This homemade honey buttermilk bread recipe is so easy that even a beginner can do it! It’s the best bread ever for sandwiches with 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 super soft bread! There are step by step images and videos to help you every step of the way with bread machine and high altitude instructions included. This recipe has been undated from the original 2008 version to improve reader experience. Last updated August 2018
For this homemade bread 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!
Learn How to Make Homemade Bread
This buttermilk bread recipe 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 just lightly sweet; not overpowering at all.
I have been making homemade 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 do you make homemade bread from scratch?
It sounds scary – let’s face it most people find yeast baking intimidating! It’s really easy though – read through this quick start guide and you’ll see what I mean. You may also like this more comprehensive homemade bread baking guide that I created.
* A lot of people ask if the ginger is necessary. I found this tip in one of my antique cook books from the late 1800s. It was handwritten in the flyleaf and I’ve used it ever since. It does help to activate the yeast but you don’t absolutely have to use it if you don’t want to.
- In a medium sized bowl you’ll mix the yeast, ginger, sugar, and warm water. Make sure the water isn’t too hot.
- Set it aside for 5 minutes or until foamy. If you are using rapid mix yeast this isn’t necessary.
- When it is foamy stir in the buttermilk, honey, salt, and baking soda.
- Add some of the flour and mix until smooth. The flour coats the yeast cells and helps them rise better when you do this before adding butter.
- Pour in the melted butter.
- 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 move it to the counter and knead until elastic and smooth. It’s important that you knead thoroughly. When the dough is kneaded properly it will feel the same as your earlobe when pinched.
- Allow the dough to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until double.
- Punch down and form into two loaves. You can do this by rolling it out flat, then rolling it up like a jelly roll and tucking the ends underneath. OR you can just mold it into shape.
- 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 375F.
- 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.
- Don’t slice the bread while it’s hot.
Tips for Making Honey Buttermilk Bread
Say “yeast bread recipe” and most people get intimidated. Making homemade bread is a skill that few people take the time to learn these days. Well, there’s nothing scary about it and it’s actually a lot of fun! Here are some tips, tricks, and tools to help you get over any fear you may have so you can create gorgeous loaves of bread like these!
How do I know when the bread is done?
- You can use an insta-read thermometer if you like. Push it into the side of the loaf – the center of the bread should be about 200F.
- You can also turn the bread out and tap the bottom. It will sound hollow.
How to Make Homemade Buttermilk Bread Video
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.
How to Make Buttermilk Bread in a Bread Machine
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!
If you want to make it and bake it in a bread machine cut the recipe in half, set it on white bread setting, and add ingredients in this order (or according to your manufacturer’s instructions):
- Flour mixed with ginger and baking soda
High Altitude Baking Instructions 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!
Yeast Baking Troubleshooting Guide
I’ve written a series of posts to help with questions about yeast baking and troubleshooting problems you may experience. Be sure to take a look before getting started.
Step By Step Images for Homemade Bread
If you don’t have much experience making bread it can be hard to tell if your bread dough has risen. These step by step images should help you with that
Step One: How to Tell If Bread Dough Has Risen
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.
Step Two: Punch Dough 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.
Step Three: Let It Rest Before Shaping
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.
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. Then it’s time to shape it and let it rise!
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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Thanks so much for being a part of Restless Chipotle!
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. You’ll find more great products for your bread baking adventures in the Restless Chipotle & Co. Storefront!
More of the Best Bread Recipes from Restless Chipotle
I make bread a lot – I just love the process! Here are more bread recipes – which is your favorite?
- 30 Minute Baguettes
- Honey Cracked Wheat Bread
- Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread
- Harvest Bread
- Kalamata Olive Bread
- Bacon Bread
- Hatch Chile Cheese Bread
- Multi-Grain Flaxseed Bread
- Whole Wheat Bread
- Easy Old Fashioned White Bread
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! So many people have made this yeast bread and told me it was their family’s new favorite. If you like this recipe please give it 5 stars!
- 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 375F.
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.
Included in Meal Plan Monday