I love bread heels. And the heels of this homemade buttermilk bread layered with a soft knob of sweet cream butter - well, it's about the best.
THIS POST ORIGINALLY DEBUTED DECEMBER 2018, AND WITH OVER 10,000 VIEWS, IS NOW UPDATED & REPUBLISHED AUGUST 2020 - ENJOY!
Toast up a slice of the bread and eat it with butter or try
Become a fan of this easy homemade buttermilk bread. I bake it in a Pullman pan but it bakes up just as beautifully in a standard bread pan. Add some soft sweet cream butter and homemade peach jam...now you're talking my language...
There is but one thing that intimidates me in the kitchen, and that is baking homemade bread. That's right. This from the same gal who brings you delights such as 'soufflés and brulées.' Homemade buttermilk bread is sort of an exception though. I don't claim to know why, but perhaps it is the quintessence of the 'no fail recipe.' Either way, I am still a not so good baker. I've always maintained that most recipe aficionados do only one or the other well, but rarely both - cook or bake that is.
Yet here I sit, typing out this rough recipe I prep and bake by heart about once each week, a soft and kind of elementary homemade buttermilk bread. It takes just 15 or so minutes to incorporate the ingredients together, about another hour after that for a good rise, and then a short, sweet-scented bake. Then, I've got a beautiful sandwich bread for the week. My favorite way to enjoy this? I love bread heels. And the heels of this homemade buttermilk bread layered with a soft knob of sweet cream butter - well, it's about the best.
Loaf pans, different sizes and different materials. Some are sold as sets of 2, others singular and specialized. Kitchen necessaries, click images for pricing.
For me, buttermilk always used to be that annoying ingredient I hated to find in a recipe.
Frequently, I receive questions which involve uses for leftover ingredients. With this recipe, I'm offering up a chance to expend another 1 1/4 cups of buttermilk from that little jug of yours in the fridge. For me, buttermilk always used to be that annoying ingredient I hated to find in a recipe. Why? Because after the meager amount required for whatever I was making, I'd still have a good 2 or 3 more cups leftover in the container. That is, until I began baking my own bread about ten years ago.
Nowadays, buttermilk is on my weekly shopping list. A 1 quart container will yield two loaves of bread for me. I buy what I can find in this size regardless of fat content. The loaves bake up the same regardless of the fat content. And of course, my house always smells AMAZING after a good bake, the use of the buttermilk making everything smell pungent and tangy.
If you bake this bread in a standard loaf pan, it's fine to make one cut down the middle of your unbaked loaf, but I prefer two cuts. Two parallel cuts yield a finished product that appeals to my childhood fondness for white sandwich bread. Nowadays, and to attain that perfectly square sandwich slice, I bake in a Pullman pan.
The tip for making this bread is to allow your dough to rise sufficiently, about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. Make some small batch jam while you wait. If you have a stand mixer with a flat dough paddle, life will be easier for you. If not, the tines of a fork work best under the power of your hands. I stay away from a handheld for this recipe because it is just too sticky. If you use one, be prepared to scrape down the beaters frequently.
I am a lazy baker when it's just for me, so a fork gets my dough started enough where I am good kneading the rest of the way. I knead for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until my dough is springy. Don't sweat the knead - if you follow the method exactly, this dough will give good rise regardless.
Go ahead and laugh, but I am about to walk some of you back to the late 1970s...you know who you are...with the Home Pride Butter Top bread commercial I always channel when splitting the tops of my loaves. They go right down the middle. It's fine either way, but I prefer two cuts resulting in a finished product that appeals to my childhood association for white sandwich bread. If I am using my Pullman pan, of course there's no cut to make. About a tablespoon of melted butter, brushed on top and into the corners of the pan, will nicely brown the top, and you'll get an unusually addictive crunchy sweet crust.
This soft, somewhat sweet, yet marginally tangy bread is the perfect base for softened sweet cream butter, an herby compound butter, homemade peach jam, or drizzled while still warm with salted honey.
A quick 101 on flour. In my brief experience with baking this bread, the flour I use matters. Like, a lot. ONLY use bread flour in this recipe. I've tried with self-rising and all-purpose and it is not the same. Not the same whatsoever. King Arthur Flour has a beautifully light organic bread flour and it's sold in smaller 2lb bags. I can usually get 2 loaves from a 2-lb bag. What’s the difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour? Bread flour yields a higher protein content. Protein gives way to lofty, high-rising bread. It's science people, science.
Love these mini butter bells. My classy friend Missy had these adorning her table when we sat down to a beautiful Italian feast one evening, and I knew I had to grab these. I bought two of the rounds pictured lower right. I wish I'd seen the bell with the bee on the top because I love it. These butterers are very small and look perfectly dainty on a formal table. Entertaining necessaries, click images for pricing.
When I find I have purchased too much fruit and especially if I am unable to eat it faster than it's ripening, I make a quick refrigerator jam. Small batch and keeps in the fridge for about 2 weeks, assuming it lasts that long...
Peach & Strawberry Refrigerator Jam, flavored with maple, cinnamon, and vanilla.
This soft, somewhat sweet, yet marginally tangy bread is the perfect base for softened sweet cream butter, an herby compound butter, my homemade strawberry peach refrigerator jam, or drizzled while still warm with salted honey. It’s fantastic for sandwiches and makes a fabulous bread pudding, too with the simple addition of 2 teaspoons of cinnamon to the flour mixture in step two of the method. Please drop a line in the comments below if you have tried this bread. If you have memories of your Mom or Grandmother's method(s) for homemade bread, I would LOVE to hear those, too 🙂
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
Want a bigger or smaller serving size? Hover over the serving size and move the bar until you get the number of servings you want. Easy.
- Loaf Pan or Pullman loaf pan
- Stand Mixer with Dough Paddle or
- Large Mixing Bowl and
- a fork
Did you know that it’s super easy to print out a version of a half recipe or even a double recipe on Not Entirely Average? Hover over the serving size (highlighted in blue, it says 24 on this recipe) and then slide the the white line to the left to make less or to the right to make more. This "calculator" allows you to play until you get the number of servings you want. Easy.
Ingredients for Homemade Buttermilk Bread
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 3 1/4 cups bread flour, divided I am using King Arthur Bread Flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar, 3 if you want your bread a tad sweet
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 sachet quick-rise yeast
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- If you have a bread-proof feature on your oven, turn it on. Otherwise, you will need a clean kitchen towel and warm water.
- Butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan, using 1 tablespoon of the butter.
- In a large mixing bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer), combine 1 ½ cups of the flour with the sugar, salt, and yeast.
- In a small saucepan, heat the buttermilk and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat until the butter is melted and the mixture reaches about 130 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer . The mixture should be warm, but not hot to the touch. Remove from the heat.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater or a simple kitchen fork and mixing bowl, add the warm buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and combine until just incorporated. Dough will be stringy.
- Add the egg and stir 1 minute more.
- Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups flour and continue mixing until mostly incorporated. Knead in the bowl or on a board for 2 to 3 minutes. This dough tends to be stringy and sticky. Wet your hands to knead if necessary versus adding any additional flour.
- Transfer the dough into the prepared loaf pan or Pullman pan and spread it out to the corners.
- Cover loosely with a clean, warmly dampened dishtowel or secure the top of the Pullman pan and place in a bread proof mode warm oven and let rise about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. I place mine in my oven on bread-proof mode, door closed, and this gives way to a nice speedy rise. If your oven does not feature a bread-proof mode, turn the oven light on and close the door. The heat from the lamp will be enough to aide in the rise.
- When dough has risen sufficiently, remove the loaf pan. Preheat your oven to 375°F. Make a shallow cut lengthwise down the center of the loaf or two parallel cuts, whichever you prefer. If using a Pullman pan there is no need for a cut.
- Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and brush it over the loaf.
- Place a foil catch beneath the loaf pan and on top of a baking sheet for easy handling. This will prevent any spillover of the butter.
- Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan and cool slightly on the rack before slicing.
- Serve warm with salted sweet cream butter, an herby compound butter, a drizzle of salted honey, or a spoonful of homemade jam. This bread, sliced thin, also makes a truly ultimate grilled cheese sandwich.
Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only.