Just the softest, fluffiest sandwich loaf ever. This buttermilk bread recipe will become a staple in your house.
- Plastic Wrap
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup buttermilk room temperature
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 egg
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 2¼ teaspoons instant or active dry yeast
For brushing the loaf
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- Mix the ingredients. Add all ingredients to the bowl of an electric stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Combine until a dough forms that holds together and does not stick to the sides or bottom of the bowl.
- Knead the dough. Knead for ten to fifteen minutes until it is smooth, soft, and reaches the windowpane stage (meaning that when the dough is stretched, a translucent area appears). If the dough is still dry after a minute or two of kneading, sprinkle on the water a teaspoon at a time.
- The first rise. Shape the dough gently into a ball and place it into a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a clean, damp tea towel and place into a warm place to rise. Let the dough rise for 60 minutes until it is puffy and has doubled in size.
- Shape into a loaf. Spray the loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Gently stretch the dough into a rectangle. Use your loaf pan as your guide and make the short side of the rectangle the same length as the longer side of the loaf pan. The rectangle will be about 9 x 18 inches. Tuck in the corners and top of the dough. Think of the saying “shoulders in, head down.” Keep rolling into a log. Tuck the ends under. Pinch the seams closed and place the loaf, seam side down, into a lightly oiled loaf pan.
- Second rise. Cover with heavily greased plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise again until the dough rises to one inch above the top of the loaf pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake. Brush the top of the loaf with melted butter. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. If you have an instant-read thermometer, check the temperature.. The finished bread should be between 195-200 degrees. Remove the bread from the loaf pan and allow it to cool fully on a wire rack.
important tools and ingredients
- Loaf Pan: Essential for baking the bread.
- Stand Mixer: While not absolutely necessary, it significantly reduces the kneading effort.
- Instant-read Thermometer: Takes the guesswork out of determining when the bread is done.
- Wire Rack: Allows the bread to cool uniformly without getting soggy at the bottom.
- Buttermilk: This is the hero ingredient. While the name might suggest it’s full of butter, buttermilk is actually a low-fat dairy product. It introduces a slight tanginess and ensures the bread remains moist. Whole milk buttermilk is recommended for optimal results.
- Instant or Active Dry Yeast: The type of yeast you use can affect the rise time. While both can be used in this recipe, remember that active dry yeast might require a little more time to activate.
tips for success
Kneading is Key: The windowpane test, mentioned in the instructions, is essential. It ensures your dough has been kneaded sufficiently and has the right gluten development. When stretched gently, the dough should form a thin membrane without tearing.
Rising Right: Warm, draft-free environments are best for letting your dough rise. If your kitchen is a bit cold, your oven with the light on (and heat off) can be a good spot. Remember, patience is key! Let the dough double in size to ensure a fluffy result.
Shaping the Loaf: When shaping, be gentle. Overworking the dough can push out the gas bubbles that make the bread light. The step-by-step method of tucking and rolling is vital for a uniform loaf.
Baking to Perfection: Keep an eye on your bread while it bakes. Depending on your oven’s heat distribution, you might need to rotate it for even browning. Using an instant-read thermometer removes the guesswork and ensures your bread is cooked perfectly inside.
Refrigerated Slow Rise: If you’d like to split the process over two days, after the first kneading, instead of letting it rise at room temperature, cover the dough and place it in the refrigerator for a slow overnight rise. The next morning, shape it into a loaf, let it undergo its second rise, and then bake.
Cool Completely: Before storing, always let the bread cool entirely on a wire rack. Storing warm bread can lead to condensation, which can make the bread soggy and promote mold growth.
- Bread Bin or Bread Box: If you have a bread bin or bread box, this is an ideal place to store your loaf. It will maintain the bread’s softness while preventing it from becoming overly moist or drying out too quickly.
- Avoid Refrigeration: Storing bread in the refrigerator can cause it to become stale more quickly due to the process of retrogradation. It’s best to keep it at room temperature unless you live in a very humid environment.
- Slice if Desired: If you think you’ll be using the bread one slice at a time, consider slicing it before freezing. This way, you can just grab and thaw individual slices as needed.
- Wrap Tightly: Using plastic wrap or aluminum foil, wrap the loaf or individual slices tightly to prevent freezer burn.
- Bag It: After wrapping, place the loaf or slices into a resealable plastic freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing.
- Label and Date: Always label your bread with the date of freezing. Soft Buttermilk Bread can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months without significant loss of quality.
- Thawing: When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen loaf or slices, allow them to thaw at room temperature. If you’re in a hurry, individual slices can be popped directly into a toaster or oven.
more homemade sandwich breads:
- Hawaiian Sandwich Bread
- Whole Wheat Bread
- Cheap White Bread
- Amish White Bread
- Honey Wheat Bread
- Milk and Honey Bread
Any time you want a super soft slice, like for a kids PB&J, this is your recipe! Makes awesome grilled cheese too.
Hope you love it!