Best White Bread Recipe Ever (IMHO)

The Bible says that man can't live by bread alone. I beg to differ, because I think I could eat this bread forever! This recipe from Cooks Illustrated is the only one I use. It's classic, tasty, and easy!


In case you haven't heard of Cook's Illustrated, Cooks Country, or America's Test Kitchen, they test recipes over and over until they're foolproof. Every single one of their recipes I've made has turned out. I'd say that's a pretty good track record!

You can subscribe to their magazines or websites to obtain recipes or purchase their cookbooks. You won't be disappointed!


Makes one 9-inch loaf.

  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour, plus extra for work surface
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 cup milk, warm (110 degrees)
  • 1/3 cup water, warm (110 degrees)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 package rapid-rise (instant) yeast

Adjust oven rack to low position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Once oven temperature reaches 200 degrees, maintain heat for 10 minutes, then turn off oven heat.

Mix flour and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Mix milk, water, butter, honey, and yeast in 1-quart Pyrex liquid measuring cup. Turn machine to low and slowly add liquid. When dough comes together, increase speed to medium (setting number 4 on a KitchenAid mixer) and mix until dough is smooth and satiny, stopping machine two or three times to scrape dough from hook if necessary, about 10 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface; knead to form smooth, round ball, about 15 seconds.

Place dough in very lightly oiled bowl, rubbing dough around bowl to lightly coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; place in warm oven until dough doubles in size, 40 to 50 minutes.

Form dough into loaf by gently pressing the dough into a rectangle, one inch thick and no wider than the length of the loaf pan. Next, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing with your fingers to make sure the dough sticks to itself. Turn dough seam side up and pinch it closed. Place dough in greased 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan and press gently so dough touches all four sides of pan.

Cover with plastic wrap; set aside in warm spot until dough almost doubles in size, 20 to 30 minutes. Heat oven to 350 degrees, placing empty loaf pan on bottom rack. Bring 2 cups water to boil.

Remove plastic wrap from loaf pan. Place pan in oven, immediately pouring heated water into empty loaf pan; close oven door. Bake until instant-read thermometer inserted at angle from short end just above pan rim into center of loaf reads 195 degrees, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove bread from pan, transfer to a wire rack, and cool to room temperature. Slice and serve.

Do you make homemade bread? If so, where did you get your recipe?