This super easy White bread dough is the perfect versatile bread dough. It is easy to work with, and a great place to start if you are new to making homemade bread. It can be used for a wide range of recipes, from a basic white bread loaf recipe to parker house rolls. Follow my detailed step by step guide for all the tips and tricks on how to make your own white bread dough! This dough makes enough for two loaves of bread, or 12 bread rolls.
Hi hi! I am just popping in to share this white bread dough recipe with you! This is one of the new base doughs that we will be working with and using as a base recipe for upcoming bread recipes.
This is a super simple, basic white bread dough that is enriched with a little egg and butter. It is an incredibly versatile base, and gives a soft and fluffy dough that is really easy to work with.
This white bread dough recipe makes enough dough for two loaves of white bread, or 12-18 parker house rolls, depending on how you size them. I am so excited to keep developing recipes using this base dough!
Read this post for all the tips and tricks on how to make a super easy white bread dough, then please refer to the specific recipe for shaping and baking instructions on how to adapt this bread dough recipe for different uses.
A base dough - white bread dough
To me, this is the perfect white bread dough recipe - it is super verstaile, and really easy to make. It does not use a Tangzhong method like my milk bread recipe, and instead just relies on the milk and butter in the dough to help keep it supple. This dough is slightly easier to work with in my opinion, while still giving a really fluffy result.
This recipe makes enough dough for two loaves of white bread, or 12 to 18 Parker house rolls. Because it makes such a good base it will be great for uses in all kinds of recipes, whether you want to do something fancy with it, or just make a great loaf of bread.
Ingredients in White Bread Dough
The ingredients list for this white bread dough is pretty simple, but they all have a dedicated purpose:
- Milk and water. I use a mixture of milk and water - milk provides amazing moisture. You can use all milk if you like, but I like to use a little water so that I can add boiling water into the milk to quickly bring it to just under room temperature so I don't have to take the milk out before I start making the bread. Make sure that if you do this, you do it before adding the yeast so the hot liquid does not kill the yeast.
- Sugar. I use granulated sugar. There is only a little in this recipe and it is there to help feed the yeast. A little sugar also helps with browning.
- Yeast. I use instant yeast for my recipes as it is super easy and doesn't require activating, and the liquids don't necessarily have to be warm (it will just take longer to rise).
- Milk powder. Instant milk powder makes bread dough super soft and fluffy and also helps to give it a good rise. It also contributes to the dough staying nice and soft after baking for a little longer than a recipe that does not use milk powder. I use full fat milk powder but if you can only find non-fat or skim that works too.
- Egg. Egg helps to bind the dough and give it structure. I haven't tried making this recipe egg free - you could probably replace the egg with about 30g milk if you wanted to but I haven't tested this myself.
- Salt. Essential for any bread recipe.
- Bread Flour. I use a high protein flour for this dough recipe, as it helps to give the dough strength and texture.
- Butter. This isn't a super enriched dough, but adding a little butter at the end of the mixing process gives a super soft dough and the butter adds a really nice flavour.
Common Ingredient Questions
Can I use Active Dry Yeast?
You can use active dry (the same quantity) if that is all you have - just make sure that your liquids are lukewarm and mix them with the sugar and yeast and leave to sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy to activate the yeast.
I do not have milk powder - can I still make these?
It is not essential - if you do not have it, you can leave it out, but I use it in a ton of my recipes and it keeps super well so it is great to have on hand.
What is Bread Flour?
Bread Flour is flour that is higher in protein due to it being made from a 'harder' variety of wheat. A high protein flour will give a nice strong dough that is great for a white bread dough recipe like this which uses a soft dough - the strong flour allows the dough to be super soft while still being easy to work with. Bread flour is sometimes called 'high grade' or 'Strong' flour in other countries. I have not tested this recipe with All-purpose flour sorry! It might work but I haven't tried it.
Can I add gluten to the mixture?
This is something that I have been playing around with recently. Since moving to New Zealand from the US I have noticed that the flour here is a little lower in protein so makes a slightly stickier, slightly harder to work with dough - this is due to the lower protein content developing less gluten within the dough.
A way around this is to add some gluten flour to the dough. I have been playing around with adding 2-3% of the flour weight in the gluten flour, so in this case the recipe has 430g of flour so I add in 9g of gluten flour. It does seem to help with the dough extensibility and makes it a little easier to work with / gives a better rise and texture. I just got mine at my local supermarket. This definitely isn't necessary but if you have found that recipes that call for bread flour maybe don't work as well as you were expecting, this could be a good thing to give a try.
How to make white bread dough
This dough is super easy to make. I use a stand mixer to make mine, fitted with the dough hook. Here are the steps:
Step 1: MEASURE. Measure out all the ingredients except for the softened butter, which goes in after the dough has developed. I usually use cold milk from the fridge and mix it with the measure of water which I have boiling, which gives me 'cold ish' milk. This means the dough often takes a little longer to rise than written in the recipe so if you need to buy yourself some time you can do this - it only works if you are using instant yeast as active dry needs to be activated before using.
As always, use a scale here. If you convert the ingredient quantities to cups, you are on your own and I cannot guarantee that your bread dough will work.
If you use cold ingredients, it will slow down the rising of your dough. I often play around with this / I have made bread so many times that I know by the feel of the dough when it is risen. If you are new, make sure that you have everything at room temperature just so you can follow the recipe as accurately as possible.
Step 2: MIX. The dough goes through a few phases here as you can see in the images below. First it will come together but only just, and look super sticky and shaggy. As you continue mixing, the dough will come together and smooth out, and start to pull away from the edges of the bowl. It may seem like it will not come together but give it some time.
If your dough is really not coming together, you can add flour a tsp at a time until it clears the sides of the bowl. Sometimes this happens - different brands of flour are more or less absorbent, or if it is humid, then the flour may have already taken on some moisture so will be unable to absorb as much. Go by how the dough feels - it is not the end of the world if you have to add a little more flour.
You will know the dough is developed when it passes the windowpane test which is a test for gluten strength. You want to break off a piece of dough and stretch it between your fingers. If it stretches without breaking and you can see light through the dough, this means that it is developed enough and you can add the butter. Seeing the dough pull away from the sides of the bowl is the best visual cue though.
Step 3: BUTTER. There is a reason that the butter does not go in at the start of the recipe with all the other ingredients.
We want to give the dough a chance to develop first before we introduce the fat to the dough. Fat coats the flour particles, and so will prevent the formation of gluten and the dough won't be as easy to work with. By adding it once the dough is developed, it helps significantly with dough strength.
Once the dough is done, turn it out onto a work surface and shape into a ball. I usually don't need any extra flour, but if you do that is fine too.
Step 4: RISE. This first step is called 'bulk fermentation' - when the dough is all together in a bulk. There are two ways to rise your dough - either a room temperature rise, which is much quicker, or if you want to work ahead, you can do the first rise in the fridge overnight or for a couple of hours.
The fridge rise is a great way to get a little ahead of yourself. The cold temperature of the fridge slows down the rising process of the dough, which means that it gets a longer, slow rise rather than a fast room temperature one. For a dough like this it does not matter which one you do in terms of flavour, it is more about convenience.
I often prefer to do a room temperature rise as I am often making bread on the same day that I need it, however it is super helpful to know that a fridge rise works too. I have tested it and it works great - you just need to leave the white bread dough out for about 10 minutes before you put it into the fridge to give it a good chance to kick start.
Once you are ready to use the dough, let it stand for about 30 minutes to come to room temperature so that it is easy to work with.
How do you tell when dough is risen?
When your white bread dough is risen, it will have doubled in size and will be super puffy. I like to test this with the finger poke test - lightly flour your finger and poke the dough. If it is ready to be used, it will leave an indent that slowly springs back. This is harder to gauge with a fridge rise but if it has been in the fridge overnight it will be fine to use.
If you are having a hard time seeing what doubled in size is, place the dough into a clear rectangle or square container and mark on the side where it comes up to, so you can see how much the dough changes as it rises.
How long can bread dough stay in the fridge?
I usually try to not leave an enriched dough like this which has a higher proportion of yeast in it in the fridge for longer than 24 hours.
For a higher hydration dough like my ciabatta dough or my focaccia dough I have left it in the fridge for up to three days, however the dough has a lower ratio of yeast to flour than this white bread dough.
If you do leave the dough in the fridge for too long it may still be ok, but just know that your bread probably won't be as light and fluffy as a properly risen dough.
Can I freeze bread dough?
I haven't tried it sorry. I haven't had much luck in the past with freezing bread dough, I may give it a go in the future but I prefer to freeze the baked bread rather than the dough. It is soft enough that the frozen bread thaws and reheats super well!
Can this recipe be doubled?
Yes - I have doubled it a ton when I was testing it and all the different variations! I use my stand mixer and it works just fine - the first mixing step may take a few minutes longer so just keep that in mind
Do I need a stand mixer to make this recipe?
I haven't tested making this by hand yet and will update this post when I do, but it may work, it will just be a workout. If you are worried about the dough being too sticky, then you can hold back about 20g of the milk so the dough is a tiny bit less hydrated. I have tested my small batch dinner roll recipe by hand though and it works great!
Frequently Asked Questions
What tools and equipment do you use?
You can find a full list of the tools and equipment I use on my products page
Can I make this recipe Gluten / Dairy / Egg free?
I don't know sorry - I have not tested it. I doubt gluten free would work though as this dough heavily relies on the gluten formation. I would look for a specialised gf recipe.
For more homemade bread recipes, check out:
❤️ Made this recipe and love it? ❤️
I would LOVE for you to leave me a review and star rating below to let me know how you liked it! Also, please make sure to tag me on Instagram!
This super easy White bread dough is the perfect versatile bread dough. It is easy to work with, and a great place to start if you are new to making homemade bread. It can be used for a wide range of recipes, from a basic white bread loaf recipe to parker house rolls. Follow my step by step guide for all the tips and tricks on how to make your own white bread dough!
- 220g whole milk, at room temperature
- 50g warm water
- 10g granulated sugar
- 7g (2 tsp) instant yeast
- 35g instant milk powder (I used full fat)
- 430g Bread flour
- One large egg (50g not including the shell), at room temperature
- 2g (¾ tsp) kosher salt
- 60g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the rising bowl
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine all the ingredients except for the 60g unsalted butter.
- Mix the dough on medium speed for about 10 minutes. At first a shaggy dough will form, then the dough will start to smooth out and become elastic and will start to pull away from the sides of the bowl. I find that this usually takes me 8-10 minutes. If your dough is really really not coming together at this point, you can add flour a teaspoon at a time until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. The dough should pass the windowpane test at this stage - when you break a little off and stretch it between your fingers, it should stretch to allow light to show through without breaking.
- Once the dough is developed, add the butter and mix for a further 5 minutes until incorporated. The dough should be smooth and elastic.
- Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and flour very lightly if needed. Shape the dough into a tight ball using a bench scraper and then transfer to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot until risen and doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Alternatively you can do the first rise overnight in the fridge. Place the dough into the covered bowl and then leave on the counter for 10 minutes then transfer into the fridge overnight. The dough will need 30 minutes or so the next day to come closer to room temperature.
- Use the dough as directed in the recipe.
If you do not have the milk powder, you can leave it out.
Bread flour is often also called 'strong' flour or 'high grade' flour in other countries.
I use Kosher salt in my baking. Regular salt may be more salty so if you are measuring by volume you may need to adjust. If you are measuring by weight use the amount listed. If you are using salted butter, you may need to hold back on the salt a little.
Keywords: bread dough, bread recipe, white bread recipe