The Only Recipe for Sandwich Bread You Need

in Bread, DIY

Classic American Sandwich Bread

It’s probably no surprise to anyone, but I handle the bulk of the grocery shopping around here. And by that, I mean that Jason knows where HEB, Costco, and Aldi are. And that they allegedly sell things other than cheese and wine and Blue Bell.


So on the super rare occasion that he has to go grab a forgotten ingredient or two, I make sure my phone is right next to me. Because I know it will ring.

And it will ring more than once. (The over-under is at 3.) (Fair disclosure: Jason would probably rather cut off both his ears with a rusty spoon than send me back to Home Depot for lumber again.)

Classic American Sandwich Bread

Why is there artificial smoke flavor in this?
[Confused, because he went for bread and cheese] They… put it in so they don’t actually have to smoke the meat?
I’m reading the bag of bread.
Dude. Gross.
I’m not buying this. Show me how to make it when I get home.

Or… you could go play dinosaur lunchtime tea party upstairs with Landry and just let me do it because as huge a dino-geek as I am, I cannot play that game for one single second more some days.

Classic American Sandwich Bread

Enter the last recipe for sandwich bread that you’ll ever need.

It’s light, white, and fluffy. It’s soft, tender, but still holds up to a serrated knife. When I make Landry’s butterfly- or dino-shaped PB&Js for lunch, I don’t throw these scraps away – I eat them in the before-school chaos for my breakfast.

The recipe is even fairly quick and painless, as far as bread goes (assuming you’re not kneading by hand). I have been baking it twice a week, to stay ahead of the lunch curve: once on the weekend and then again on Wednesday nights. And only once has it ever done this:

Keepin' it real

Don’t skip that step to lower your oven rack. Otherwise, you’ll be sawing off the top of the loaf.

Slice it up, freeze what you don’t need in the next two days, and then tell me that it doesn’t make the very best “plain” turkey sandwich you’ve ever eaten for lunch.

American Sandwich Bread

Light, airy, soft. and tender - it's the only recipe for sandwich bread you'll ever need.


  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp (1 package) dry active yeast
  • 1 cup warm milk (I use low-fat)
  • 3 Tbsp sugar (or honey)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted (I microwave it with the milk)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 cups flour, plus more if needed
  • Oil or cooking spray for greasing bowl and loaf pan


  1. Sprinkle yeast over warm water and proof for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the milk, butter, sugar, flour, and salt to the bowl, mixing in low until combined.
  3. Increase speed to medium and knead for 10 minutes, until dough mostly cleans the side of the bowl and is smooth. (If the dough is still very sticky half way through kneading, add a few extra Tbsp flour.)
  4. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for ~45 minutes in a warm spot.
  5. Spray a loaf pan (original recipe recommends 9-inch, I use a 10-inch) with cooking spray.
  6. Press the dough into a rectangle 1-inch thick, approximately 9-inches long, and then begin rolling the long edge into a cylinder.
  7. Crimp the bottom edge of the dough and lightly press it into the loaf pan, spreading it to the corners.
  8. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes while the oven is preheating to 350 and you're rearranging your oven racks to back in the lower/middle of your oven (remember - top third will look like that sad loaf above!).
  9. Bring 2 cups of water to boil and place it in a small pan in the oven when you place the loaf pan in the oven.
  10. Bake for ~45 minutes, until golden brown.
  11. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
  12. I slice once cool (16 slices + ends) and freeze the bread in stacks of 4 in a large zipper bag. I let the bread thaw overnight in a zipper bag on the counter to make lunches in the morning.


Yields: 1 loaf, or 16 slices of bread

Source: Cook's Illustrated Cookbook via Smells Like Home

Estimated time: 2 hours 45 minutes

6 comments… add one
  • yepp. This is exactly why making stuff at home is better! This bread looks perfect!

  • I get similar ridiculous questions when I send the.boy to the store…so I definitely try to not do it often. 😛 Homemade bread is a must! This is one beauty of a loaf.

  • I love warm homemade bread with butter. I wish I could make my slices look as beautiful and even as yours. I also receive many calls from my husband when he is shopping with the list I provided. I think he likes shopping this way he brings home the things I didn’t add on the list like ice cream and cream filled desserts.

  • Sonya

    Thanks for this great recipe! Just tried it today – only change I made was substituted rice milk for the milk, and it turned out fantastic! I also did knead it by hand, but only needed a few minutes of kneading and still worked great. I’m sure I’ll be making this many more times, thanks!!

  • Katy

    How tall would you say your loaf is after baking? I, too, used a 10″ pan, but my loaf is less than 3″ tall. Trying to figure out if I didn’t get a good rise, or if I need to use a 9″ pan for what I want. Thanks for your help!

  • vee

    I make this on a regular basis – on the same schedule as you do! I also make the variations, using buttermilk, and oatmeal.
    My favorite way to eat it is to, slice thick, fry it in a pan with butter – and drizzle it with condensed milk. It is the most perfect breakfast.

    I do notice that when I make this, one slice is satisfying, it is so hearty.

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