Soft and Fluffy Sandwich Bread Recipe: Your Guide to Perfect Homemade Loaves

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I’ve always cherished the aroma of freshly baked bread wafting through a kitchen. There’s something remarkably comforting about that scent, and it promises something homey and delicious. The texture of bread can really make a difference in your meal—the difference between a good sandwich and a great one often lies in the bread. That’s why I’ve taken it upon myself to perfect a soft and fluffy homemade sandwich bread recipe. It’s the kind that sinks slightly under the gentle pressure of your fingers and springs right back—a sign of a truly light and airy loaf.

fluffy sandwich bread recipe

Achieving that perfect texture isn’t as daunting as it may seem. It’s about understanding the simple science of bread-making and the role each ingredient plays. In the mixing process, for instance, using the right amount of flour is crucial for a tender crumb. Add to that the delicate balance of fats and the precise, yet patient, proofing times that allow the bread to develop its characteristic softness.

It’s also important to me that the steps for creating this comforting staple are clear and concise. Homemade sandwich bread shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be a feasible, enjoyable venture for anyone interested in baking. With the right instructions and a few tips I’ve gathered over time, like ensuring the yeast is properly activated and allowing the dough to rise in a warm, draft-free place, anyone can turn flour, water, and yeast into delightful slices of comfort perfect for the everyday sandwich or a simple piece of buttered toast.

Ingredients Selection

When I bake soft and fluffy sandwich bread, the quality and type of ingredients can make a significant difference in the taste and texture of the final loaf. The right flour, yeast, fats, and liquids are crucial components that interact to create the perfect bread.

Choosing the Right Flour

For this recipe, I am using organic unbleached all-purpose flour. I have been asked by my lovely followers to create a fluffy sandwich bread recipe that uses all store-bought ingredients – so here it is!

Many people love using bread flour for their sandwich bread recipes, but I don’t find it to be necessary.

Yeast: Active Dry vs. Instant

The choice between active dry yeast and instant yeast doesn’t have to be complicated. Instant yeast can be mixed directly with your flour because it’s more consistent and has a longer shelf life. Active dry yeast, on the other hand, should be dissolved in warm water (about 110°F) to “wake it up” before being added to the other ingredients.

I much prefer instant yeast and that is what I use and always recommend to you guys. It’s an extra step to wake up the active dry yeast, so I avoid it whenever possible. 

soft and fluffy homemade sandwich bread

Lipids in Bread: Oil and Butter

Fats like oil and butter are vital for a tender crumb and flavor. Butter will give your bread a rich taste, while oils such as olive oilvegetable oil, or avocado oil will add a subtle flavor and make your bread softer. I use salted butter for its flavor.

Liquids: Water and Milk Options

Liquids activate the yeast and combine with flour to form the dough. Water creates a crisper crust, while milk, especially whole milk, enriches the dough for a softer loaf. If this loaf was any softer it would fall apart, so we are using warm water in this recipe. Milk is not necessary.

Mixing and Kneading the Dough

Properly mixing and kneading the dough are crucial steps to achieve a soft and fluffy sandwich bread. These processes develop the gluten structure that gives the bread its essential texture.

Using a Stand Mixer

I find that using a stand mixer is the most efficient method for mixing and kneading bread dough. My favorite mixer is the Ankasrum mixer, but many people love and have success with a kitchen aid mixer and dough hook.  I start by adding the ingredients into the mixer bowl and then mixing at a low speed to incorporate them. Once the ingredients are combined, I increase the speed to medium and let the mixer work the dough for about 6 to 8 minutes. This should be enough to develop a smooth and elastic dough.

Kneading by Hand

When I knead dough by hand, I start on a lightly floured surface and use the heels of my hands to press and stretch the dough away from me, then fold it back over itself, giving it a quarter turn each time. This process usually takes about 10 minutes, but I always go by feel; the dough should be smooth and spring back slightly when poked.

bowl of fluffy sandwich bread dough

Understanding Dough Consistency

The right consistency of the dough is paramount. I always keep in mind that the dough should not be too sticky nor too dry. While kneading—whether by mixer or hand—I add a little flour at a time if the dough is sticking too much. Conversely, if the dough feels stiff and tough, I might add a teaspoon of water to adjust. It’s the tactile experience that guides me; the dough should be tacky but not stick to my hands excessively.

First Proofing: Letting the Dough Rise

In bread baking, the first rise is crucial for developing the bread’s structure and flavor. During this stage, the yeast works through the dough, creating gases that cause the dough to expand.

You can allow the dough to rise in a large bowl at room temperature or you can heat your oven to a very low temperature, like 100 degrees F. and allow the dough to proof in there. It will rise much more quickly in a warm place.

Covering and Placing the Dough

After mixing my ingredients into a smooth dough, I place it in a greased bowl large enough to accommodate the dough’s expansion. To prevent a skin from forming, I cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap or a clean, damp tea towel. The dough then goes to rest in a draft-free spot. A warm environment, ideally around 78 degrees, speeds up fermentation, so I might place my bowl in an off oven with the light on, or any other spot that maintains a warm and steady temperature.

Recognizing When the Dough Has Doubled

I keep an eye on my dough to ensure I catch it when it has doubled in size, which is a clear indicator that my first proof is complete. This typically takes about 1 to 2 hours, but can vary. To test, I gently press it with my finger; if the indentation remains, it has risen enough. It’s important not to let it rise for too long as this can exhaust the yeast and result in a dense loaf.

Shaping and Second Proofing

After the initial rise has contributed to the bread’s flavor and structure, the steps that follow are crucial for achieving a picture-perfect loaf. I’ll guide you through forming the loaf and ensuring it’s ready for the oven with the perfect second rise.

Forming the Loaf

I begin by punching down the dough which releases any excess gas and redistributes the yeast, allowing for even fermentation. Next, I transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface to start shaping. The goal is to shape the dough into a rectangle that’s approximately the length of the loaf pan I’ll be using.

  1. Flatten the dough gently into a rectangle, avoiding overworking it.
  2. Starting at one of the short ends, I roll the rectangle tightly into a cylinder.
  3. I make sure to pinch the seams to seal the dough, preventing unseemly gaps after baking.

Preparing for the Oven: Second Rise

Before the loaf pan sees the warmth of the oven, a second rise is vital. This rise is what makes a loaf truly soft and fluffy.

  • I carefully place the shaped dough into a greased loaf pan.
  • It’s crucial to let the dough rise again, covered, in a warm environment, until it crests above the rim of the pan.

During this second rise, patience is key — I make sure it doesn’t overproof, which can lead to an over-expanded loaf that collapses.

Remember, by giving the loaf its shape and the right environment for the second rise, I’m setting the stage for a deliciously baked masterpiece.

fluffy sandwich bread

Baking and Cooling

When I bake bread, precision is key to achieve a perfect loaf. The bake transforms the dough into a golden brown delight, and proper cooling and storage are just as important to maintain that homemade quality.

Achieving the Perfect Bake

To ensure my bread bakes evenly, I preheat my oven to the temperature specified by my bread recipe, which is often around 350°F to 375°F. I use loaf pans that have been well-greased or lined with parchment paper to prevent sticking. As the bread bakes, I look for a golden brown crust, a sign that it’s done. This usually takes about 30 minutes. It’s important not to open the oven frequently, as this can affect the temperature and disturb the rise.

Storing Homemade Bread

Once my bread is baked, I let it cool in the pan for a set amount of time, typically around 10 to 15 minutes, before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely. To store, I keep my bread on my counter in a cake stand – it keeps the bread fresh, soft and ready for immediate use. 

For longer storage, freezing is an effective method. I place the cooled loaf of bread in a freezer-safe bag, squeezing out excess air.

Ingredients for Soft and Fluffy Sandwich Bread Recipe

2 cups warm water

2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup honey

2 teaspoons yeast

5 1/2 – 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, combine warm water, salt, honey and melted butter. Mix until well combined and the salt begins to dissolve.
  2. Add 4 cups of flour and mix. 
  3. Next add the yeast, stir.
  4. Add 1 1/2 cups more flour and mix until a soft dough forms. Reserve the last cup of flour for adding while kneading. Dough should be shaggy, lose and pulling easily away the sides of the bowl. Not too sticky.
  5. Onto a clean, floured surface, turn out the dough. If using a mixer, turn the speed to medium, attach the dough hook and knead for 6-8 minutes.
  6. Begin kneading the dough and adding flour from the reserved cup as needed if it sticks to the counter or your hands. 
  7. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic – about 8-10 minutes by hand or 5-6 in a stand mixer. 
  8. Warm your oven to about 100 degrees F. we will place the dough here as a nice warm, draft free spot for it to go for it’s first rise. It will drastically reduce the rise time. 
  9. Place dough in a bowl and into the 100 degree oven. Turn the oven off. 
  10. Check the dough periodically. We are looking for it to double in size. 
  11. Once it has doubled in size, prepare 2 baking pans by greasing them with cooking spray or oil. 
  12. Turn dough onto floured surface, divide the dough in half and shape into loaves. 
  13. Place back in the warmed oven until the dough begins to rise over the brim of the pans. 
  14. Remove from the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. 
  15. Bake bread for around 30 minutes or until the tops are browned and the internal temperature reaches about 180 degrees F. 
  16. Rub butter over the tops if desired, allow to cool and then slice. 
soft and fluffy sandwich bread recipe
Yield: 2 loaves

Soft and Fluffy Sandwich Bread Recipe: Your Guide to Perfect Homemade Loaves

fluffy sandwich bread recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 5 1/2 - 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, combine warm water, salt, honey and melted butter. Mix until well combined and the salt begins to dissolve.
  2. Add 4 cups of flour and mix. 
  3. Next add the yeast, stir.
  4. Add 1 1/2 cups more flour and mix until a soft dough forms. Reserve the last cup of flour for adding while kneading. Dough should be shaggy, lose and pulling easily away the sides of the bowl. Not too sticky.
  5. Onto a clean, floured surface, turn out the dough. If using a mixer, turn the speed to medium, attach the dough hook and knead for 6-8 minutes.
  6. Begin kneading the dough and adding flour from the reserved cup as needed if it sticks to the counter or your hands. 
  7. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic - about 8-10 minutes by hand or 5-6 in a stand mixer. 
  8. Warm your oven to about 100 degrees F. we will place the dough here as a nice warm, draft free spot for it to go for it's first rise. It will drastically reduce the rise time. 
  9. Place dough in a bowl and into the 100 degree oven. Turn the oven off. 
  10. Check the dough periodically. We are looking for it to double in size. 
  11. Once it has doubled in size, prepare 2 baking pans by greasing them with cooking spray or oil. 
  12. Turn dough onto floured surface, divide the dough in half and shape into loaves. 
  13. Place back in the warmed oven until the dough begins to rise over the brim of the pans. 
  14. Remove from the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. 
  15. Bake bread for around 30 minutes or until the tops are browned and the internal temperature reaches about 180 degrees F. 
  16. Rub butter over the tops if desired, allow to cool and then slice. 

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

2

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1413Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 393mgCarbohydrates: 290gFiber: 10gSugar: 7gProtein: 39g

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One Comment

  1. Hey, Kristin

    Would this recipe work in the Zojirushi bread machine? Or do I follow the bread machine recipe instead?

    Thank you.

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