Make the softest and fluffiest White Loaf Bread without using commercial or synthetic bread softener at all with this recipe. Nothing beats healthy and homemade bread!
Freshly made loaf of bread has always made me nostalgic as it played a big part of my diet growing up. We used to live right next to a bakery, so we got the next best thing to homemade loaf bread back then.
Now, I can easily make it at home anytime. I also learned a technique that will give your sandwich bread a higher rise that remains moist and stays soft longer. It is not by using commercial or synthetic bread softener or improver that is normally used in commercial bread production. Read on and find out.
Foxy Tips for a Soft and Fluffy White Bread Loaf
Tangzhong or water roux - this is simply a mixture of flour and water or milk cooked into a thick slurry. This is the secret to achieve that soft, springy white bread. It helps the dough absorb more liquid and retain moisture. Since there is more steam created inside the dough while baking, it will result in a higher rise. It will also keep the bread moist for days after so it stays soft and fresh longer.
Bread flour or All-purpose flour? - This is one of the most common questions I get for bread recipes. Either if the two can be used for making white loaf bread and I have tried both with good results.
The difference is that when I used bread flour, it came out a little chewier and less crumbly as it produces more gluten which gives the dough elasticity. This makes it rise higher but holds its shape better. Using all-purpose flour makes the bread lighter and fluffier as it contains less protein compared to bread flour. This is also a less expensive option.
I have also tried using an equal mix of both (70/30 BF/APF)and the result was the one I liked best- a little bit chewy but springy at the same time.
Remember- different types of flour has different flour-to-water ratio. The higher the protein/gluten content, the more water it needs. Also important to note, not all-purpose flour acts the same. Different brands have different ways of processing their flour and different contents.
The Bread Rising Process
Making sure that you do not end up with lumpy bread requires care, attention to detail, and patience. Using yeast can be tricky as they are live organisms that react to certain conditions. Always remember not to use hot water when proofing your yeast (mixing yeast with water to activate it) because it will kill them and leave your bread flat.
Your kitchen temperature also affects the rising timeline. A warm and humid room helps the dough rise faster compared to a cold room. So be extra patient on rainy and cold days!
It also depends on the type of yeast you opt to use. Using dry active yeast takes a longer time for the dough to rise than using instant yeast. I highly recommend using SAF Instant Gold (specifically made for sweet dough) or Red Star Platinum brands. Because they rise faster, it eliminates the chance of taking on a slightly tangy, fermented flavor.
I have also read a lot of baking articles that encourage the use of steam during baking to make the bread taller as it allows the loaf to rise even more using the initial stage of baking called "ovenspring". The steam helps to keep the crust soft on the first few minutes of baking, therefore allowing the loaf to expand a bit more.
No need to buy a steam oven to achieve this, as there are several ways to do this using your regular oven at home. One way is to put a pan like a cast iron at the bottom of the oven before pre-heating it. Once the dough is inside, pour ½ water on the hot pan to create steam and close the oven door. Another way is to spritz water in the oven sidewalls, just be careful not to spray on the oven bulb though.
Get that Perfect Crust
If you do not want your bread loaf to be too brown, "tenting" it will help. Simply place a sheet of aluminum foil on top of the loaf when the desired color has been achieved but the bread is not yet completely baked. The foil helps by reflecting heat, therefore, reducing the browning of the crust.
I brush my loaves with egg wash 10 minutes before they are done to give it a golden hue. Brush with water to make it crustier, or brush with butter to make it super soft. It's up to you!
As much as you'd like to leave the oven to do the job, make sure to check halfway the baking time if you need to turn your loaf for even browning.
If you happen to have some left-overs, I would suggest using it for making some Cinnamon French Toast Sticks or Biscocho with Condensed Milk. This loaf is just the perfect bread for making these heavenly breakfast or merienda treats.
Soft and Fluffy White Bread Recipe using Tangzhong
- 130 ml whole milk -lukewarm
- 7 grams instant dry yeast (1 packet )
- 350 grams all-purpose flour
- 60 grams sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 30 grams unsalted butter
- 1 small egg + 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
Tangzhong / Water Roux
- 25 grams flour
- 100 ml milk
- Prepare the water roux or Tangzhong first by whisking together the flour and milk in a saucepan and cooking it while stirring or whisking continuously over medium-low heat until it gets a pudding-like consistency. Let it cool down to room temperature before using.
- Using a stand mixer with dough hook attachment, mix the flour, sugar and salt together. Add the yeast, Tangzhong, butter, egg, and lukewarm milk then mix for 12 minutes at medium-low speed. It will be very sticky at the beginning but just keep on beating until the dough is smooth and no longer too tacky.
- Form the dough into a ball and coat it with oil. Place in a bowl and cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let it rise until it almost doubles in size (30 mins-2 hours).
- Gently punch down the dough and transfer on a surface greased with oil. Roll the dough in a rectangle, with a length almost thrice the length of the loaf pan. Then fold like a letter, from right covering the center then from left covering both layers. Then roll the dough jellyroll fashion from the end closest to you towards the farther end.
- Place the dough in a 5"x9" loaf pan greased with oil with the seam facing down and cover with kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise for the second time until it doubles in size.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 20 minutes with the pan placed on a lower or middle rack.
- In a small bowl, beat 1 small egg and 1 tablespoon water until frothy. Take out the loaf from the oven and brush the exposed part with egg wash then place back in oven for to go on baking for another 10-15 minutes or until top is nice brown and shiny.
- Take the loaf out of the oven and let it cool down for some minutes. Remove it from pan to cool down completely. Slice with a bread knife in your preferred thickness.
This recipe of white bread was originally published in May 2016. Updated in June 2020 to include more tips and a recipe video.
dania hanna says
Can I loaf these and chill overnight ?
Yes you can Dania.
forgot to add my rating 🙂
i've only been making bread for about two years, but i like to try different recipes almost every time. this recipe in my opinion is the best!! 🙂 personal notes: i had leftover tangzhong from a previous loaf. i dont know how much i actually ended up using. i also used half evaporated milk and half plant milk instead of whole milk. i had to add a bit of extra flour, too. the dough was incredibly sticky for me, but i persevered with the help of some oil and flour to better handle it, and i am glad i did! thank you for posting this - i will definitely come back to this recipe. for me, it turned out pillowy, rich, and dense, in the way that cheesecake is - how you can only have so much, even though you really want more!!! <3
Hi, can I use this recipe in a Pullman pan, I was thinking I would have to triple it for the large Pullman loaf pan, what do you think?
Hi Maxine, sure you can, and yes you might have to double or triple it depending on the size of your pullman pan.
I used this recipe as a base for Greek New Year's bread (vasilopita) and it came out so soft and fluffy! Thank you! (I used a little more sugar and added cinnamon and grated orange peel). This will be my go-to recipe from now on.
This has been my favorite white bread recipe since I tried it last year. I bake one almost every week! Sometimes I divide the dough to 15 pieces to make dinner roll! Love it!
That is awesome, Marj! Glad you like it!
It was amazing recipe thus far. Kuddos to you! I've tried it and loving it.
Thanks Hartinni, happy that you like it.
I really like your recipes. Tried one and add bread improver. 🍞 So good. Yummy too. Thanks Beb.
How much improver did you add?
Can I still add bread improver with this method?
I followed your pan de sal recipe and added bread jmprover. And it was good.
I have not used bread improver myself but if you know how to use it then might as well try it.
Receita deliciosa ..
Lizzy Tas says
Thank you very much Bab, I want to ask, for some one who wants to bake bread for commercial purpose, can this recipe go?
I love love love this recipe. Thank you for taking away my fear of tangzhong! I've used both white flour and white wheat. Yummy.
Hi Jan, it is nice to know that we helped you feel comfortable using tangzhong in baking, it is a great technique for making soft bread.
Hi. I did this today and it looked wonderful. Although some part of the inside is not quite cooked. I followed the instructions exactly though.
This is 30-35 minutes of baking at 180°C. Should be enough time to bake. What kind of baking pan did you use? Did you preheat your oven?
Thank you very much for your reply.
I use 1 tablespoon for every 3 cups of AFP. Thanks again.
Tried this bread recipe and it came out deliciously soft and fluffy!! Thanks for sharing!!
That is super! Thanks for the 5 stars, Lily.
Can i use 2c bread flour & 1c APF instead? Thank you. Have not tried this recipe but am sure i will love it.
Sure you can!
Vasudha Gudi says
Can we substitute something for eggs, or can we simply exclude eggs in the recipe? I am a vegetarian and do not eat eggs. Please, let me know. Thanks.
Christine Cazares says
Recipe should have equivalent cup measurements and not just the by weight measurements (metric as it’s called in this recipe), so recipe can be useful to both worlds.
Hi Christine, we normally do that but for this recipe, the measurements have no exact equivalent in cups and the ratio is crucial for the success of the recipe.
Kristel Adame says
Hi is it okay to use wheat flour instead of apf/bread flour?
Hi Kristel, can you be a bit more specific? APF and bread flour are both wheat flours.
Kristel Adame says
oh sorry whole wheat flour i mean. btw your recipe is so good made one last night! 😊
Hi Kristel, you can substitute a part of the APF with whole wheat flour.
Hi! I just started baking during the lockdown and I’ve been on this quest to find a really good white bread recipe since. I’vebeen seeing this tangzhong with other sweet bread recipes and I’m intrigued!
I don’t have a stand mixer but I have a hand mixer with small dough attachments. Would this work? Or would it be better to knead it by hand?
For my first ever white bread attempt, the dough never really got tacky. I’m thinking it’s because of the small dough attachments. I think it’s just used for a wet dough?
Anyway, I’m curious if this will be too sticky to knead by hand? Because all I’ve been doing for all my succeeding white bread attempts is kneading by hand.
On another note, omg I learned abt the chewiness of bread flour the hard way! I used 100% bread flour on one of my attempts and it was too chewy! It was on a nakakapagod-sa-panga level of chewiness! Initially I thought I either didn’t knead well as long as I should’ve or I added too much flour on the counter or if kneaded too much. I was so proud pa naman with how the 100% bread flour loaf looked like when I took it out of the oven hahaha.
Hi She, I would knead by hand than use a hand-held mixer, it will be too uncomfortable holding it up in a hand. 🙂 The chewiness of bread flour will also depend on the type of dough, but for simple ones like this then it might be too chewy to use 100% BF. But for enriched dough (with more fats in it) it can be a different result altogether. But that is how we learn sometimes, right?!
These pancakes look perfect! Definitely a great breakfast or breakfast-for-dinner option!
It is a slurry from cooking water or milk and flour to make a paste. Look also for water roux.
I saw most of recommendation Tangzhong ratio is 1:5 but your recipe is using 1:4. Any differences?
Hi James, the 1:5 ratio is more like a general guide but you can have a different ratio that you like depending on how much hydration you prefer. The higher the water content the softer the bread will be.
She explains it in the beginning before the recipe....
Maita Go says
Hello Bebs! You mentioned “not all-purpose flour acts the same”. What brand of flour would you prefer for this recipe? Thank you! 🙂
Hi Maita, I won't say that a brand is better than the other. I use Gold Medal for most of my recipes because that is what I can get easily and I am used to it already.
Hi! This was really good! Thank you! On the nutrition information though, may I clarify the assumed grammar for 1 serving? I can’t seem to find it in the nutrition information. Thank you!
Hi Angela, the nutrition information was computed based on all the ingredients divided by the number of servings. In this case about 18 slices (half-inch thickness).
HI Bebs, I was just reading through your recipe for the soft and fluffy white bread and I just want to know if you use warm milk and when do you put the milk? It's not in the instructions.
Hi Margot, it was accidentally deleted when we updated it. It is corrected now. Thanks for letting us know.
Hi bebs, good am.. can i instantly put the instant yeast in the flour? Without using luke warm water? Thanks in advance?
Another question is it really free the ebook recipe? No need to pay? 😊😊😊
Yes, instant yeast can be added directly to the flour. But you still need lukewarm liquid for the recipe. The ebook is free if you subscribe to our email list.
I made this for my kids and they turned out perfectly fluffy! My kids loved them 😊 i just sliced through them before putting on the pan for the second rise and they rised so much giving it a soft and pillowy texture. I'm never buying commercial breads again. 💞
That is so nice to hear, Erika! It is very rewarding being able to make your own bread specially now. Stay safe you guys.
Donna Anderson says
Hi , I seen thus receipe and I am wanting so bread, and I like you prefer all pupose as bread flour makes my bread to firm for my liking, but in your receipe is the butter melted and cooled or softened?
Hi Donna, it should be softened.
Espie Hartshorne says
Can you please convert the measurements of this White Bread recipe into cups and/or grams, not just for me but for others, too. Just as well, I got my scale in ounces and in pound, but prefer to use in cups and in grams instead. Made them and it's perfect. Thanks.
Hi Espie, you can actually switch all our recipes to either US customary or metric just by clicking which one you prefer under the word INGREDIENTS. For this one I made it in metric (grams and ml) because the ratio is important.
There are conversion charts readily available...Google
I made this today but it didn’t get nearly as high and fluffy as yours. I was careful to measure and follow steps - I even bought a scale to make sure amounts were exact. I haven’t cut into it yet (I just took it out of the oven). I’m sure it will be good, but to be honest, it doesn’t look much like yours. I’ll try again on a day that’s not as humid - maybe that was at least part of the problem.
Hi Marlene, it could be several factors that affect the rising of the loaf. Like the yeast you used or the size of the pan. The temperature when you let it rise is also a factor. If your kitchen is cold and humid then it will need more time to rise. Just let it rise the second time a little longer before baking it.
Thank you, Thank you! The extra steps are SOOOOOO worth the results! My husband is now convinced we do not need to buy sandwich bread ever again! =)
Hi Brandy, you are so welcome and I am happy that you and your husband like it.
Mary Grace Sy says
This recipe is a keeper! Thank you so much. Now, I don’t have to buy store bought white bread.
I used a bread machine and I love how I turned out. I added raisins..
All the best!
The raisins sound excellent, Mary Grace! Need to make raisin bread soon...
I tried this recipe today using my bread maker, it turned out really great. The bread was so soft and fluffy. Really recommended recipe! Thanks!
Thanks Lusi for your very nice comment and the 5 stars ?
How did you make this using your breadmachine??
Hi! I am confused with the amount of yeast that you indicated in this recipe. I think 1 lb or 450g is too much for 1 recipe. Kindly clarify. Thanks!
Hi Arlene, I am so sorry for the confusion. We moved to a new recipe plugin with automatic conversion and it seems that a wrong amount was entered (Armin was in charge of that, never send a man to do a woman's job eh!). I corrected it and will be double checking the rest of our recipes. Thanks for bringing this up!
This sounds amazing!
Hello this bread was really really good I love it do u no how to make the bacon and cheese bread with the tangzhong thank you
Hi Lynn, glad you like the recipe. What kind of bacon and cheese bread do you have in mind? Is it like a roll with filling or is it a loaf with bacon and cheese scattered inside?
You are as awesome as ever Ms. Bebs.. Thank you Ms. Debbie Bebs for this wonderful recipe. It's truly soft pillowy bread ???? and delicious ???? too. God bless you more.. Hope you can make puto and other Filipino delicacies. Thank you.
Hi Madiss! Glad that you like this recipe. I do have a Puto recipe, two of them exactly: Puto Cheese and Puto Flan
I divided the dough and made 2 small loaf bread using 4"x8" loaf pan. One is plain white bread and the other loaf I added kalamata olives and basil. It turned out really nice and fluffy! Me and my husband loved it! We ate both bread without any spread and while it's hot. Thank you!
Wow! You just made me miss the olive bread we used to buy on our Italian vacations. It is a bit crusty and chewy. I should make some soon! Btw, since you liked this bread loaf recipe then I would also recommend that you try my Cinnamon French Toast Sticks. I make them from the same white bread when I have some leftovers.
Ruth Cain says
Hi bebs, good morning. I love cooking and baking too. I would like to try your recipe but i dont have whole milk. Can i use regular fresh milk instead? Thank you in advance
Hi Ruth, I think it should not be a problem to use fresh milk instead. ????
Anyway, I will challenge myself to make my very first loaf bread. I was able to buy a loaf pan however I can only find 4"x8". I will divide ng dough into 2 and let you know.
What if I don't have a 9" x 5" loaf pan? Can I just bake it on a tray?
Thanks in advance.
Hi Ann, it needs the higher sides of a loaf pan for the support so it could rise. If you don't have a loaf pan then just use the recipe to make rolls. Make about 14 to 16 balls and arrange them on a tray 2-3cm apart and bake.
I do not have kitchen weighing scale, if you can also show what is the equivalent weights in cup?
This is for the white bread recipe.
here are the measurements in cups, they are not the exact equivalent but it should do:
350g all-purpose flour = 3 cups
60g sugar = 1/3 cup
30g butter =1/8 cup
25g flour = a little less than 1/4 cup