Easy Milk-Free Braided White Bread

Easy milk-free braided white bread

The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Rise: 105 mins
Total: 2 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Yield: 1 loaf
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
152 Calories
2g Fat
28g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 152
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 128mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 7mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 46mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Many homemade bread recipes require milk and if you're lactose intolerant or don't consume dairy products, it can be difficult to find a great recipe. Or maybe you just ran out of milk. Regardless of your situation, this easy braided white bread recipe is here to save the day.

To create this milk-free loaf, we made a quick adjustment to a basic braided bread recipe. 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 impressive, and also taste delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups room temperature water

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ​active dry yeast

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3 cups (360 grams) bread flour, more as needed

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.

    Ingredients for easy milk-free braided white bread

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

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

    Water and yeast in a bowl

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

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

    Sugar, oil, and salt added to the water and yeast in a bowl

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

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

    Bread flour added to yeast, oil, water, and salt in a bowl

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

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

    Dough in a bowl with a spoon

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  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.

    Kneaded bread dough ball on a floured surface

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  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.

    Greased ball of dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  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.

    Dough ball in a bowl covered with a towel

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

Braid and Bake the Dough

  1. Punch down the dough.

    Punch dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

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

    Knead dough on a cutting board

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  3. Divide the dough into three equal pieces.

    Three dough balls on a floured surface

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

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

    Dough rolled into a rope

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

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

    Three dough ropes connected together on one side

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

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

    Dough braided on a cutting board

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

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

    Braided white bread on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  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.

    Braided white bread on a baking sheet covered with a towel

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

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

    Baked braided white bread on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

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

    Easy milk-free braided white bread on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

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 vital wheat gluten to each cup of all-purpose flour used in your bread recipe, or follow this guide.
  • For a crispy crust, spray the loaves with water while they bake.
  • For a shiny crust, brush the loaves with beaten egg whites 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.

How to Store and Freeze Milk-Free Braided White Bread

Like most homemade bread, this will keep for a couple of days, and toasting it is a way to lengthen its lifespan. However, you can also freeze bread easily. Keep it well wrapped and label it with the date and it can potentially keep for up to 6 months.