and wait for the beep at the end.
- Take your dough and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Knead about a minute and then shape into a log.
- Place the log into the greased bread pan, tucking under the ends.
- Cover and let rise 1 hour until doubled.
- Bake 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees F until golden brown.
- Let cool an hour before slicing.
🍴 Recipe Tips
Listen to Your Loaf
If you've never made bread before (whether it is bread with dairy or bread without dairy), there's a thing you should note. When bread immediately comes out of the oven, the crust should be hard and sound hollow when tapped.
As the loaf cools, the bread crust softens. Similar to how some pancakes feel firm when finished, but as they sit on a plate, they become flexible and soft.
A Tip for a Golden Top
I like to brush the top of my bread with butter as soon as it comes out of the oven to give me a nice shine and help add moisture to the crust.
Speaking of moisture in the crust, those little crackles you see on the crust of the bread as it cools are a GOOD THING. So are tiny white spots if your crust develops them. These are tell-tale signs that the crust has a good amount of moisture inside, making the bread nice and soft.
Score the Dough
If desired, just before baking your bread loaf, you can score the top of the proofed dough with a sharp knife. This will help to keep your bread from going lopsided as it bakes and gives it somewhere to expand.
Of course, bread does have a mind of its own, so it's more like a helpful suggestion from you to the dough to do what you want. It can still choose to surprise you.
Wait Before Serving
Make sure you wait at least an hour (if not more) before slicing into the bread with a serrated knife after it cools. This time is important for the bread to soften, retain moisture locked inside, and become that fluffy white sandwich bread that rivals that of storebought.
👩🏻🍳 Common Issues and Solutions
🍞Why is my bread tearing?
If your dough tears when being baked, it's because the elasticity in the gluten didn't get to spring to life as it should have. This could be from the dough drying out during the proofing.
It's basically like the bread dough created a crust before it baked, so the dough didn't have anywhere to expand as it was being baked and created its own exit paths. This is why some people will cut a line down their loaf before baking, to encourage the tearing to happen only where they want it to.
If your bread tears or falls apart as it's being sliced, This is most likely because the bread was under-kneaded and the gluten wasn't properly developed. Make sure it's properly kneaded before proofing.
Another cause is under proofing. While most recipes will say to rise for 1 hour or until doubled. Many people choose the 1 hour wait time and will bake the bread before it has actually doubled.
Please wait until the bread has risen to double its original size, and just use the "listed time" as a guestimate, as it can be faster or longer depending on many different factors.
🍞How do I know if my bread is done?
The internal temperature of the bread should be around 190-205F. Stick close to the specific bread recipe you're using, as the baker often gives a temperature to check for. Underbaking your bread by even 10 degrees can cause different results than expected.
🍞Why is my bread dense in the center?
Did you slice it while the loaf was still warm? Did it reach the proper temperature, or was it underbaked? Are you sure you kneaded it well enough? All of these things can cause your loaf to be dense in the middle.
🥖 How Long to Proof Dough
The time needed to proof dough truly varies from person to person. It depends upon the weather, climate, wind drafts, temperature of ingredients, age of the yeast, and more.
On average, it can take anywhere between 1 hour to 3 hours for the dough to proof properly, but some people can see it happen in as little as 30 minutes.
The goal is not waiting to a specific time but instead looking for a specific response from the dough. We want the dough to be doubled in size, and whether that takes one hour or more, we shouldn't jump straight into the next step before completing this one.
You should expect that it will take about 1 hour for your dough to double in size and proof, but here are some tips for getting it there.
- Cover the bowl of dough with greased plastic wrap. This helps to prevent the dough from drying out and helps to trap the heat. The cooking spray on the plastic wrap helps to prevent it from sticking to the dough.
- Store it in a warm location. I like to preheat my oven to 200 degrees F for 2 minutes and then turn it off. Then I place the bowl in the oven and let it rise until doubled.
Other locations to place your dough include:
- Inside your closed microwave
- Inside a closed oven with just the oven light turned on
- On a hot and sunny day, your kitchen's countertop can work well too
🍞 How to Knead Bread Dough
Kneading your dough with an electric mixer using dough hooks is simple and easy, but my favorite method is to do it by hand because you're far less likely to overwork the dough when doing it this way.
Knead the dough by hand by placing it onto a floured surface and using two hands to roll it out into an oval, pull back half, so it's sandwiched together, and repeat.
Smoosh the dough as you roll it back out into an oval, and bring it back. Every few times, rotate the dough about 90 degrees so that you can get all of the dough worked into the process.
When the dough is smooth and elastic, it's finished. This takes about 10 minutes by hand, faster if you're quick, but there are a few good ways to tell when you are finished.
- The dough should not tear easily. This means that if you stretch a chunk of the dough between your fingers, it doesn't tear apart like paper and creates jagged edges.
- The dough should be elastic. You should be able to poke the ball of kneaded dough with your finger and watch the dough quickly try to bounce back and fill in the hole you made.
⏲️Make Ahead Instructions
Yes, you can make the dough and let it do its first round of proofing in the bowl as directed. Then when you go to place in the loaf pan for the second rise, simply cover it well in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for up to 8-10 hours or in the freezer.
Once frozen solid, place in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw the bread overnight in the fridge (in the pan) and once morning has arrived, preheat the oven for either method (fridge or freezer). Let the loaf rest on the counter for about an hour to come to room temp. Bake as directed.
💭 Recipe FAQs
Yes. You can freeze the dough just before the second rise or freeze the loaf after it has completely cooled. For the best result, make sure it's well wrapped and covered so it won't get freezer burnt or lose flavor/dry out.
Once baked, homemade bread should last about 3-5 days if stored in an airtight container at room temperature. It doesn't last as long as storebought loaves due to the lack of preservatives.
Now then, when your bread has finished baking it will sound hollow to the tap, and if you stick a toothpick inside it will come out clean. An instant read thermometer will read the internal temp at being close to 200 degrees F as well. These are all great signs that the bread has finished baking.
❤️ More Delicious Yeast Recipes
If you tried this 5 Ingredient White Bread Recipe, please leave a ⭐️ star rating and share your feedback in the 📝 comments section below. I would truly appreciate it!
5 Ingredient White Bread Recipe
- 3 cups All-Purpose Flour ($0.39)
- 2 ¼ teaspoons Active Dry Yeast (one packet) ($0.38)
- 1 ½ teaspoons Salt ($0.01)
- 1 cup Warm Water (about 110F) ($0.00)
- 3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil ($0.13)
- 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar ($0.05)
- In a bowl whisk together the flour, yeast, and salt.
- Make a well in the center and add to it the sugar, oil, and water.
- Stir to combine.
- Knead the dough on floured surface for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Feed it more flour as needed to get it no longer sticky.
- Place in a bowl and cover. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour in a warm place.
- Roll the dough out on a floured surface and form it up into a log.
- Place log in a pan, tucking ends underneath and cover. Let rise again until doubled.
- Bake in a greased bread pan for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees F.
- Cool for at least one hour before slicing and serving.
Bread machine option
- Place ingredients in order of owner manual for your specific bread machine.
- Turn the machine to "dough cycle" and close the lid. Waiting for the beep.
- Take the dough and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Knead a minute, roll into log, and place in a greased bread pan. Tuck the ends underneath as you place it in the pan.
- Cover and rise 1 hour or until doubled. Bake uncovered 35-40 min until golden brown.
- Score the bread's top with a sharp knife before baking to guide its rise.
- Scoring the dough just before baking helps prevent lopsided expansion.
- The crust should be hard and sound hollow when tapped when it's freshly baked. It will soften as it cools.
- Cracks and white spots on the crust indicate excess moisture inside the bread, leading to a softer texture.
- A fully baked bread sounds hollow when tapped. Perform a clean toothpick test.
- Ensure an internal temperature near 200 degrees F.
- Brush the hot bread with butter for shine and moisture.
- Wait at least an hour after cooling before slicing for a softer, moist texture.
- Freeze the dough before the second rise or a fully baked loaf.
- Ensure it's well-wrapped and covered to avoid freezer burn.
- Freshly baked homemade bread can last about 3-5 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
- After the first proofing in the bowl, cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8-10 hours or freeze it.
- To thaw frozen dough, place it in the loaf pan in the fridge overnight and let it rest at room temperature for about an hour before baking.