Baker Bettie

Country White Sandwich Bread Recipe

This fluffy country white sandwich bread is the perfect soft white loaf. This homemade version of your favorite store bought white bread is so much better with fewer ingredients! 

Loaf of white sandwich bread that has been sliced

Country White Sandwich Bread Overview

This classic white bread recipe is one of my favorite recipes to make. With very little effort, you can create a fluffy and soft white bread that is perfect for sandwiches, toast, and french toast. 

What is White Bread Made From? 

White bread is made with white flour, which is wheat flour that has had the bran and germ removed. In addition to the white flour, white bread is made with water, salt, and yeast.

Sometimes, enriching ingredients are also added to the bread dough like milk, sugar, butter, and eggs. This recipe does use milk, sugar, and butter. These ingredients add more flavor and create a softer texture to the bread. 

Loaf of country white sandwich bread after being sliced

Is White Bread Bleached? 

Homemade white bread should always be made with unbleached white flour. Unbleached white flour has had the bran and the germ removed which leaves only the endosperm that is fairly white in color. Bleaching the flour weakens the protein structure, which makes it difficult to build a good gluten structure with. 

However, some brands of store bought white bread do use bleached white flour to make their white bread. They also add stabilizers to make up for the weaker protein structure. If you would like white bread that does not use bleached flour, it is best to make it at home. 

How to Make Country White Sandwich Bread

This sandwich bread is very easy to make because it uses the straight dough method, meaning that all of the ingredients are mixed together at once and then kneaded. 

Step 1: Proof the Yeast

Proofing the yeast for the white sandwich bread

Combine the warm milk, water, dried yeast, and a pinch of the sugar. Stir together and let it sit for about 10 minutes until it looks a little frothy and bubbles are forming on top. 

This step gives the yeast a little jump start and also ensures that the yeast is alive. If you see no activity at all in the mixture, then likely your yeast is too old and you need to start over. This step is technically optional for both active dry and rapid rise yeast, but it will get things moving a little faster. 

Step 2: Add the Rest of the Ingredients

Add the rest of the sugar, the salt, the butter, and the smallest amount of flour listed and stir the ingredients together until all of the flour is absorbed. It will look very sticky and shaggy at this point. 

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and begin kneading it. You can work in as much of the additional flour as needed during this process. The dough should always remain sticky, but it shouldn’t stick to the counter or to your hands. It will become more smooth and elastic as you knead it. 

Alternatively, you can knead the dough in your stand mixer. But I prefer to do it by hand because you get a better feel for the dough. 

Step 3: Bulk Ferment (1st Rise)

White bread dough in bowl before proofing

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let rise until double in size. 

This process allows the yeast to begin feeding and creating gasses and alcohol. This will flavor our bread dough and also start building up the gasses to leaven it. 

Step 4: Shape the Dough

Gently press the gas out of the dough and turn it onto a clean work surface. You shouldn’t need any flour at this point. If it is too sticky, you can use a little bit. 

If you made the full batch of dough, which makes two loaves, divide the dough evenly in half. To best understand how to shape the dough, the attached video will be helpful. You want to build tension on the dough and shape it in a roll so that it rises and bakes evenly. 

Start with the dough in roughly a rectangular shape. Pull out on the top two corners of the dough and bring them into the center, pressing to seal. Fold the top of the dough over to meat the seam you created. Repeat this process two more times. Then roll the dough over and seal it into a tight roll. 

Step 5: Proof the Dough (2nd Rise)

Shaped sandwich loaves ready to proof

Place the risen dough in greased loaf pans and cover them again to rise. You want them to rise until the dough is crowning the pans. 

To test if your loaves are ready to be baked, you can use the dent test. Press your finger into the dough about 1/2″ in and if the dough springs back immediately, then it needs to proof a little bit longer. If it fills in slowly then it is ready to be baked. 

Step 6: Bake the Bread

Brushing egg wash on the sandwich loaves

I like the brush the tops of my loaves with an egg wash (egg whisked with a bit of water) before baking them. This will give them a nice golden brown color and a bit of shine. 

Once the loaves are out of the oven, you want them to cool for at least an hour (preferably longer) before slicing. Slicing the bread while its hot will cause it to stale quickly. 

Slicing the sandwich loaf

White Sandwich Bread Ingredients

  • Milk is the main moisture for the bread. Milk keeps sandwich bread nice and soft. I prefer to use whole milk for the most richness, but you can use 2%, 1%, or skim milk. You can also use non-dairy milk if you prefer. 
  • Water is the secondary moisture for the bread. If we made the bread with only milk it would be too soft and fragile. Water helps encourage the gluten development with the flour, adding some chew. 
  • Active dry or Rapid rise yeast can be used for this bread. Yeast is what leavens the bread and gives it flavor. 
  • Butter helps add some richness and tenderness to the bread. Fat shortens gluten strands, so bread made with butter will have a softer and more tender structure than bread made without fat, like a baguette. 
  • Sugar adds a touch of sweetness to the bread. It will not taste overly sweet. 
  • Salt flavors the sandwich bread so it does not taste bland and it also helps control the yeast activity so that it isn’t too active. 
  • Flour is the main structure for the bread. The proteins found in wheat flour form gluten once they are mixed in a dough. This is what traps the gasses in the dough and also what gives the bread the chewiness. Bread flour is going to give the bread the best structure and chew. However, unbleached all purpose flour can also be used.
Country White Sandwich Bread

Country White Sandwich Bread

Yield: 2 Loaves
Prep Time: 4 hours
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 45 minutes

This beautiful and fluffy country white sandwich bread contains no added preservatives. Bake this good wholesome loaf of bread you will feel good about eating!

Ingredients

For a Full Batch (makes 2 loaves)

  • 2 cups (475 ml) milk, about 110 F (43 C)- can use whole, 2%, 1%, skim or nondairy
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water, about 110 F (43 C)
  • 2 1/4 tsp (1 package) active dry or rapid rise dry yeast
  • 6 TBSP (84 gr) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup (55 gr) sugar
  • 2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 6 1/2 - 7 1/2 cups (780 - 900 gr) bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour

For a Half Batch (makes 1 loaf)

  • 1 cup (240 ml) milk, about 110 F (43 C)- can use whole, 2%, 1%, skim or nondairy
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) water, about 110 F (43 C)
  • 1 1/8 tsp (1/2 package) active dry or rapid rise dry yeast
  • 3 TBSP (42 gr) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • 2 TBSP (28 gr) sugar
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 1/4 - 4 1/4 cups (390 - 510 gr) bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. PROOF YEAST: Combine the warm water, warm milk, yeast, and about 1 tsp of the sugar to a large mixing bowl. Whisk until the yeast dissolves. Let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes. If it is slightly frothy and you can see bubbles forming on top, then your yeast is active. If you don't see any activity, your yeast is likely too old.
  2. MIX DOUGH: Add the butter, sugar, salt, and the smallest amount of flour listed (6 1/2 cups if making a full batch, 3 1/4 cups if making a 1/2 batch) to the bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon, bowl scraper, or clean hands until all the flour is hydrated and the ingredients are well incorporated. At this point the dough will likely be very sticky and shaggy. Do not add any more flour yet.
  3. KNEAD: Dust a work surface with flour and turn the dough out onto the work surface. Dust flour over the top of the dough and begin kneading it. Add a bit more flour as needed up to 1 more cup. The dough should feel soft and sticky, but it shouldn't be gluing itself to the counter or your hands. Watch the video tutorial if you are unfamiliar with kneading by hand. Alternatively, you can add the dough to the bowl of your stand mixer fit with the dough hook and knead it on medium-high speed. Add more flour bit by bit to the stand mixer until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If kneading by hand, knead for about 8-10 minutes. If kneading in the stand mixer, knead for 6-8 minutes. When the dough is smooth and elastic and springs back when a finger is pressed into it, you are done kneading.
  4. FERMENT (1ST RISE): Grease a clean bowl with a bit of oil or non-stick spray and transfer your dough to the bowl, turning to coat. Cover the dough with a damp towel or a piece of plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until double in size and filled with air. This will take about 1 hour if using quick rise yeast and 2 hours if using active dry yeast.
  5. SHAPE: Grease one or two standard loaf pans (8.5 X 4.5 X 2.5) pans on the sides and bottoms. Turn the dough out onto the lightly floured surface and lightly push the air out of the dough with the palm of your hand. Cut the dough into two equal pieces if making a full batch. Gently pat each piece of dough into a rectangle (about the shape of the loaf pan). Tightly form each piece of dough into a loaf. (Watch the video tutorial for details about how to properly do this.)
  6. PROOF: Place the formed loaves into the pans and gently press down on them with the palm of your hand to ensure they evenly fill the pan. Cover the shaped dough and let them proof at room temperature until the loaves are beginning to crown the pan. This will take about 1 hour for rapid rise yeast and 2 hours for active dry yeast.
  7. BAKE: Preheat oven to 350°F (180 C). If you want a shiny brown crust, mix 1 egg with 1 tbsp of water and brush it on the tops of your loaves. Bake loaves on the center rack for 35-45 minutes until golden brown. The center of the loaves should read 190-200 F (87-93 C) when fully baked.
  8. Let cool on baking racks for at least 30 minutes before slicing with a serrated knife.
  9. STORE cooled bread in a plastic bag at room temperature for 4 days. Alternatively, you can slice the loaves and place them in the freezer in a freezer bag. Toast to refresh. Refrigerating bread will cause it to stale more quickly.

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This fluffy country white sandwich bread is the perfect soft white loaf. This homemade version of your favorite store bought white bread is so much better with fewer ingredients!

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34 comments on “Country White Sandwich Bread Recipe”

  1. Hiya Bettie, love that this recipe is egg free and really want to try this but have a couple of questions, I only use powdered milk mixed in water; do I scald this too? If yes, how?
    Also, I use instant yeast and not active dry and usually add to the flour. Can I still do the same with this recipe and get the same results? Thanks

    • Hi there, thanks for the questions.

      You can reconstitute your powdered milk and then scald it. Most bakers believe that even with powdered milk you will get a better rise from the bread if you scald it, however it wouldn’t ruin the bread not to. Just reconstitute it and then scald it like you would regular milk.

      These days, instant yeast and active dry yeast aren’t really that different. You don’t technically need to “bloom” the instant yeast by putting it in the water but I always do just to make sure it isn’t a bad batch. If it doesn’t turn frothy then I know it won’t be active in the bread. Just use the instant yeast exactly as I have told you to use the active dry yeast. The rise time for your bread may be a bit shorter with the instant yeast, so just check on it.

  2. Thank you for those instructions! When it comes to making anything that requires yeast, I am…shall we say?….challenged. This looks so delicious. I can almost smell it! Usually I throw everything in my bread maker and call myself a genius, but I cannot wait to try this!

    • Lol! I mean I don’t knock bread machines. They can do a heck of a good job! But I just love to touch and work with the dough. It’s therapeutic and I think it feels so much more rewarding. Let me know if you do try it and how you like it!

  3. I am always in awe of you. I feel like I’m drowning and don’t have enough time for anything right now and I know you’re busier than I am, yet you somehow still manage to do amazing things like bake this bread and blog it! It looks SO perfect. Classic, comforting, and I know I’d eat that whole darned loaf lickity split!

    • Girrrrrrl. You are planning a wedding. Trust me, I know what that’s like. Sooo much to do! I have a problem with letting myself relax. As soon as 1 project is over I look for a new one. It’s actually probably not the best trait. I probably always have more on my plate than I should.

  4. I keep coming back to your site for recipes. Your basic sweet yeast dough makes my, and my husband’s, favorite cinnamon rolls. This bread, too, is amazing. It’s currently filling the house with a wonderful aroma. Thank you, Bettie!

  5. Was curious if you have ever made this using all purpose flour and how we’re the results?

  6. I have to I am super excited about your site. I have always wanted to be a better baker, because I love love love to cook for my family. Cakes and desserts always seem to meet the standards of my family and others around although I can be super critical of myself so it never seems to quite be what I imagine. Recently I have been exploring bread again and have found a recipe that has helped me gained a little confidence. Your sites Baking school topics have me super excited, maybe I can finally put some of my problems to rest… and enjoy the process more. I think this will be my first recipe here. Its great that it creates two loaves, it’s great for sandwiches so my boys will love it, and it freezes which means I can try one and not worry about both going bad. Thanks so much for the recipe, and I love the idea of the site and all the extras to explain if you need it! Very cool!

  7. Oh my I should have started this a few hours ago… it’s 9:00pm now and I’m waiting on my yeast to rehydrate. But that’s ok, my husband will be going to bed soon and I’ll fire up Netflix and enjoy a movie he would never watch with me… lol! This bread sounds like it will taste so good! (I’ll keep you posted)

  8. This looks amazing, my husband loves his fresh bread for breakfast, can I leave this bread overnight to rise?

    • Hi Agata!

      If you want to make this the day before and bake it the next day, you can refrigerate it after it is shaped. Cover it with plastic wrap and put the loaf in the refrigerator.This will allow it to slowly rise over night. Let it come back to room temperature for about an hour before baking it.

      Hope that helps!

  9. I do not have Bread Flour, what other bread can I use?

  10. Could not get a dough with just 1 cup liquid for 4+ cups flour. Added another cup warm water to get a dough. Bread turned out good though.

  11. I love this site! I too had to add extra water to make the dough. I had a question. Almost every time I bake a loaf, it comes out with a crack down the side. How can I prevent this from happening?

    • Hi Emily! This can happen from not developing the gluten enough and from not getting enough tension on the dough when shaping. Make sure you are pulling on the dough a little to get some tension when you go to shape it. That will help it not crack!

  12. Awesome site and great recipe!
    I concur with others on needing extra liquids.  Doing a little research (I made the twisted cinnamon bread – same recipe) I noticed an error in this recipe.  Milk should be 1 1/4 not 1/4.
    Other than that, the only problem I have with this bread is the rate of consumption by my family.
    Thank you for the recipe and great detail!  This site is my one stop for bread.

    • Hi Nathan! Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention. I just looked back at an older version of this page on Wayback machine and it was at one time correct. Somewhere down the road the 1 in front of the 1/4th cup got removed. I really appreciate you letting me know this. It is updated now. It has been quite some time since I wrote this recipe so it’s due for a fresh recipe test and update. Thank you!

  13. I’ve used this recipe many times, and it is perfection. However, I was wondering if it is possible to freeze the dough, and use it at a later time? This would make life so much easier. 

    • Hi Janessa! So glad you enjoy this recipe! I am not typically a fan of freezing raw yeast dough as some of the yeast can die during the freezing process and a lot of changes need to be made to the recipe to ensure success once thawed. I prefer to freeze pre-baked and sliced bread and refresh in the toaster. That said, I get this question often on my yeast bread recipes so I have it in the works to do some testing to make suggestions about how to alter recipes so the dough can be frozen.

  14. A question about refrigerating and using the next day. I tried this. It took 3 hours for the dough to come back to room temperature. Not unexpected. I waited another hour, and it rose some but not as much as expected. The loaf turned out to be about 3 inches high. Did I just not wait long enough?let me know what I missed. Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Melinda! There are a lot of variables that could affect this. The temperature of your refrigerator, if really cold, could really slow down the process and really put the yeast to sleep. It also depends on how active the yeast was when it went in to the fridge. Possible you needed to let it sit out even longer. A way to test if your loaf is proofed enough is to press in on it with your finger. If it immediately springs back quickly, then it needs more time. If it springs back slowly then it is ready. And if it doesn’t spring back at all then it is over-proofed.

  15. Can I use  all purpose flour  instead of bread flour? I only have  all purpose flour 

  16.  Thank you for answering my question   I really want to make bread and cinnamon rolls that I’ve looked at your site but I’m very intimidated by the yeast  in the past I made my first loaf of bread and it did not come out right so I don’t know what I’m doing wrong can you help me I would really appreciate it 

    • Hi there, working with yeast takes some practice! It’s hard to know how to help without a little more information about what might have gone wrong. I would suggest watching my yeast roll video for a detailed video about working with yeast dough. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tp3C503SaTg& My yeast roll dough is the same dough that I use for my cinnamon rolls. I am also making a video for this recipe this week which might help you.

  17. Hello Bettie,
    Well I  tried to make the cinnamon rolls on your site  I followed the recipe exactly  I warmed up my milk and then I sprinkled the active yeast with a little sugar and waited for 5 to 10 minutes and it got foamy I used my stand mixer I don’t know if I’m kneading to long or what or putting to much flour  I just don’t know what I’m doing wrong my cinnamon rolls don’t come out soft and chewy I really want to make homemade breads and cinnamon rolls

  18. Is the flour measurement (high end) correct for one loaf? Shouldn’t it be 3-3/4?

    • Hi Anne! Thanks for pointing this out. I meant it to say 4 1/4 cups, not 4 1/2. I was trying to keep things simple in the instructions where it says “Knead in up to 1 more cup of flour as needed”. It gets confusing when you offer two different measurements to decipher what the instructions are saying. Even 4 1/4 cup for this amount of dough hydration wise is still within range of a normal yeast dough. I had the grams correct, but mistyped the fraction. Just try to knead in as little as possible extra flour for the nicest texture!

  19. Wonderful bread. So wrong but so right. Like cake.

  20. I like your bread. It looks very beautiful and delicious

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