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Close up of thin sliced homemade white bread loaf

Basic White Bread Dough

Basic white bread recipe for either oven or bread machine, for use as french bread, boule, or sandwich bread
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2 lbs


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast


  • In a liquid measuring cup, add yeast to the lukewarm water; stir and let sit 5 minutes until a layer of bubbles appear. In a medium bowl, combine the yeast and water mixture with all other ingredients until a dough ball forms. Turn dough ball onto a generously floured surface and knead for a full 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and cover in a warm, non-drafty area. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. (Alternatively, this can be done in a bread machine, by selecting the 'Dough Cycle'. The end of the cycle is the end of the first rise.)
    Homemade white bread dough, in a greased bowl, rising until doubled in size
  • Turn dough back out onto a floured surface and form a French Loaf, Boule, or a simple sandwich bread loaf. Slit the surface of the loaves by either splitting it down the middle, or slashing shallow slits along the length.
    Raw white bread dough, shaped into a sandwich loaf, set in a greased, metal bread loaf pan and ready to rise and be baked
  • Let rise again, until doubled in size, another 30-60 minutes.
    Homemade white bread dough in loaf pan with split top ready to be baked
  • If desired, brush with beaten egg or egg white right before baking, for a golden, squeezably crackly crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.
    uncooked, raw but formed French bread