Thrifty Homemade Sandwich Bread Recipe (2024)

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I’ve spent some time working on the perfect homemade sandwich bread recipe, and I think I’ve found it!

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to make bread from scratch, I’m going to outline the process for this frugal bread recipe.

My goal for you?

  • Make bread-making as easy as possible
  • Give you the confidence to make the BEST bread ever
  • Assure you this is doable no matter your baking experience.
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Winter baking : the inspiration for bread recipes from scratch

Winter in the Midwest means spending more time indoors (even snowed in at times).

Which also means that I have more time for baking and all things domestic. 🙂

When we stay home, we always save more money.

That should be obvious, I guess.

But I’m always astounded how little DIY projects and making more from-scratch recipes really makes a difference in our monthly budget.

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Cooking from Scratch

So what started as a fun and frugal project quickly became a bit of an obsession from there!

A bread recipe for anyone

Now, before you think I’m sitting here baking up a storm and homesteading on a regular basis:

I’ll just say, this isn’t typical!

While I make most of our dinners from scratch, I don’t usually have time for things like making bread.

But during the winter months especially, I look for comfort foods that make my home feel cozy (and smell delicious).

I like to dig out this easy sandwich bread recipe and enjoy not only eating it (it’s delicious!) but saving some money as well.

So if you’re not-a-Martha-Stewart like me, you’ll appreciate the simplicity of this process.

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Honey Wheat Hamburger Bun Recipe

Crusty No-Knead Artisan Loaf

Homemade bread: a simple money saving hack

When I was pregnant with my son (almost 5 years ago, sniff sniff), I took the plunge into the work-from-home world and left my steady job at a law firm.

This change came with great freedom and more time with my family…

..but also required us to cut back on spending drastically.

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Time Vs. Money

P.S., I did find out eventually that it IS possible to work from home and make more than I did at that time.

I learned a lot in those first two years of freelancing– besides how to make crazy good sandwich bread from scratch.

Budgeting & baking

Anyhow, I remember stumbling across a recipe for homemade sandwich bread and decided I would try it out, mainly to save money.

Who doesn’t love homemade bread, anyhow?

I’ve modified this simple 5-ingredient bread recipe over time through trial and error and I just love the results.

Once you learn how to make sandwich bread, you might become a little obsessed with it like we are!

Also Read:

How to stock your pantry for emergencies

Honey Oat Bread Recipe

Biggest benefits of making homemade bread

Normally I buy wheat bread from the store.

So yes, in some ways this isn’t the healthiest option if healthy (or gluten-free!) is your goal.

But there is the benefit of knowing what’s in your food…

…and avoiding preservatives in store-bought sandwich bread.

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Know thy Ingredients

One of the things I also love about making my own bread is that this bread costs me approximately $0.64/loaf to make (at the time of posting).

It uses very simple ingredients, as you’ll notice.

This is another plus when you’re stuck at home and may not have fancy extras on hand.

You know, like powdered milk and whatnot (popular in other homemade recipes.)

*Tip: Buy yeast in bulk at your local health food store for best value. Or, check out Azure standard, my other favorite!

I buy enough to fill a quart size mason jar and keep it in my freezer where it is generally good for up to a year (sometimes longer!).

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Notes on Methods for Proofing Bread Dough

In Step #4 in the directions below, you will let the bread rise, or “proof” for the first time in a draft-free area, in the bowl.

This usually takes 1.5-2 hours, and then it will need a 2nd rise in the bread pan to double once again.

Personally, I get the best results by not rushing this process.

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Proofing Tips

The bread also seems to develop the best flavor and texture by letting the bread rise in a cool, draft-free area in my kitchen.

However, if you’re in a hurry (or just impatient!)–

–you can try these alternative methods to speed up the proofing:

Proofing Bread dough in the Instant Pot

This is the quickest method I’ve tried.

Simply place your dough (after completing steps 1-3), in your instant pot.

Cover the top of the pot with plastic wrap and set it to the “yogurt” setting (in the Instant Pot Duo, for example).

Let rise until doubled.

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For a double batch of this homemade sandwich bread recipe, it takes me about 40 minutes for the dough to double.

(Versus about 2 hours on the counter.)

Proofing Bread Dough on Stovetop

1| Using a Warming Center

I have a “warming center” on top of my stove which is just an extra space on the glass top to keep food warm.

(Looks like a burner, but it’s just a warmer.)

I put it on the lowest setting, and set my pan right beside (not on top of) this warming center.

You still want to lightly cover your pan with a towel or plastic wrap while proofing, with any method.

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Speed Proofing

You could proof bread the 1st AND 2nd times this way, if you choose.

If I want to speed-proof though, I will do the first rise in the Instant Pot.

Then I’ll transfer to the bread pan, cover and set it near the warming center for the second rise.

2| Using a Warming Drawer

In a previous oven we owned, I had a Warming Drawer.

I would put the bread pan in that drawer for the Second rise.

It usually rose pretty rapidly with this method.

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Have a warming drawer?

Sometimes, though, the loaf would get too tall for the space!

3| Using the Oven Heat on top of Stove

Some ovens produce a fair amount of heat on the stove top.

If this is the case for your oven, then heat up the oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit) or so.

Then set the pans on top of the stove to let the dough rise more quickly.

Although this works, some people won’t want to waste the electricity to heat the whole oven.

Proofing Bread dough in the Oven

A third method would be using the oven itself to proof the dough more quickly.

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Proofing bread in oven

Here are a three ways to do it:

Oven method #1:

Set your oven to 200 Degrees F. Turn it off and leave the door open for a few minutes.

Place bread inside, shut the door.

Check often to prevent over-rising.

*Consider spritzing loaf with some water to keep it from drying out.

Oven Method #2:

For ovens with low-temp settings such as 140 degrees F or below:

Proof at a low temp with the oven still on.

Check often to prevent over-rising.

Oven Method #3:

If your oven has a “proof” setting, use it! This should provide a constant, low temp that is perfect for helping bread rise.

Rise times will vary with these methods.

Caution on proofing bread inside a warm oven:

I generally only proof the dough for the 2nd rise inside the oven (not the first rise).

This is probably my least-favorite method as my oven runs hot.

So sometimes it will start to bake the bread instead of just proofing it.

If your kitchen is quite cold and you don’t have this problem with your oven, it might work perfectly.

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Thrifty Homemade Sandwich Bread Recipe and Instructions

*Recipe Card included at end of post

Ingredients

• 1 Cup hot water

• 2 Tablespoons of sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil (or light olive oil)

• 1-1/2 teaspoons salt

• 2-3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast*

(*this is 1/2 tsp more than a standard one-use packet– another reason to buy yeast in bulk. It rises more consistently for me with the added yeast.)

•3 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour*

*Tip: a friend mentioned once that the name-brand flours seem to make better breads and I have found this to be true, even with basic all-purpose flour. There is not much cost difference, so try it and see – if you have trouble with generic brands.)

Directions

#1. Mix together the hot water (not scalding, but hot from the tap), sugar and yeast and stir.

Let sit for about 10 minutes, allowing the yeast to “bloom”. See below.

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#2. Dump this mixture into a stand mixer and mix in the vegetable oil, salt and the flour, one cup at a time, using your dough hook.

Alternatively, you can use a hand mixer to combine the ingredients and then knead it by hand.

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Kneading by hand?

I’m terrible at kneading and have definitely gotten my money’s worth out of my stand mixer.

(This brand will last for years if you’re looking for one.)

#3. Continue mixing a few minutes until dough clings to the bread hook and doesn’t stick to the bowl.

Mix another 3-4 minutes after the non-sticky dough is formed.

(That’s a very technical baking term) 🙂

#4. Remove dough from hook, place dough ball in a bowl and cover with a light kitchen towel.

Let rise in a draft-free area for approximately 1.5 hours or until the dough doubles in size.

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Let dough rise until doubled.

{Or, see the paragraph earlier in this post re: the three different methods you can use to make the dough rise (proof) more quickly}.

#5. Punch down, shape into an oval loaf-like shape and turn the seams under.

You can read tutorials on how to do this properly.

But I simply tuck the excess dough underneath the bottom of the loaf without using water to pinch the seams and it works just fine!

#6. In a greased loaf pan, let dough rise a second time until almost doubled – approximately one hour.

I lightly cover the pan with plastic wrap for this step.

I prefer metal baking pans or even cast iron over glass if you have a choice.

The bread just seems to bake more evenly. See below.

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#7. Bake approximately 25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until internal temperature reaches around 190 degrees F.

Finished Product:

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*Want to teach your kids to cook during LONG days at home? Check out theKids Cook Real Food e-course!

Isn’t it beautiful?? Gosh, I seriously love how pretty baked bread looks on a platter.

But it tastes even better!

If you’re planning to slice it for sandwich bread, it works better if you wait until the next day.

It will be a little firmer and easier to slice.

That said, even straight out of the oven, it’s actually denser than most bread-machine recipes I’ve tried in the past.

Often with bread machines, you will end up with large air pockets or holes in the bread.

I use this electric serrated knife which is perfect for this task! (Plus a million other uses.)

Update: I have recently upgraded to the Bosch Universal Plus Mixer which handles bread dough even better than my KitchenAid.

(Yes, I love it, in case you’re curious.)

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Storing homemade bread

If you decide to make several batches of bread to freeze for later, I would recommend freezer bread bags like these.

You can also try reusable/washable ones like this kind that can extend the life of your loaves.

Bag clips are also really handy and you can use them over and over for any type of bag.

Drop me a note and let me know if you try this recipe – OR leave your favorite tips for saving money in the kitchen!

P.S.- check out our Money Saving Meal Planner for more ways to save every single month!

Thrifty Homemade Sandwich Bread

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Prep Time2 hours 45 minutes

Cook Time25 minutes

Total Time3 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 2-3/4 tsp yeast (1 packet + 1/2 tsp)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour OR bread flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Mix together the hot water (not scalding, but hot from the tap), sugar and yeast and stir.Let sit for about 10 minutes, allowing the yeast to "bloom"
  2. Dump this mixture into a stand mixer and mix in the vegetable oil, salt and the flour, one cup at a time, using your dough hook.Alternatively, you can use a hand mixer to combine the ingredients and then knead it by hand
  3. Continue mixing a few minutes until dough clings to the bread hook and doesn't stick to the bowl.Mix another 3-4 minutes after the non-sticky dough is formed.
  4. Remove dough from hook, place dough ball in a bowl and cover with a light kitchen towel.Let rise in a draft-free area for approximately 1.5 hours or until the dough doubles in size. (Or, see the paragraph in the full post re: the 3 alternative methods you can use to proof the dough more quickly! I use the yogurt setting on my Instant Pot Duo to cut the rise time in half.)
  5. Punch down, shape into an oval loaf-like shape and turn the seams under.
  6. Place in a greased loaf pan; cover loosely with plastic wrap (spray it with cooking oil first if you're worried about it sticking).
  7. Let dough rise a second time until almost doubled - approximately one hour.
  8. Bake in loaf pan approximately 25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until internal temperature reaches about 190 degrees F with an instant-read thermometer.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 155Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 220mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 4g

You might also like:

Crusty French Bread Recipe

Honey Wheat Hamburger Buns

Quick Oat Bread (with gluten free option)

Cheap Lunches for Kids

Thrifty Homemade Sandwich Bread Recipe (20)

Originally published 1/21/18; last updated 5/5/23.

Thrifty Homemade Sandwich Bread Recipe (2024)
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