This homemade honey buttermilk bread recipe is so easy that even a beginner can do it! A perfect sandwich bread, it has a velvety crumb with a slightly sweet flavor from the honey. The yeast dough rises high and light — it’s just right for kids (and adults) who only want the soft commercial bread! There are images and videos to help you every step of the way plus bread machine and high altitude instructions are included. This recipe has been undated from the original 2008 version to improve reader experience.
For this recipe you’ll need: yeast, powdered ginger, sugar, buttermilk, honey, salt, baking soda, bread flour, unsalted butter. If you don’t happen to have buttermilk try the Amish White Bread — It’s a very similar recipe!
This honey buttermilk bread is so unbelievably light that it doesn’t seem like homemade. It’s sweet but not too sweet so it makes a great sandwich no matter what the filling is. You can taste the honey but it’s not overpowering at all. The image shows three loaves but the recipe is for just two. I make six loaves at a time because they go so fast around here!
Watch the Process of Making Homemade Buttermilk Bread
What Is Buttermilk?
Real buttermilk is a thing of the past. It used to be the liquid that was left after churning butter but now it is a combination of skim milk and other ingredients with a culture added — something like yogurt. The ingredient list is generally pretty long and has a lot of stuff in it that is either unpronounceable or just icky. I like making my own. You can buy the starter online or you can use a little of the commercial buttermilk to start it. Yes, you’ll still get some of those icky ingredients but the amount is comparatively minute. Here is the post on how to make buttermilk if you haven’t seen it before. It’s so easy and you’ll be amazed at the difference in your baked goods. .
My dad used to drink this stuff. He’d add some salt an pepper and then drink it down. I couldn’t do it back then and I can’t do it now — but I do love what it does for tenderizing meat and making amazing baked stuff.
Status: Bread Baking Expert
I have been making bread for 40 years. It was a shock when I realized that the other day. It totally freaked me out! I do not identify with the idea of what a grandmother should look like, nor do I ever want to. Still, 40 years of bread baking is significant I think.
My mom didn’t bake. As I recall, I was lying on the couch one day, paging through a Seventeen magazine and they had a recipe for bread. I don’t know if they still publish recipes but they used to. I was bored, it seemed like a cool 70’s kind of thing to do, and why not? After all, the early 70s were all about artisan and handcrafted things.
In a lot of ways it wasn’t so different from how it is now. In fact, neither am I — there’s just more of me.
So I did it. I just followed the directions and there it was.
It was magical. The house smelled great and I had accomplished something I had never seen or done before. I’d never had homemade bread. Honestly, it was one of those moments that changed my life. It was an epiphany and would more or less guide my food life from that moment on.
The result was delicious — I was hooked.
I wasn’t allowed in the kitchen much but my parents did make an exception for my bread making endeavors. By the time I was sixteen I spent my days off from work experimenting with sour dough, rye, wheat, salt rising, oatmeal, and almost any other yeast bread you can imagine. It’s kind of funny that I never baked a cake or cookies until after I was married, though. Talk about putting the cart before the horse, right?
Homemade buttermilk bread has always been one of my favorites because of the texture, flavor, and puffy lightness.
How to Tell If Bread Dough Has Risen
If you don’t have much experience making bread it can be hard to tell if your bread dough has risen. These images should help you with that!
When fully risen your finger will leave a dent in the dough and the bowl will feel light when you pick it up. See how the dough looks puffy and smooth? It’s definitely ready to be punched down.
Punching the buttermilk bread dough down is exactly that. Drive your fist into the center. No need to be gentle. If more people made bread the world might be less violent.
Once you’ve punched down the dough fold the sides in. You should have something that looks like the image above. See how the top of the dough is no longer smooth and puffy? Be sure to let it rest a couple of minutes before shaping.
You may want to take a look at this series on Yeast Bread Baking Tips and troubleshooting before you get started on your honey buttermilk bread adventure! Also – these tips on getting your bread to rise properly are what keep my breads high and light!
How to Knead Bread Dough by Hand
A lot of people have asked me how to knead dough for homemade bread without a mixer so I finally did a video to demonstrate the process. Plan on it taking you 10 to 15 minutes to knead by hand.
- Flour your clean, smooth surface with a light dusting of flour.
- Turn out the dough onto the flour.
- Hold the dough down gently with your left hand and push it away from you with the heel of your right hand.
- Fold the dough back over itself.
- Turn the dough a quarter turn to the left.
You’ll repeat this over and over again, adding a little flour at a time if it gets too sticky. The dough is thoroughly kneaded when it is soft and pliable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Bread Machine Baking
Many of you have asked about making this in a bread machine. One reader, Debbie, did so and she left this comment. I thought it might help.
Wonderful flavor, love this recipe…I wanted to let others know that I use my bread maker
I have cuisinart brand and I put all of the ingredients in on Dough cycle…when it
is finished I punch it down divide the dough in half roll the halves into a long oval
shape put in greased bread pans cover and let rise for 1-2 hours and bake at 400 degrees for 30 min. I have nerve damage in my hands and this allows me to have this wonderful bread. [No need to] buy store bought bread ! I did not alter the recipe.
Thank You for sharing!
High Altitude Baking for Yeast Bread
This is not a problem here in Texas – at least not in my area! However, King Arthur Flour has some great tips for high altitude baking on their site. The information about bread and yeast is at the bottom of the page.
Here’s a quick overview –
Basically you’ll need to decrease the amount of yeast in the recipe so if it calls for 1 tablespoon yeast you’ll want roughly 2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast instead. You’ll follow the recipe but more than likely you’ll need to adjust the amount of flour you use to get the right texture – it may take a couple of tries.
Also your rising time will be MUCH faster so keep an eye on your dough!
You Might Need
Be sure to check out the essentials for success page to find links to the tools and ingredients I use most often.
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If you’ve wanted to learn to bake bread but it never comes out quite the way you think it should… you might like my book, Bread BootCamp. It’s gotten great reviews! Not only does it contain this honey buttermilk bread recipe, there are recipes for batter breads, cinnamon rolls, whole wheat bread, and many more!
Learning to bake bread can seem very intimidating and many would-be bakers quit in frustration. I use an incremental approach – learning the techniques step by step so that by the end of the book you’ve mastered it. More importantly, you’ve had fun doing it!
Bread Bootcamp is available on Amazon for Kindle or in paperback.
Homemade Honey Buttermilk Bread Recipe
So, here’s the buttermilk bread recipe! I really think you’ll love it – it’s the best bread ever! If you like this recipe please consider giving it a 5 star rating!
- 1 tablespoon/packet yeast I usually use 1 because I buy in bulk.
- 1 pinch powdered ginger
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup warm water 105F
- 2 cups warm buttermilk 105F
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 6 cups white bread flour divided use
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled so that it is warm to the touch but not hot.
In a medium sized bowl mix the yeast, ginger, sugar, and warm water.
Set aside for 5 minutes or until foamy.
Whisk the buttermilk, honey, salt, and baking soda together and add it to the yeast mixture.
Add three cups of flour and mix until smooth, about 3 to 5 minutes on low of a stand mixer.
Pour in the butter until it is totally mixed into the batter.
Add the rest of the flour, one cup at a time, keeping mixer on low speed.
When dough pulls from the sides of the bowl remove it from the mixer to a lightly floured surface. Knead until elastic and smooth.
You can also knead in your mixer according to manufacturer's directions.
Place in greased bowl, turn to grease the top, and cover with a clean tea towel.
Allow the dough to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until double.
Punch down and form into two loaves. Place in greased loaf pans and grease tops.
Cover, and allow to rise for 45 minutes, or until it is just about to the tops of the bread pans.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Bake for 30 minutes. You can cover the tops with foil if they brown too fast.
Remove loaves from oven and brush with melted butter.
Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes.
Gently run a knife around the edge between the bread and the pan to loosen it.
Turn out and cool completely on a rack.
Cover the loaves if you want soft crusts.
If you like this Homemade Honey Buttermilk Bread recipe you may also like these other reader favorites…
Just click the image to go to the recipe!
Kalamata Olive Bread, Molasses Whole Wheat Bread, Oatmeal Honey Bread
This recipe is part of Meal Plan Monday – head on over there and check out all the great recipe ideas!