Homemade Bread | White Bread

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Homemade bread is fluffy, tender, and way better than store-bought loaves. It’s remarkably easy – and fun! – to make with only a few simple ingredients. Try this foolproof white bread recipe with step-by-step instructions and you’ll likely never want to buy package bread again.

white bread loaf sliced with the slices placed on top of each other with an antique butter knife on a brown wooden board

Why this Bread Recipe Works

I love baking breads at home. The whole process – from making the dough from scratch, kneading with your hands, patiently letting it rise and baking – is terrifically relaxing yet exciting at the same time.

Each loaf is slightly different but brings such joy, both to bake and to eat. And there’s just nothing better than sharing warm, soft slices of homemade bread with your family and friends…Like handing them a piece of your love!

This easy lean bread recipe is great for customizing with additional ingredients. If you want you can add some milk for a softer bread (details in the recipe).

You can also make it into sweet bread by adding extra sugar; or bakes a savory white bread by adding herbs and spices.

Below are steps and photos for making a perfectly fluffy and tender basic loaf of white bread. Give this simple homemade bread recipe a try and you’ll likely fall in love, too.

overheat shot of four slices of white bread with a partial view of the loaf with an brass butter knife on a brown wooden chopping board

Essential Tips For Any Bread Recipe

While it is a very simple process to make bread from scratch, there are a few key points to keep in mind when you make any bread recipe. You need to follow these pro tips to ensure your loaf is perfect in every way, every time:

  • Buy quality ingredients. The best, most delicious bread is made with the best ingredients available. Opt for high-quality flour and yeast, and make sure all ingredients are within the expiration dates. For white breads like these, I recommend unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour, preferably organic.
  • Use warm water. The dry active yeast needs to be treated just rise for the perfect rise. That means it needs to be dissolved in water that is neither hot nor cold but is somewhere in the warm 110-115 degree Fahrenheit (43-46 degrees Celsius). If the water is too cold it won’t activate the yeast, and if it is too hot it will cook the yeast and leave it inactive.
  • Kneading: Remember to knead your dough well. If kneading by hand, then spend at-least 10 minutes doing so. The dough has to pass the windowpane test. Take a small portion of the dough and flatten, stretch, spread it into a thin layer. It should not tear or break. You should be able to see through it much like you see through a windowpane.
  • Be patient. There will be some periods of resting and waiting while the dough rises and the loaf bakes. Avoid the urge to rush and you will be rewarded with the fluffiest and most tender homemade bread.
  • Have fun. Baking bread is all about bringing some warmth and happiness to the house. Bread made with love – or any dishes made with love – simply tastes the best.

See? Simple. Once you perfect the easy, joyful art of baking fresh white bread at home I promise you won’t want store bought loaves again!

white bread loaf sliced with the slices placed on top of each other with an antique butter knife on a brown wooden board
Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Homemade Bread

Proofing the yeast

1. Take 1 teaspoon instant yeast (rapid rise yeast) or 1.5 teaspoons dry active yeast or 1 tablespoon fresh yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in a small bowl.

NOTE: I have used instant yeast which can be directly added to the flour. But I am activating it in warm water just to illustrate to you the method of using dry active yeast or fresh yeast – which always needs to be activated.

instant yeast granules and sugar in a white bowl

2. Add 1 cup of lukewarm water. Make sure that the water is not hot or cold.  The temperature of water should be 41 degrees Celsius (105 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit). Mix it well.

warm water mixed with the yeast and sugar with a spoon in the white bowl

3. Keep in a warm place until the yeast becomes frothy. For instant yeast keep for 5 minutes and for dry active yeast keep for 10 to 15 minutes.

yeast bubbled and frothed in the white bowl to make bread recipe

Forming Dough

4. In the meantime take 3 cups of all-purpose flour or bread flour – unbleached or organic (360 grams) and 1 teaspoon salt in a large tray or board or a large bowl. You can also use a stand mixer for kneading dough.

flour and salt on a large steel plate

5. Mix well. You can sift the flour with salt if you prefer.

flour and salt being mixed with a steel spoon

6. Add 1 tablespoon oil – any neutral oil or olive oil. Oil can be swapped for 1 tablespoon butter (dairy or vegan).

oil added to the flour

7. Add the frothy bubbly yeast mixture to the flour.

frothy yeast mixture being added

8. Mix with a wooden spoon and you will see that the dough becoming sticky.

lightly mixed flour with the yeast solution

9. Now start kneading the dough for atleast 8 to 10 minutes or until you get a soft smooth, pliable and light consistency.

TIP: If the dough becomes sticky add some flour – mix and knead. If the dough looks floury or dry add a few tablespoons of lukewarm water and knead. Bread flour will need a bit more water than all-purpose flour.

smooth soft dough formed to make bread recipe

Leavening Dough (First Rise)

10. Cover your bread dough loosely with a large bowl or a kitchen napkin and keep at room temperature to leaven. I used the same plate in which I kneaded the dough. You can brush some oil on the dough prior to leavening it. 

  • For instant yeast – leaven dough for 45 mins to 1 hour. 
  • For dry active yeast or fresh yeast– keep for 1.5 to 2 hours.

TIP: A great idea which I follow very often is to leaven the dough using the yogurt settings of your Instant Pot. It works like a charm and so helpful on colder days.

dough covered with a large steel bowl

11. After 45 minutes my dough has doubled beautifully.

leavened and doubled bread dough

12. Now grease or brush a loaf pan with oil. On a lightly floured surface, lightly knead the dough. This will deflate the dough.

lightly kneaded dough

Shaping into a Loaf

13. Flatten the dough with your fingers to a round or square shape. Then begin to roll it.

dough being rolled

14. Make a neat rolled dough.

rolled bread dough

15. The place where the edges meet, join them first. Then press, flatten and smoothen them with your fingers. Smoothen the sides of the loaf as well.

edges joined and seamed

16. Your loaf is ready for the second rise.

neatly formed dough loaf ready

Second Rise

17. Place it in the loaf pan with the seamed joined edges touching the bottom of the pan.

dough placed in a loaf pan

18. Cover the loaf pan with a kitchen towel. Keep it in a warm place.

  • If you have used instant yeast – leaven for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • For dry active yeast or fresh yeast – set aside for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
loaf pan covered with a light blue napkin

19. The loaf will rise in volume. Remember to preheat your oven 20 minutes prior to baking. Preheat at 190 degrees Celsius (375 degrees Fahrenheit).

loaf doubled up

Scoring

20. With a small serrated knife or any sharp knife or a lame, make one long slash or two slashes lengthwise on the center of the dough about ¼ inch deep.

a slit being made on the loaf with a serrated knife

21. Brush the surface with some milk (dairy or vegan). This is an optional step.

loaf being brushed with milk

Baking

22. Place the loaf pan in the preheated oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 190 degrees Celsius (375 degrees Fahrenheit) until the loaf is golden brown. You will also see the sides slightly separated from the pan.

loaf pan with the dough loaf in the oven

23. In the photo below, you see a lovely loaf of a well baked homemade bread. If your oven browns the surface very quickly, place a parchment paper or aluminium foil on the top of the loaf halfway through the baking – so as to avoid more browning.

bread baked beautifully in the loaf pan with a golden crust

24. Wait for 3 to 4 minutes after the bread is out of the oven. Firstly tap the bread and it should sound hollow – which means that the bread is baked well.

If the bread does not sound hollow, keep it back in the oven to bake for some more minutes.

This is an optional step and you can give it a miss. Remember the bread is hot and so is the pan. Use oven gloves or thick kitchen towels to remove the bread from the pan.

Lift one end of the white bread to check for an even browning at the bottom. If the bottom of the loaf is pale, then keep it directly in the oven (without the pan) for 5 more minutes and bake.

tapping the bread loaf

25. Transfer the loaf from the pan immediately and keep it on a wired rack. If you keep it inside the pan, the bottom will get soggy. Let the loaf cool at room temperature on the wired rack or tray.

baked white bread placed on a wired rack

26. Enjoy homemade bread with your favorite curry or soup or just making one of your favorite sandwiches or toast.

two slices cut from the bread on a brown chopping board

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy slices of warm, freshly baked white bread plain or with a smear of soft butter or lightly toasted in ghee.

Serve toasted bread with jams or topped with slices of avocado, or a tablespoon of peanut butter or preferred nut butter for a yummy snack.

Homemade bread is great for making sandwiches – the only limit is your imagination! Check out my collection of 40 Best Sandwich Recipes for some ideas to get started.

Storage

Place the bread in a bread box or a covered box and refrigerate for a week. At room temperature, it keeps well for 2 to 3 days. You can also freeze it for a couple of months. Thaw before using or defrost it in the refrigerator overnight.

Tips

Helpful Tips

  1. Variations: You can divide the dough into parts and make dinner rolls. Add some herbs (fresh or dried) to make a fragrant herb bread. Replace water with milk (dairy or vegan) for a milk bread. Include some more sugar or nuts, berries, dry fruits for a sweet bread.
  2. Kneading: You can knead the dough with hands as I have done. If you have a food processor or a stand mixer, then knead the dough in these.
  3. Baking: Since no two ovens are the same, it can take less or more time for the bread to bake in your oven. If the top surface of the bread browns quickly in your oven then place an aluminum foil or parchment paper on the top. This stops the bread from getting browned more.
  4. Yeast conversion: Make this bread recipe easily with any kind of baking yeast that you have. Follow this yeast conversion: 1 teaspoon instant yeast = 1.5 teaspoon active dry yeast = 1 tablespoon fresh yeast.
  5. Scalable recipe: Make a large batch of 2 to 3 loaves by easily scaling this recipe.

FAQs

How should homemade white bread be stored?

To keep the bread soft I recommend that you store in an airtight bag or a bread box and keep at room temperature for up to 2 to 3 days.

Can I freeze bread?

Yes, white bread is great for freezing. Place in an airtight bag or a covered container and store in the freezer for up to 2 to 3 months. Allow the bread to defrost in the refrigerator overnight before enjoying.

What other baked goods can I make with bread dough?

Divide the dough into equal parts and bake for individual dinner rolls or Pav.

How do I make gluten free white bread?

Substitute all-purpose flour with your favorite gluten free substitute for an easy GF-friendly white bread recipe.

More Bread Recipes You Can Try!

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bread slices placed on top of each other with an antique butter knife on a brown wooden board

Bread Recipe | White Bread

4.87 from 36 votes
Homemade bread is fluffy, soft and so much better than store-bought loaves. Try this foolproof white bread recipe with step-by-step instructions and you’ll simply love it.
Prep Time 1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins

Cuisine World
Course: Breakfast
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level: Easy

Servings 12 bread slices
Units

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour (preferably unbleached), 360 grams
  • 1 cup water (lukewarm)
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast or 1.5 teaspoon dry active yeast or 1 tablespoon fresh yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oil neutral flavored oil or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt or add as required
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk (dairy or vegan) – for brushing, optional

Instructions

Proofing yeast

  • In a small bowl take the instant yeast or dry active yeast and sugar. Add lukewarm water.
  • Mix well and set aside until the yeast activates. For instant yeast keep for 5 minutes and for dry active yeast keep for 10 to 15 minutes.

Preparing dough

  • While the proofing is happening, sieve or mix the flour with salt.
  • Add the oil and the frothy yeast mixture to the flour.
  • With a wooden spoon mix everything.
  • Now use your hands and knead the dough for about 8 to 10 minutes. The dough has to be smooth, soft and light. 
  • If the dough looks sticky, then add a few tablespoons of flour and knead. If the dough looks dry or floury, add a few tablespoons of lukewarm water and continue to knead.
  • Keep in a large bowl and cover loosely with kitchen napkin.

First Rise

  • Set aside until the dough doubles up.
  • For instant yeast – leaven dough for 45 mins to 1 hour. For dry active yeast or fresh yeast – keep for 1.5 to 2 hours.
  • If needed set aside for some more minutes until the dough has doubled up nicely.

Shaping into a loaf

  • Grease or brush a loaf pan with oil.
  • Take the dough on a lightly floured surface and gently knead. This will deflate the dough.
  • Flatten the dough with your fingers to a round or square shape. Then begin to roll it neatly.
  • The place where the edges meet, join them first. Then press, flatten and smoothen them with your fingers. Smoothen the sides of the loaf as well.
  •  Place in the loaf pan with the seamed joined edges touching the bottom of the pan.

Second rise

  • Cover again loosely with the kitchen napkin and let it rise again for until fully doubled.
  • If you have used instant yeast – leaven for 20 to 30 minutes. For dry active yeast or fresh yeast – set aside for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius (375 degrees Fahrenheit) for 20 minutes prior to baking.
  • With a small serrated knife or any sharp knife or a lame, make one or two long slashes lengthwise on the center of the dough about ¼ inch deep.
  • Brush the surface with some milk – dairy or vegan. This is an optional step.

Baking

  • Place the loaf pan in the oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 190 degrees Celsius (375 degrees Fahrenheit) until you see a golden crust.
  • If your oven browns the surface very quickly, place a parchment paper or aluminium foil on the top of the loaf halfway through the baking – so as to avoid more browning.
  • Wait for 3 to 4 minutes after the bread is out of the oven. Tap the bread and it should sound hollow – which means that the bread is baked well. If the bread does not sound hollow, keep it back in the oven to bake for some more minutes.
  • Transfer the loaf from the pan immediately and keep it on a wired rack. If you keep it inside the pan, the bottom gets soggy. Let the loaf cool at room temperature on the wired rack or tray.
  • Now enjoy your homemade bread with your favorite curry or soup or just making one of your favorite sandwiches or toast.

Storage

  • Place the bread in a bread box or a covered box and refrigerate for a week. Or you can freeze it for a couple of months. Allow the bread to defrost in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Notes

  1. Variations: You can divide the dough into parts and make dinner rolls. Add some herbs (fresh or dried) to make a fragrant herb bread. Replace water with milk (dairy or vegan) for a milk bread. Include some more sugar or nuts, berries, dry fruits for a sweet bread.
  2. Kneading: You can knead the dough with hands as I have done. If you have a food processor or a stand mixer, then knead the dough in these.
  3. Baking: Since on two ovens are the same, it can take less or more time for the bread to bake in your oven. If the top surface of the bread browns quickly then place an aluminum foil or parchment paper on the top. This will avoid further browning while baking.
  4. Yeast conversion: Make this bread recipe easily with any kind of baking yeast that you have. Follow this yeast conversion: 1 teaspoon instant yeast = 1.5 teaspoon active dry yeast = 1 tablespoon fresh yeast.
  5. Scaling: You can halve or double the recipe and make a small or large batch of homemade bread. 

Nutrition Info Approximate values

Nutrition Facts
Bread Recipe | White Bread
Amount Per Serving (1 bread slice)
Calories 132 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 197mg9%
Potassium 45mg1%
Carbohydrates 25g8%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 2IU0%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 2mg10%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin B12 1µg17%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Vitamin D 1µg7%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Vitamin K 1µg1%
Calcium 7mg1%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 81µg20%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 8mg2%
Phosphorus 41mg4%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This bread recipe post from the blog archives (April 2012) has been republished and updated on 30 January 2021.

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Dassana Amit

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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221 Comments

  1. Hello Ma’am!
    1) Do you use upper heating element or the lower one or both at the said temperature?
    2) Why do some people bake breads with a cup of water in the oven?
    Thanks!

    1. Hello Siddhartha, I use both the heating elements while baking. If you have a small oven, then try to keep the loaf pan on the second lower rack. If the pan is close to the top heating element, the bread will get browned too fast from the top.

      Baking with water helps to have a crispy crust and helps the loaf to expand more. It is done to mimic commercial baking ovens where steam is used. Usually I bake french loaves like baguette with water added in a separate baking tray.

  2. The best recipe to make bread! My family always love it. Thank you for the amazing recipe 🙂5 stars

    1. Thanks Ishika for the feedback and the review. Glad to know. Most welcome.

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