How to Make Buttermilk Bread

This Buttermilk Bread recipe comes straight out of my FAVORITE BOOK, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  For my friends who own the book, go read page 207 and have fun making the next two recipes, Judy's Board of Director's Cinnamon-Raisin Bread on page 209 and my own, Pigs In An Artisan Blanket.

If you don't own a copy of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, then I highly recommend you it.  Pick up a copy for yourself from this Amazon link:  Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë Francóis.  A small portion of the book sale goes to support SimpleDailyRecipes.com.  Now, let's get back to the bread.

Buttermilk Bread makes a very nice sandwich bread for starters.  It has a soft crust and crumb with great flavor.  It's the buttermilk that makes it so tender.

This recipe makes three 1 1/2 pound loaves.  It can be doubled or halved.

  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • butter or neutral-tasting oil for greasing the loaf pan
  1. Mixing and storing the dough: Mix the yeast, salt, and sugar with water and buttermilk in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.
  2. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a strong handled spoon, a 14-cup capacity food processor (with dough attachment), or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with dough hook).  If you're not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour..
  3. Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top); approximately 2 hours.
  4. The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is MUCH easier to handle when cold.  Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 7 days.
  5. On baking day, lightly grease a 9 x 4 x 3-inch nonstick loaf pan. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1 1/2 pound (canteloupe-size) piece.  Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.  Elongate the ball into an oval.
  6. Drop the loaf into the prepared pan.  You want to fill the pan slightly more than half-full.
  7. Allow the dough to rest for 1 hour and 40 minutes.  Flour the top of the loaf and slash, using the tip of a serrated bread knife.  Brush the top with melted butter.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
  10. Remove from the pan.  Allow to cool completely before slicing or it will be nearly impossible to achieve reasonable sandwich slices.

You should know.  I don't make & bake bread dough all in the same day.  That's too much work.  I usually figure out when we need the bread then make up the dough one or two days before that time.  Once the dough makes that initial rise, I throw it in the frig until I'm ready.  Sometimes, I don't wait for the rise.  If I know that I'll be 2 or more days out from baking, then I'll mix the dough and immediately refrigerate it.  It will still rise in the frig, just at a slower rate.