Basic White Bread

make your own wonderbread

This past weekend was my first weekend being mostly healthy in a while, and it was awesome. I’m even better today – no coughing or sneezing or trouble breathing. As long as I avoid this scary flu that’s going around, I’ll be good to go! Kramer and I tried to get out of the house after being stuck inside with one illness after another. On Friday night, we went out to dinner with our friends Matt and Amanda to Samurai Mama in Williamsburg. Kramer and I fell in love with the night’s special, which was a piece of salmon sushi topped with a generous portion of sea urchin roe and wrapped in crispy seaweed paper. I could have just ordered a few more of those and been completely happy. I wish uni were more widely available in the US – I’d keep it in my fridge and spread it on toast, I swear. After dinner, we made the mistake of going to see Gangster Squad. I had long been looking forward to this movie. I love a good shoot ‘em up, I love the whole “why I oughta” thing, and I thought that this would be the best of both worlds, what with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone rounding out the cast. Sadly, it was one of the worst movies I’ve seen in recent memory. It was just boring and felt like a four hour movie even though it was just under two. They can’t all be winners, I guess. We immediately watched the most recent episode of Elementary when we got home to lighten our moods, and damn, what a good episode! If you’re not watching Elementary, do yourself a favor and start because it is excellent. On Saturday, we enjoyed a lazy morning, eating pancakes and watching movies, until that evening when we met up with our friends Morgan and Hannah for dinner at Cantina Royal (where we all almost burned our face off eating awesomely spicy salsas), then after a failed attempt to go bowling at Gutter, grabbed drinks with Kramer’s sister Rachel at Spritzenhaus, which I initially thought would be lame but I really loved. I want to go back to try some of their rabbit bratwurst; we did get to try their big, warm, delicious pretzels. Afterward, we finished the night up at our favorite spot, Burnside. On Sunday, Matt came by again to corral/direct/etc. Kramer and I in making a second cooking video. We already did one and it’s almost ready to post, so you’ll get to see that next week. I’m really proud of it (even though all I did was make cookies while Kramer and Matt wrangled the camera and tried to figure out how to squeeze a bit more light out of our kitchen) and I think that you will like it, too. Can you feel the excitement?

Basic White Bread

Until recently, I wasn’t a bread maker. I hated dealing with yeast. I was always afraid that I’d overknead my dough, that the bread would be tough, or that it wouldn’t rise properly. My husband is also so good at making bread, that I’ll be honest, I was a bit intimidated. He’s made danishes and sourdough boules and pizza…I just figured I’d leave the bread to him and I’d stick with cooking and the occasional baking. However, when I was home sick, I was getting antsy. I was stuck inside all day, I didn’t have the energy to even go for a walk, but I needed to do something after day two of laying around on the couch watching action movies from the 90s (which are guaranteed to improve your health). I decided to start with the basics: white bread. Everyone loves a soft, thick slice of Wonderbread, and that’s exactly what this bread tastes like, only fresh and without all the preservatives. Just flour, water, yeast, eggs, milk, and butter. You’ll love slathering a some unsalted butter on top of this as toast, making sandwiches or even using the ends to make bread pudding. Kramer did help me a bit with this, in that he suggested that I shape the bread into three loaves in the same pan. This not only looked pretty, but it allowed me to use the bread at my leisure without having to worry about any stale pieces of bread – the interior remained soft and tender, and therefore the bread stayed fresh tasting for an entire week. Kramer does it again, people. If you’re afraid of yeast, give this bread a try! You’ll thank me (and Kramer) later.


Basic White Bread
Step 1: Combine the warm water and yeast. You need to be sure that you give the yeast enough time to proof, or foam up, otherwise the bread won’t come out right. This can take anywhere from 8-12 minutes, so just be patient!

Basic White Bread
Now just bring your dough together by combining the foamy yeast and water mixture with your warm milk, sugar, salt, and oil, followed by the flour. Knead until mostly smooth. It may look a little tough; that’s alright.

Basic White Bread
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a towel to weigh the plastic wrap down in case it doesn’t stick completely to the rim of the bowl, and allow it to rise for 90 minutes.

Basic White Bread
Lightly flour a loaf pan and form the dough into three equal sized balls.

Basic White Bread
Again, allow the bread to rise for 45 minutes, then brush with butter and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, until golden.

Basic White Bread
Allow to cool before slicing and serving with some salted butter.

Basic White Bread
This bread will keep very well in an airtight container or sealable bag at room temperature for up to a week.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Basic White Bread
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 loaf of bread
 
Lightly sweet, soft white bread perfect for toast, sandwiches, or just with a bit of butter.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup warm (110-115 degrees F) water
  • 2¼ teaspoon (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm (110-115 degrees F) milk or buttermilk (full fat, please)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • sea salt or fleur de sel, for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. Combine the warm water and yeast in your mixing bowl and allow it to sit and get foamy, about 8-12 minutes. If the yeast doesn't foam, it is old - get another packet and try again!
  2. Once the yeast is foamy, add in the warm milk, stir to combine, followed by the oil owl, sugar, and salt. Mix well, then add in the flour, 1 cup at a time, until well incorporated. Knead with your dough hook or your hands for 6-8 minutes, until the dough is mostly smooth. Oil a large bowl, gather the dough up into a ball, and place it in the oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and/or a cloth towel and allow to rise for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  3. Once the dough has finished rising, punch it down and lightly flour a 5x10-inch loaf pan. Form the dough into three equal sized balls, and place them inside the pan, touching one another. Cover again with a cloth towel and allow to rise for 45 minutes.
  4. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Melt your 2 tablespoons of butter, and lightly brush the tops of your bread (you can also brush the sides, but don't brush between the crevices of the bread too much or else they won't stick together when baked). Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt, and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the bread is a light, golden brown and is set. Allow the bread to cool in the pan before removing and slicing. This bread will keep well in an airtight container or sealable bag at room temperature for 1 week.

 

28 Responses

  1. I love this! Everyone is always go crazy making hearty, artisan loaves and you go and make wonderbread. Which is sometimes exactly what you need. Crusty bread has its place, but not for a peanut butter sandwich. This looks so perfectly soft and fluffy!

  2. Stacey Evans says:

    I’m so proud of you for making bread and not being intimidated! I can’t wait to see the video, I always thought you should be on television. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Stacey

  3. Oooooh. Bread can be tricky. I’ve definitely made perfect loaves that led me to such hubris that my next loaf was the epitome of failure. Glad you conquered your fear though!

    What’s next on the bread train? Rye? That could be delicious with some pastrami….

  4. It’s gorgeous! White Wonder bread at home – that’s light, soft, fluffy, perfect! And I love that not only does Kramer know how to make bread (wow!) but that he’s able to give great tips like the bake 3 in a pan and it stays fresh for a week!

  5. Glad to hear that you are feeling better. Your bread looks beautiful! I love playing with yeast doughs, though I will say that failures (like killing the yeast) are great lessons!

  6. Rachael says:

    First, glad you are feeling better!
    Second, SAAAAAD because I was so looking forward to Gangster Squad! I love L.A. gangster movies ~ makes me all proud of my crime-riddled,corrupt hometown XD
    Third, I AM MAKING THIS BREAD. I go through phases of wanting to eat bread and when I want it, I usually cave in and buy gross grocery store white bread. If I make my Irish brown bread, I have too much – so the 3 rolls idea is genius. Thanks to Kramer for that tip!

  7. I think baking bread is intimidating, too! I figured making my own pizza crust would be a start…but making bread is the next thing to cross off my list.

  8. Megan says:

    1. This bread looks so good!

    2. I went to Samarai Mama when I visited New York! I loved it. I got a special that was spicy pork curry on udon noodles. I still daydream about it.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    The crumb looks soo perfect! I really need to bake bread more often, but it scares me too. I’ve been messing up pizza dough recently, so I need to change that soon!

  10. Erin says:

    If you’re interested in rabbit bratwurst, you should drop by Greene Grape Provisions in Fort Greene! Our butchers make rabbit brats every Thursday and they are sooo delicious! There are tons of other house-made sausages to try out (today I bought a mustard sausage and a beef heart sausage) and I haven’t had a bad one yet. And then you could hop across the street to Annex for a pour over coffee and to try one of my baked goods :) (I had to throw in a good word for myself, being the baker haha)

  11. These look awesome. I love that you have made 3 mini loaves ;) I wouldn’t have to share my crust!

  12. I want to try uni soooo badly. I also love Elementary. My mom always says most of the movies we watch are terrible. They can’t all be winners, but it would be nice if a few more were. This bread looks amazing! I love that you made 3 mini loaves! I never would have thought to do that. Genius :)

  13. jenny says:

    I wish I hadn’t looked at this before I went to bed, because now I am seriously craving it! and I love the three mini-loaves as one loaf. so smart! as a single person, that will make freezing portions of the bread for later so much easier!

    one little question for you. in your prose leading up to the recipe you said, “Just flour, water, yeast, eggs, milk, and butter.” but I don’t see eggs called for in the recipe. just wanted to be sure that I’m not missing any ingredients when I go to make this tomorrow!!

  14. Deb says:

    Basic white bread? Fresh homemade bread is such a delight! Your loaves are perfect, towering with a warm golden crust!

  15. I am going to make this bread right now. Just waiting to see if my yeast is not to old. Bring on the foam. Will update you how it turns out. Cheers

  16. This looks so good! Gorgeous photos. Nothing beats a hot chunk of homemade bread slathered in salted butter. Yum!

  17. [...] totally optional though, obviously. Kramer and I ate this alongside a big, thick slice of my homemade white bread, but oyster crackers or saltines are classic soup sides that would be a welcome addition to a big [...]

  18. This looks 10x better than Wonderbread, more like dinner rolls at a really good restaurant. And I’ve been wanting to try Samurai Mama for a while now; did you try the udon?

    • Sydney says:

      I did! It was awesome – we did the dipping one with pork belly and a poached egg. I’d love to go back for the mushroom variety next!

  19. We had the bread for dinner last night with a soup. So tasty and very fluffy, we are off to the supermarket to get some more flour to do some more for tonight. Thanks for a brilliant recipe.

  20. Your bread is perfect, love the 3 loaf in a pan idea! You’re a lucky girl to have such a yeast talented man!!!!

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  22. Forest says:

    This bread is great. Seriously. I’ve been wrestling with making sourdough for nearly for months, and was bummed out on bread baking. This was super easy and BEYOND tasty. Thank you for restoring my faith in bread baking!

  23. I have a huge aversion to yeast but you’re totally inspiring me to get my butt in the kitchen and to tackle this!

  24. aliciasaurus says:

    Just made this. FANTASTIC! I could barely wait for it to cool even the tiniest bit before slicing off a chunk to eat. Mmmm warm bread.

  25. […] seen this recipe over and over again on various blogs and websites, but I really do enjoy kneading bread every now and then, but this bread was made for a party in which I had already committed myself to […]

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