In general I avoid labeling any recipe as “the best”, “the ultimate”, etc. for a couple of reasons.  First off, I of course haven’t tried every type of (whatever it is), so who am I to deem it number one?  Second, I fully believe there are plenty of fantastic recipes out there for just about any food you can imagine, so it’s likely that more than one of them are deserving of such hype.  But I’m making an exception for this recipe, because at least here in my kitchen, this is the best white bread recipe I’ve ever made.  And I’ve made a lot of them.

This recipe comes from my awesome friend Shanon‘s grandmother, which makes me love it even more.  Let’s talk about the loaves themselves.  Tall, puffy, soft but not too soft, and a tender golden crust – in short, exactly what I’m looking for in a loaf of homemade bread.  We generally eat white bread only on rare occasions, but I am so incredibly glad to have this recipe in my arsenal now for when those times arise.  The afternoon this came out of the oven, I couldn’t resist doing exactly what my inner child wanted, so I made a grilled cheese.  It was killer.  Though we could have easily demolished the loaf, we dutifully sliced both up, stored them in freezer bags, and now we have bread at the ready the next time a grilled cheese emergency strikes.

(By the way, in case white bread isn’t your thing, stay tuned for an upcoming series on the blog about whole grain baking.  I’m excited about it!)


4½ tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
¾ cup plus 2 2/3 cup warm water, divided (105-115˚ F)
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. salt
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
9-10 cups all-purpose flour

3-4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (for brushing)


  • 01

    To make the dough, dissolve the yeast in ¾ cup of warm water in a large mixing bowl (use your mixer bowl if kneading with a stand mixer and use the dough hook).  Stir in the sugar, salt, remaining 2 2/3 cups water, butter, and 5 cups of the flour.  Mix (on low speed) until a dough begins to come together.  Gradually add in the remaining 4-5 cups of flour about ½-1 cup at a time at first, more gradually with the last cup, until the dough is smooth and slightly tacky but not sticky.  Continue to knead about 6-8 minutes, until a smooth ball of dough has formed.

  • 02

    Transfer the dough to a lightly greased large bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel.  Let rise in a warm place until the dough has nearly doubled in bulk, about 60-90 minutes.

  • 03

    Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently punch down to deflate the dough.  Divide into two equal portions.  Press one portion of dough into a rectangle, about 9 x 15 inches.  Starting on a short end, roll the dough up tightly into a log and pinch the seam shut.  Roll the ends under the loaf.  Transfer to a greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and press down gently to reach the sides of the pan.  Repeat with the second portion of dough.  Cover the pans loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let rise once more until nearly doubled, about 30-45 minutes.

  • 04

    Place an oven rack in the lowest position and preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Just before baking, lightly brush the tops of the loaves with some of the melted butter.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Rotate the pans 180˚ and continue baking until an instant read thermometer reads 190˚ F in the center of the loaf, about 15-18 minutes more.  (If the tops of the loaves reach your desired golden brown before the baking time is complete, cover the tops loosely with foil to prevent over-browning.)  Transfer the pans to wire racks to cool.  Let cool briefly, then turn the loaves out onto the racks.  If desired, brush lightly with additional melted butter.  Let cool completely.