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.

  • preveena bhagianath

    I believe you when you say its the best. I am definitely going to try this recipe.

  • Meral Mungan

    I try a similar recipe at home, with milk and water mixture instead of using only warm water. I think this makes it softer. I will definitely try the melted butter before oven. Thank you for the recipe!

  • dek2711

    When Annies says its the best…im sure it is…i will be trying this recipe soon..looking forward to ur whole grain baking series.

  • This really doues look like best!!! Try this recipe as soon as I can!

  • Angie

    I’ve been looking for a white bread recipe! When you freeze the sliced bread, does it actually taste good out of the freezer? I’ve only tried once and it wasn’t as good – like not even good at all! I know a lot of people do, so I must have done something wrong!

  • annieseats

    Yeah, we freeze all sorts of breads on a regular basis and it always tastes just as good as fresh, even from the freezer. I wonder what happened with yours…

  • Angie

    It could have been as simple as improper storage! But I’ll definitely try this recipe and test it out!!

  • Caroline L.

    Classic! I thought of this & thought of PB&J, ha. I also recently recommended your blog to a friend by telling her that you have lots of great recipes and tips for making the classics at home… I know she’ll be glad to see this one! :)

  • Vanessa F.

    I love that this requires no bread machine, no fancy stones — just a loaf pan and an oven :)

  • Jill

    I make a lot of homemade bread, but have yet to find that perfect white bread loaf. This looks great! Can’t wait to try it!

  • Erica Perry

    Mmmm, bread…. Looking forward to the series on whole grain baking!

  • This looks totally perfect! Yum!

  • Jenny

    yum this looks delish! Just wondering how much your family spends on groceries a week since everything is homemade?

  • Annie @Annie’s City Kitchen

    It’s weird because I feel like making good white bread is actually quite challenging. And height on this bread, my goodness!

  • Diana

    Really looking forward to the grain posts! I’ve been making my own bread most of the year and like new recipes to try!

  • I feel the same way about saying, ‘It’s the best!’ And when recipes say that, I’m always skeptical. But sometimes, it just has to be said. Can’t wait to try this bread. Thanks.

  • I’ve made Rosebud’s cinnamon rolls, I will definitely give this a shot.

  • annieseats

    With our produce delivery bin and the actual grocery and butcher shop trips all combined, it is probably about $120-$150 per week.

  • Denise Wesely

    I am wondering if this can be halved. I like to use my bread machine to mix and knead, and not have to do it by hand. My machine can’t handle that much flour.

  • annieseats

    Sure. Enjoy!

  • I love a gorgeous loaf of white bread and this one is perfect. It’s been forever that I’ve baked one and now I’m tempted — just need to make sure someone is around to help me eat it :)

  • Jenny

    wow that’s awesome, I figured making every meal at home would be more cost effective!

  • Ann

    Looks wonderful! I have been working on my break making this year. For sure need to try this one. Looking forward to hearing about your whole grain adventures, too!

  • I must admit, I love a good white bread.

  • Shelly

    It’s in the oven! My first attempt at bread baking, I bought a Kitchen Aide mixer recently so I thought I’d challenge it (and me!). Love your blog Annie, I used many of your recipes for my daughter’s baby shower this past weekend and they were all good! Thanks for inspiring me!

  • That does look like a very beautiful buttery loaf! We don’t eat a lot of white bread either but when we next do, it may just have to be this!

  • Yum I sure do miss white bread! Totally excited about your wholegrain baking post!

  • Helena

    This is rising right now. Looking forward to the whole grain series!

  • Rayna W.

    I’ve been searching for a great white bread recipe for a long time! Thank you so much!

  • Shelly

    So….I’m a bread baker now! The bread was delicious, and so simple to make. Can’t wait for more bread recipes!

  • Karen @ The Food Charlatan

    Mmm I have been searching for the perfect white bread. Maybe this is it! Thanks Annie!

  • Sarah Furge

    Just out of curiosity, what kind of bread pans do you use? Glass, metal, stone? If you’ve used all three, do you notice much of a difference in the outcome?

  • annieseats

    Awesome! Love to hear that. Be sure to check out the bread category in the recipe index. There are lots more great recipes there already!

  • susan

    can you use bread flour in this recipe?

  • annieseats

    All-purpose is preferable.

  • annieseats

    Mine are metal. I don’t like stoneware pans (too heavy) and I prefer metal to glass.

  • Ambar

    So excited to try this recipe! No bread machine:)

  • Kaitlin

    I made this yesterday and was amazed with both how easy and how amazing it was. Soft enough for a PBJ but sturdy enough for a good sandwich. Thanks so much for all of your amazing recipes!

  • I made this recipe this weekend. We made the best grilled cheese sandwiches with it and it makes great French toast.

  • Rachel @ TwinTough

    Gorgeous photos of this bread! I want to just reach into the computer and grab a slice! (and slather some butter on it, of course!) :)

  • annieseats

    Thank you so much!

  • Trying this as I…oven is preheating. The dough is so silky I am excited to see the end result. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  • Kristy

    So, this may be a dumb question.. but could I make this recipe using regular yeast and not rapid rise?

  • annieseats

    You could, but in my personal experience bread always turns out better with rapid rise. It’s up to you, though :)

  • Stefanie

    I made this yesterday and my kids loved it. They hate homemade stuff and love the process stuff instead. I’m trying to save money and be healthier so I’ve been trying to make more stuff homemade. This helped convince them that homemade is better. My daughter asked when we could make some more. I love your blog, especially the stuff with your kids. I love to cook and bake with my kids.

  • Sarah

    Jenny, I would assume that also covers things that are not edible such at tissue, etc…which are quite pricey.

  • Sarah

    Silly question ahead, please indulge me… How do you: A) Slice your bread without smashing it to heck and B) with such even slices ? Thank you in advance.

  • Tracy

    I agree! I too have tried a lot of bread recipes and this is one that both kids and adults love. Thanks for sharing!

  • annieseats

    I think her response may be worded in a confusing way but I think she agrees it is cheaper to make meals at home.

    In any case, this total doesn’t include any household items, just groceries, but to feed our family of four three (mostly organic, well rounded) meals a day for this, it works out to less than $2 per person per meal. Pretty cost effective indeed!

  • annieseats

    A good serrated bread knife is essential. Mine is a Wusthof that I got at a workshop I attended, and it is awesome. Even slices is obviously operator dependent but I think the good bread knife really makes all the difference.

  • Jennifer

    I just tried this bread last weekend and my family raved about it. Even my picky husband agreed that it was very good and ate several slices. It was great for grilled cheese sandwiches too. Thanks!

  • Sarah

    I’m only curious, I tried a bread recipe last week and for some reason when it came out of the oven the bread was entirely inedible. It tasted like flour and nothing more or less. I had to give to the birds. I’m wondering what did I do wrong? I don’t want to fudge this one so whatever advice you have its appreciated.

  • annieseats

    It’s very difficult to know what might have gone wrong since I wasn’t there, but it definitely sounds like something did. Hopefully you’ll have better luck next time!

  • Kelly Polizzi

    I made this and it got rave reviews from all my family and will be the only bread I make from now on. Who knew bread flour was so unnecessary to good bread? Thank you!

  • annieseats

    Oh, I think it is necessary in some breads. It just depends on the end result you are going for. For a lighter crumb like with this bread, a lower protein flour like all-purpose is best.

  • Christine Chong

    This is sooooo good. I just ate 3 slices slathered in butter in one sitting… And I rarely eat white bread. I just made this for my little one. Can’t wait to see your post about whole grain baking!

  • Ana from Buenos Aires

    Hi Annie! I m very used to making bread (many of your recipes!) and it always turns out perfect. But this time I followed every step of the recipe carefully but the crust didn’t turn out as golden as yours…do you know what may be the problem?

  • annieseats

    I assume you did brush the tops of the loaves with butter? If so, I’m not sure what the issue might have been.

  • Ana from Buenos Aires

    Yes I did… maybe next time! (it tasted delish anyway!) Thanks

  • Lisa Gupton

    YUMMY! First time making bread and it was a success! Even my uber picky (+Sensory-Processing-Disorder) kid ate it up! Thanks!!

  • Liddy

    I’d never heard of inserting a thermometer into bread to determine if it’s done, before reading this recipe. My dad (who taught me to bake) taught me to check my loaves by appearance and by the sound when I tap the bottom of the loaf. Do you use a thermometer for all bread you bake?

  • annieseats

    Yeah, that’s how I have always done it. I learned from America’s Test Kitchen, Peter Reinheart, etc. I’ve made loaves that look fine and pass the sound test but then aren’t actually done, so I’m glad to have that extra bit of reassurance.

  • Liddy

    Interesting! A little bit of extra reassurance never hurts! :) I’m going to try that on my next loaves. Where do you normally insert the thermometer…on the side?

  • annieseats

    If it’s a loaf in a loaf pan, usually near one corner but angled in towards the center. In a large round loaf such as sourdough, usually just right in the top/center.

  • Liddy

    Thanks so much! I’ve got the dough for this bread rising in a bowl right now…can’t wait to slice it up for my family’s sandwiches tomorrow! Although I’m quite sure we’re not going to be able to wait that long for our first taste. :)

  • Kimberly

    The bottom of my bread burnt after 18 mins in the oven at 400! :/

  • Melissa Brooker

    I tried this today and I failed :( it was dense and very hard on the top, I’m not certain what I did wrong, but I will google solutions and try again? It’s certainly not the fault of the recipe! I guess bread and I still have some work to do!