Easy Milk-Free Braided White Bread

Braided white bread

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  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Rise: 105 mins
  • Servings: 10 servings
  • Yield: 1 loaf

Many homemade bread recipes require milk and if you're lactose intolerant or have another concern about dairy products, it can be difficult to find a great recipe. Or maybe you just ran out of milk. This easy braided white bread recipe is here to save the day.

To create this milk-free loaf, a quick adjustment was made to a basic braided bread recipe. Essentially, it is as simple as replacing the milk with more water and using vegetable oil in place of butter. The result is a beautiful loaf of bread that anyone can eat.

Braided bread loaves are a lot of fun to make and you will only need to take one extra step in preparing the dough. If you can braid hair, you can braid bread dough. The finished loaves look spectacular and anyone you serve it to will be impressed by your baking skills.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups water (room temperature)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon ​active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups bread flour (approximately)

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this bread is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Mixing the Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a medium bowl, mix the water and yeast.

  3. Add the sugar, oil, and salt and stir.

  4. Add 2 cups of bread flour and mix well.

  5. Slowly add in the remaining flour. Do not add too much; just enough flour to make a dough that follows the spoon around the bowl.

  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 4 minutes. Add more flour as needed until the dough is soft and smooth to the touch.

  7. Place the dough in a medium-sized greased bowl. Turn the dough over in the bowl so that the top is also lightly greased.

  8. Cover with a clean cloth and allow it to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size.

Braid and Bake the Dough

  1. Punch down the dough.

  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 4 minutes, or until the bubbles are out of the bread.

  3. Divide the dough into three equal pieces.

  4. Roll each of the three pieces of dough between your hands, making three ropes of about 15 inches long.

  5. Line the strips up side-by-side on a floured board and pinch the top ends together.

  6. Braid the strips and pinch the bottom ends together.

  7. Set the braided loaf on a greased baking sheet.

  8. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 45 minutes, or until it has doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  9. Bake the loaf for 35 to 40 minutes or until the bread is golden brown.

  10. Remove the loaf from the sheet and let it cool completely on a rack before slicing.

Tips

  • Keep your yeast stored in an airtight container and in the refrigerator. Heat, moisture, and air kills the yeast and prevents bread dough from rising.
  • You can make your own bread flour by adding 1 1/2 teaspoons gluten to each cup of all-purpose flour used in your bread recipe.
  • Did you know that you can customize the type of crust on your bread? For a crispy crust, spray the loaves with water while they bake. For a shiny crust, brush the loaves with beaten egg white before baking. For a shiny, darker crust, brush loaves with milk before baking. For a softer crust, brush loaves with butter immediately after baking.

Recipe Variations

  • You can replace the water with either apple juice or milk.
  • Add 1/2 cup of raisins or dried cranberries to the bread dough for extra sweetness.
  • The 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar in this recipe can be replaced with brown sugar, honey, molasses, or maple syrup.