Soft White Bread Recipe | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Monday, May 4, 2020

Soft White Bread Recipe

This homemade Soft White Bread recipe is the perfect vessel for all your sandwiches, for French Toast, or to be sliced and eaten with a good slather of butter! Thanks to Tangzhong (the Japanese method of combining flour and water into a cooked slurry and adding it to the dough) this bread will stay fresh for nearly a week!

Bread slices on wooden board with knife

I've been MIA from my blog for sometime. But I have a very wonderful excuse!

In January, I became a first time Grandma! I took a break from blogging and flew down to Florida to help my daughter navigate those first few months as a new mom. That kept me very busy and filled my heart with joy as I cared for and watched my grandson change every day.

Then the world got crazy!  We were thrust into a full blown pandemic and I had to cut my stay short by a few weeks. By the time I got home, we had been given stay at home orders. Only go out for essential items.

Grocery shopping became very different than what we were used to. Empty shelves, limits on products.

No bread to be found anywhere.

Lucky for me, I had flour and yeast at home. So I set out to find the best bread recipe I could. I had a checklist:

  • A bread recipe that didn't call for any odd ingredients. ( I had all purpose flour, but no bread flour.)
  • A bread that didn't call for eggs. (Eggs have been challenging to get up here in NE Ohio.) 
  • A bread that could stand up to being the backbone of a sandwich. (Husband runs an essential manufacturing business and packs a lunch everyday.) 
  • A homemade bread recipe that would stay fresh for more than a day or two.

While I love this recipe for Oatmeal Bread (It's my second favorite bread recipe) and this one for Honey Oat Whole Wheat Bread, I wanted a more basic bread that could be used primarily for sandwiches and French Toast.

This soft white bread recipe checked all the boxes for me, and the one I have been making now for several weeks. I'm going to share it and all the tricks and tips I've learned over the past few weeks with you!

Soft White bread sliced from loaf laying over a wooden board with butter on the side

Tips for making the best Soft White Bread Recipe!

  • Check your yeast. Do you have dry active yeast or instant yeast? Active dry yeast will need to be bloomed before adding to the dry ingredients. Instant can be added directly to the recipe without the need to bloom. Check to see if the yeast is expired. You still may be able to use it even after expiration if it's been stored in a cool dry place. (I keep my yeast in the refrigerator or the freezer.) You can do this by taking a small amount of yeast and pinch of granulated sugar dissolved in a bit of warm water. If you see bubbles forming at the top in about 5 minutes, your yeast should be good to go. 
  • Use the right flour. This recipe is made with unbleached, all purpose flour. You can also use  bread flour if you like. White Whole Wheat Flour can be substituted for part of the AP flour, but the loaf won't come out as soft as if you used AP or bread flour. 
  • Try weighing the flour instead of using a cup measure. 
  • Adjust the liquid called for in the recipe if you need to. Flour absorbs moisture from it's surroundings. On a humid day, you may need slightly (a TBSP or two) less liquid in this recipe than you would on a dry day. 
  • Find a warm place without a draft to proof the bread dough. I like to turn the oven light on in my oven (I have an electric oven) and proof the dough in there. The light gives off just enough heat to let the dough rise perfectly no matter what time of the year it is. 
  • Make sure the crust is soft for easier slicing. To achieve a nice soft crust, when the bread is baked and out of the pan while still warm, baste the crust with melted butter. I like to use salted butter for flavor, but unsalted will work just fine too. 
  • Make it with the help of an appliance! This recipe makes one loaf and calls for instant yeast so it's the perfect bread recipe for a bread machine. I like to use my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer with the dough hook to mix and knead the dough. So easy. It's also a small enough bread recipe, it can be made in a large food processor with a dough blade too! 
  • Use the tangzhong method! I've made this recipe with the tangzhong method and without and hands down it's a much better bread with it! 

Whole loaf of soft white bread on a wooden board with knife ready to be sliced

What is Tangzhong?

Simply stated, Tangzhong is the Japanese method of combining flour and water and cooking them into a thick paste that is added to the bread dough before baking. This process turns the starch molecules into a gelatinous form. It gives this bread an amazing soft texture and wonderful crumb and I'm convinced it's what keeps this bread from going stale quickly. 

In this easy bread recipe, you'll take part of the flour and water called for in the recipe and combine them in a small saucepan on the stove. It takes a few minutes and some whisking under medium heat to produce a thick paste. The paste is cooled slightly and then added back into the dough with the wet ingredients.

Three slices, overhead view, of soft white bread with on a wooden board with butter on the side

To date, I have made 25 loaves and counting of this delicious bread. I'm never disappointed. Soft, tender, not crumbly, and the perfect bread recipe for sandwiches and French Toast!

Half of a sandwich being held with a bite made from soft white bread

How to make Soft White Bread

Begin by measuring out the flour and the water. From there, make a tangzhong paste. It will cook up thick like below.

Tanzhong paste for soft white bread recipe

Make the dough in your stand mixer, bread machine, or food processor. Allow to rise in a warm place, loosely covered, until puffy. About 1 to 2 hours.

First rise of soft white bread recipe, ready to be punched down and formed into a loaf

Punch dough down and shape into a loaf. Put in bread pan sprayed with cooking spray and cover loosely. Allow to rise to about 1" above edge of pan.

Soft White Bread Recipe risen and ready to bake in 9" bread pan

Bake in 350 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove to rack and baste with melted butter. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Brown and crusty soft white bread recipe cooling on rack

Soft White Bread Recipe
Yield: 16 servings (1 loaf)
Author: Renee Paj
Soft White Bread Recipe

Soft White Bread Recipe

Prep time: 12 MinCook time: 40 MinTotal time: 52 Min
Homemade Soft White Bread recipe is the perfect vessel for all your sandwiches, for French Toast, or to be sliced and eaten with a good slather of butter! Thanks to Tangzhong (the Japanese method of combining flour and water into a cooked slurry and adding it to the dough) this bread will stay fresh for nearly a week!


  • 3 cups (361g) Unbleached, All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup milk (can be any fat content)
  • 2/3 cups of hot tap water (slightly less if humid)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 TBSP granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. instant yeast or 1 package of dry active yeast dissolved in a TBSP of warm water
  • cooking spray (such as Pam)
  • 1 TBSP melted butter


  1. Measure out the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Measure out 2/3 cup hot water. Take 3 TBSP of the flour from the bowl (set the bowl aside) and add it to a small sauce pan. Add 1/2 cup of the 2/3 cup hot water to the 3 TBSP flour and whisk to combine. (Set the rest of the water aside).
  2. Cook flour/water combo stirring constantly over medium heat until a thick paste forms. Take off heat and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Return to bowl with the remaining flour. Add sugar, salt, and instant yeast (if using). Combine.
  4. With dough hook in place and mixer running on low, slowly add the remaining hot water, milk, vegetable oil, and the tangzhong paste. Knead until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and a soft, elastic dough forms, 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Transfer dough to oiled bowl and loosely cover. Place in warm area until puffy, but not necessarily doubled in size. (About 1 to 2 hours)
  6. Punch dough down and shape into loaf. Place in greased 9" bread pan and cover loosely with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Place in warm area to rise. Allow to rise about 1" above the edges. (About an hour).
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake bread for about 30 to 35 minutes or until it sounds hollow or center of the loaf reads 190 degrees F with an instant read thermometer.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in pan, then remove from pan to rack. Baste outside of bread with melted butter. Allow to cool completely before slicing. Store in dry place, at room temperature. This bread can be frozen.


If using Dry Active Yeast, bloom the yeast in a little warm water and add with the wet ingredients.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

4.58 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

0.84 g

Carbs (grams)

20.15 g

Fiber (grams)

0.84 g

Net carbs

19.31 g

Sugar (grams)

1.63 g

Protein (grams)

3.00 g

Sodium (milligrams)

229.01 mg

Cholesterol (grams)

2.52 mg

Nutritional Information provided is an estimate.

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  1. If using a breadmachine, do you just use it for kneading and first rise or do you make & bake the loaf in it??

    1. Hi! I use my bread machine for kneading and first rise only. I almost never bake in it because I like to shape my loaves. Hope this helps!

    2. Thank you so much!


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