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Soft Amish White Bread (Video, Beginner Friendly)

Amish white bread is a slightly rich, soft, yet sturdy yeast bread that’s perfect for beginners. I know bread recipes feel completely overwhelming, but this version (with video tutorial) has been successful for thousands of beginner bread bakers. You can master homemade bread!

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a loaf of baked bread on a table

A bread baker for over 30 years (don’t tell anyone how old I am), I’ve taught beginner bread baking classes to dozens in my kitchen and to millions on YouTube. For every step in this post you can watch the companion video below and I encourage you to reference it often while mixing your first loaf.

I know all the things beginner bakers do wrong, and I’m going to help you fix those.

Watch the tutorial

Watch this video to see each step in action!

5 things beginner bakers do wrong and how to prevent them

  1. Using water that’s too cold. Your yeast needs water slightly warmer than lukewarm. Like what you bathe a baby in, or about 110 degrees for those of you who don’t have kiddos. If it’s too cold, the yeast won’t activate or foam. This video shows you what yeast looks like when it’s alive. You can use active dry or instant yeast here. Activate them both in water the same way. Learn how to activate yeast in detail here.
  2. Cold ingredients will make rise time slow. Every ingredient you bake with needs to be room temperature. This includes your egg, and if you keep your flour in a freezer it needs to warm up too.
  3. Squishing the dough through your fingers and making a crazy mess. Your dough is not slime and you’re not a kindergartener. Keep your fingers closed like a scoop and work gently with the dough so it’s not stuck all between your fingers.

4. Smashing the dough too hard while kneading and making it sticky. Watch the video and notice that the dough isn’t getting smashed across the counter. Press down about 1/3-1/2 the depth of the dough. If you mash it too hard you’ll have a sticky mess. Learn more about kneading dough in this post.

5. Adding too much flour when kneading. This is so common when you start. I challenge you to use no more than an extra 1/3 cup of flour when kneading. Only sprinkle small bits on and under the dough as you go. Adding more than 1/3 cup of flour will make your bread heavy and crumbly after baking. If you knead lightly you won’t need too much flour.

Common questions about Amish white bread

Can I use whole wheat flour?

You can swap half the white flour for whole wheat and it will turn out fine. You can’t sub more than half though without needing a recipe written for the behavior of whole wheat.

Is there a brand of flour that works best? Can I use all purpose?

I like King Arthur bread flour. All purpose flour works just fine, your bread just won’t be as tall because it doesn’t have as much gluten.

Do I have to use the egg?

I recommend that you do. Some have made it without it and they say it worked, but I can’t help thinking they missed out on some richness and moisture that the egg gives. Unless you’re allergic to eggs, leave it in.

Do I have to use the sugar?

You need some sort of sweetener and sugar was the classic ingredient. You can swap in a light honey if you’d rather but I haven’t tested it.

I only have instant yeast. Can I use that? How?

Instant yeast and active dry can be activated the same way. If you are a beginner, I recommend using either one as instructed in the recipe and activating it in water. I do not recommend using pizza dough or bread machine yeast and I don’t have any experience with fresh yeast.

I want to leave out the salt. Can I?

Emphatically, absolutely no. Salt is a must.

How do I store homemade bread? Can it be frozen?

Homemade bread will last about 3 days on your counter tightly wrapped. Never store bread in the refrigerator. You can freeze it with great success though! Slice it if you choose, then shape it back into a loaf and wrap it well in plastic wrap and two layers of foil or use an air tight bread box. Freeze for 6-8 weeks. Thaw at room temperature, in the toaster a slice at a time, or thaw all of it at once.

a loaf of bread with a slice off the end

For accuracy, measure your bread ingredients in grams

Americans are the worst for not using scales. We do everything in cups/volume. But for bread and most baking recipes, how you measure that “cup” of flour can vary widely. Humidity also effects flour as moisture is absorbed from the air making the amount of moisture in your dough unpredictable.

That’s why using grams to weigh your ingredients means everyone gets the same amount of each whether they are in the tropics or the desert. Weighing ingredients is the key to success. You can pick up a scale at any grocery store for about $12 or you can get my favorite scale .

Choose a loaf pan that heats evenly

Believe it or not, glass loaf pans are supposed to be the best for bread. I can’t guarantee it won’t stick though–so use some parchment paper to line it. This glass pan is ideal. I’ve used USA Pans for years and love their durability but they are made from coated aluminum and I’m trying to get away from using aluminum when I cook.

What your Amish white bread should look like at each stage

Wait until your dough doubles in size before kneading. Watch your dough and not the clock. If a recipe says it should take an hour but your dough hasn’t risen and you’re sure your yeast was alive, just wait. Your dough will do its thing soon enough.

a bowl of risen dough

Your dough should be kneaded until it reaches window pane–when you can stretch a piece of it and see a bit of light through it without breaking. This takes longer with all purpose flour. You can see window pane in the video but plan to knead for 10 to 15 minutes. Then let the dough rest about 5 minutes before shaping.

Press the dough out to a loose rectangle then roll it up from one end. Pinch the seam shut and place it seam side down in your baking pan.

dough flattened after kneading
two hands rolling up dough
bread rolled and two hands pinching the seam shut

Let the dough rise uncovered until it’s about an inch above the rim of your pan or doubled in size. If you use a large loaf pan your dough won’t rise above the rim. If you decide to cover your amish white bread, use a damp towel or greased plastic wrap.

Take great care to make sure any cover doesn’t stick. Otherwise your homemade bread is ruined.

a side view of bread risen 1" above the rim of the loaf pan

Bake your bread on the center rack in the middle of the rack (not pushed to the back or up near the door) for 25-30 minutes. You can take your bread’s temperature with a thermometer–it should read 190 or so if it’s done.

Tent your bread with foil during the last 10 minutes of baking if the crust is getting too dark.

Let it cool 5 minutes then turn it out on a rack to finish. Rub it over with a stick of butter to soften the crust.

baked bread being rubbed with butter

Ideas for using stale bread

Your homemade white bread will be heading toward stale in about 3 days. This really makes you think about all the junk in store bought loaves if they can last 6…8 weeks or more without molding. Gross! Make the most of your homemade efforts by using your stale bread too.

Stale bread makes amazing homemade croutons, or pulse your bread in a food processor and dry the crumbs out in a low oven (300 degrees) tossing often for bread crumbs. Store them in the freezer. Use bread cubes in an easy Panzanella salad so they can soak up the delicious flavors.

Other ways to use your Amish white bread dough

a loaf of baked bread on a table

Soft Amish White Bread

Soft Amish white bread is a soft, slightly rich loaf that's great for beginners.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Rise Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 331kcal
Author: Rachel Ballard

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lukewarm water (216 grams)
  • 1 package active dry yeast (7 grams)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (50 grams)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons flavorless oil (20 grams) I use avocado oil
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour (470 grams) all purpose will work
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (4 grams)

Instructions

  • In a large bowl where you will be making your bread, add the water and yeast. Stir gently to combine and let it sit until you see some foam coming to the surface. This may take 5-15 minutes.
  • Add the sugar and stir to combine. Add the oil and egg and use a fork to break the egg up.
  • Add the flour and salt and stir to combine with a fork. Once it starts coming together, use your hands to work it in to a shaggy ball.
  • Drizzle over a teaspoon of oil and pat it evenly over the surface. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in size. Just watch the dough and be patient but about an hour should do it.
  • After the dough doubles, sprinkle the counter with a couple of tablespoons of flour and transfer the dough to it by using closed fingers like a scoop to scrape it from the bowl.
  • Dust the top with another tablespoon of flour and knead the dough, sprinking the top and bottom with no more than 1/3 cup of flour until it is stretchy and you can see a bit of light through the dough when it's stretched–about 10 to 15 minutes of kneading.
  • Let the dough rest five minutes then use your fingers to form it into a rectangle about as wide as your loaf pan. Roll it up like a sausage and pinch the seam closed. Place it seam side down in a greased and parchment paper lined loaf pan.
  • Let the dough rise uncovered (see note 1) until it rises 1- 1 1/2 inches above the rim of the pan. About 45 mintues to an hour.
  • 15 to 20 minutes before the bread is finished rising, preheat the oven to 400.
  • Bake the bread on the center rack in the middle of the oven (not in the back, and not up near the door) 25-30 minutes. Tent with foil for the last 10 minutes if your bread starts to get too dark. You can take the temperature of your bread–it should be about 190 in the center when it's done.
  • Transfer to a rack to cool 5 minutes in the pan, then turn it out and brush the top with butter for a softer crust. (Optional)
  • Let the bread cool before slicing for the best texture inside.

Notes

Note 1: You can cover your bread with a damp towel or well greased plastic wrap but if it sticks your bread will be ruined! It’s fine to leave it uncovered. 

Nutrition

Calories: 331kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 295mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg

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