The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Wonder Bread at home

Janknitz's picture

Wonder Bread at home

I'm a little embarassed to ask this among people who appreciate good bread, but I have a teenager who will eat nothing but Wonderbread style white bread.  It has to be soft with a tasteless and very soft crust.  All of the white bread recipes I have made at home have a chewy, thick crust and a heavier crumb than she will eat.

I'm trying to save money by baking our bread at home, and really enjoying replacing expensive artisan style breads and challahs with my own delicious breads.  But I want to stop buying white bread too.  We end up throwing away about 1/3 of the white bread we buy as it is beause two kids can't eat through the standard sized loaf before it gets too stale.  Homemade loaves are smaller and less expensive.   I also have this fantasy that I can slowly eliminate some of the sugar and sneak in some whole grain without her noticing if I do it very gradually (the persnickety teenager is pretty smart, so that may not work!).  My little one is my biggest fan and will eat anything I bake, but I still have to buy sugary white bread for the teenager, and the little one will eat it if its there. 

I know there are a lot of white bread recipes here, but can anyone point me to some that are more like Wonderbread?  I did find one elsewhere (Counterfeit Wonder Bread on  [link removed because it has been bought by a domain squatter]) but it calls for lecithin and I really don't want to have to go searching for that.  KA's website says that lecithin improves shelf life and reduces the need for fat in a bread recipe.  If I left it out, woudl it make an appreciable difference in flavor? 

dausone's picture

Great idea to get the kids weened off of wonder bread. Some may argue that is not even bread, and others may argue that it is not even food with all the chemicals added to it. Just look at that ingredients list!

I discovered lecithin while making home made chocolate some years back. It is an emulsifier and enables the mixing of two ingredients that would normally not go together. In the case of wonder bread, it probably allows for the oils to mix evenly with the water, sugars, and the million other ingredients that are there, producing that distinctive fluffy taste we all know. I bought the soy lecithin at whole foods market and normally health food stores will carry it. It is flavorless by itself.

All that being said, I prefer to just use vegetable oil, or coconut oil as a substitute for lecithin. Whisk the water, oil, and melted butter together for a good while until it looks like the mixture is uniformed then add it quickly to your dry ingredients. Im sure that will do the trick in a pinch! Good luck. Let us know how it goes but I am confident that your version will be far healthier. :)

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

They may actually love what they bake and learn to appreciate new tastes. This is a trick mom's use to get kids to eat all types of fruits, vegetables and "weird" foods.

What was that movie where all the people got so soft and "dumbed down" that they lost their legs and got so fat that they couldn't even walk. (evolution)  It was an animated movie that came out a year or two ago and was pretty good.

I think making only healthy foods available really helps. I've seen a huge change in the taste preferences in my step son vs the rest of the step kids that don't live with us. He still likes unhealthy foods but he's starting to really like some good foods too. He loves my homemade bread, especially rye. He also loves all types of vegetables and healthy soups.

I have to keep junk food out of the house though or he will devour it. The good thing (nutrition wise) is that he doesn't have much money. He'd rather eat what's in the house then to go buy something him self. If it's not there he's not eating it no matter how much he'd like to.

The step kids that don't live with us? All wonder bread, chicken nuggets, McDonald's and potato chips. It's sad because now our grandkids eat that way too. They come over here and experience fresh fruits (oranges from the fruit stand), soy milk, homemade bread and salad with more than ice burg lettuce and they love it. But, going home to chicken nuggets and canned overcooked corn/green beans (if they have any veggies at all) or McDonald's and this will be how their taste buds develop too.

You will learn to love the taste of what you eat at home. My mom cooked homemade, healthy foods and we always had fresh vegetables, whole grains, low fat meals. This is what I think tastes great. I like spice, herbs and flavorful vegetables.

Do your teenager a favor. Please, stop buying chemical laden products and stock your pantry with stuff from, as we health care professionals like to say "the outer edges of the grocery store". The less you have in boxes and store bought cans at home the healthier you will all be. I've truly found it doesn't take much longer to grill a chicken breast or steak and throw together a salad or steam some frozen veggies than to mix together boxed macoroni and cheese or "hamburger helper".

You're on the right track with baking the homemade bread. Now, the "tough love", well sort of tough love.

geeklady's picture

You're thinking of WALL*E, but they didn't lose their legs they just got too obese to walk.  It's also not evolution, the human body is designed to store energy like crazy and the people's bodies are reacting the way ours would if we took in more energy than we expended in a low gravity environment.

rolls's picture

hi rosy b's 'bread  bible' has exactly what you're looking for. the bread is described as 'what wonderbread wishes it could be' or something like that.

AsherMaximum's picture

I think this is the recipe you are talking about.

althetrainer's picture

I have two stepchildren used to be like that.  They ate nothing but white bread.  If a loaf was darker in color they wouldn't touch it.  They were raised that way so I could do very little about their diet.  When my son was born I decided I was going to raise him differently.  My son didn't know anything about white bread until he went to school and saw some of his friends' lunch.  Just last week I made dill bread and let him try some.  He took a bite and said "Hmmmm this is excellent bread, mom!"  I knew then I have a real bread eater at home. 

dlt123's picture


This is what I did, but it may not be to your liking...  I wanted to eat a better bread than I was buying and wanted it to be healthy.... So I bought a grain mill, a cheap Oster Kitchen Center mixer that would kneed dough and started making my own bread...

I found that the following made a huge difference in my bread and now am very happy with my bread experiences...

1) Use Wheat Glutten flour, add 2 Tbls for each loaf of bread your making.

2) For a bread similar to Wonder Bread in softness and sight, mill your flour using a flour mill and use White Wheat berries, not the red berries... Organic if you can find it, but White Wheat berries even if you can't...

3) Do a sponge the night before you bake your bread... add at least 1/4 tsp of yeast to the sponge if you wish a better flavor.

4) After you take your bread of the oven, brush butter on the top of your hot bread... This will make your crust soft rather than crusty and will make it more palatable to your young ones...

I'm sure others will have great ideas, but the best addition to my bread making was the flour mill... I realize they can be spendy, but if you're serious about making bread in the future, it's a good investment.  I know it made a big difference in my finished breads by making them more flavorful, softer and gives a fresher taste and feel than bread made from store bought flour.  No comparison... I'm sure other home millers will say the same.

Anyway, best of luck with your bread making adventure.


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subfuscpersona's picture

This recipe is from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice and makes a good approximation of supermarket white bread.

I made this bread as an exercise to help a poster on another forum. I'll just give the links to the posts, which give the recipe ingredients and my instructions (the accompanying photos have, unfortunately, been lost from the site)...

Buttermilk White Bread - Ingredients and Measuring

Buttermilk White Bread - Instructions (mixing & kneading)

Buttermilk White Bread - Instructions (rising and baking)

Buttermilk White Bread - Recap and Evaluation

the entire thread is at

clazar123's picture

One strategy that I found works with teens is if they "own" the process so they can show you up. Does she have any interest in baking bread? If she makes it, she will love what she makes (it's usually in their makeup to do that). How about making homemade tortillas or pita for "wrap" style sandwiches. Try and find a friend of hers that is interested in breadmaking-talk to the parents (and a good excuse to get to know the parent,too).

Lecithin is easily obtainable in the health food section of major grocery stores or at a health food store. It is about $5/16 oz. bottle here but you use only about a teaspon or 2 in a loaf. It is derived from soy. It does soften the texture a bit but so does oil, as previously mentioned, as well as milk and butter.

Another strategy I've done is just not providing it so readily.If you don't want to spend your money on it and it is wasteful, don't buy it. Try making one of the loaves mentioned above and just run out of WOnder Bread. It could be an opportunity. Teach her to make do or do without. This is a valuable skill to have in these economic times.

Another idea is to have her buy it with her money. If she has to earn her money, she won't want to throw anything out and she may consider cheaper alternatives( such as your bread). The deliciousness will ultimately get her.

Good luck-parenting is definitely harder than baking.Been there-doing that.


breadman1015's picture

I developed this formula for my son about 30 years ago.


1-1/4 cup  Water
1 Tbs.  Yeast
2 Tbs.  Sugar
2 tsp.  Salt
1/4 cup  Butter, melted
4 cup  All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup Hi-Gluton Flour
Butter, melted for glazing
In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer with the dough hook, combine all of the ingredients. Mix for 5 minutes at low speed. Beat at medium speed for 10-12 minutes, until a very smooth dough is formed. Ball the Dough; place in an oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap; and allow to proof until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down the dough; rewrap; and allow to double again, about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Gently deflate dough. Form into an oblong loaf and place in a lightly greased 9" x 5" loaf pan. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and allow to proof until the Bread is about 1” above the rim of the pan. Remove the plastic wrap and brush the top of the Bread with melted butter. Bake until evenly browned, about 30-35 minutes.

Darwinia's picture
Darwinia hard to find a "wonder bread" recipe to make without a machine. I have a machine, but it takes up soooooooo much room for the itty bitty loaf it makes.

hsmum's picture

I understand your pain -- my husband loves Wonder Bread too, and had requested a month or so ago that I make something resembling it. Just wanted to add my two bits to the earlier post in favour of Reinhart's white bread recipes. 

In my (newest, I think) edition of the Bread Baker's Apprentice, he gives 3 variations on white bread. I've used his second, and haven't opted to try the other 2 as we've been so happy with this recipe.  It is very soft and wonderful for sandwiches, although seems somewhat smaller than a store-bought loaf.  I have to tell you that I HATE store-bought white sandwich bread, but I do love this loaf because it is so fresh and tender.  I have also been pleasantly shocked that it does not go stale any faster than store-bought.  In fact, the reverse seems to be true!  As for crust, it is remarkably thin, especially if only baked to a light golden colour.  I use butter (rather than shortening or margarine) as it seems to add the best flavour, and I use an egg wash on the crust, which softens it and gives it a good flavour.  I'm working my way through the rest of the book and I've learned a lot.  But the sandwich bread recipe alone is worth the cost of the book, I promise. 



Lucy-Sue's picture

Hi:  I have a perfect recipe for you.  It is an Amish white bread recipe and very easy to make!!

It makes 3 loaves if you use an 8 x 5 pan.  Just a nice size.  It also stays nice and soft for days!

2-1/4 tsp yeast

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

2 tsp salt

2 cups of water

2-1/2 cups of canola oil

6-1/2 to 7 cups of bread flour

1/8 cup butter for brushing on top of the crust when it comes out of the oven.  Makes a nice soft crust.

1-Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup water

2-In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt, 2 cups water and oil

3-Stir in yeast mixture

4-Gradually add flour to form soft dough

5-Turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth

6-Place in greased bowl and cover and let rise for about 2 hours

7-Punch down and divide into 3 portions and form loaves

8-Place in greased 8x5 inch pans and let raise again for about 2 hours

9-Bake at 375 degrees for 22 min.

10-Cool for 10 minutes then rub butter on top of loaves.

11-Remove from pans and place loaves on wire rack to cool.

Zenith's picture

You cannot possibly mean that you use two and one-half CUPS of oil in your bread recipe?  Maybe you meant to say tablespoons.

Lucy-Sue's picture

OMG  I am sorry.  The canola oil is 2-1/2 tablespoons!!!!!!!  I dear I hope that no one has tried this!!!


Thanks so much for pointing out my error!

GloriouslyHomemade's picture

this is one of the first recipes for white bread I made last summer when I went back to baking my own bread. be forewarned - 1/3 cup of sugar makes for VERY sweet bread. I leave the qt as is for cinnamon raisin bread but for sandwich bread I take it down to less than 1/4 cup.

Sam49's picture

You've gotten good suggestions about alternate recipes. 

Real bread can be baked with a soft crust and crumb - it is about ingredients and technique.   I don't bake it that way because that isn't what I like, but some do so they use those recipes.

You wrote: "I still have to buy sugary white bread for the teenager."

You need to think about what you are doing - you do not have to keep buying Wonder Bread for your child.  That is your choice, not the child's.  You are the parent.  You can refuse to buy Wonder Bread, just as you would probably refuse to buy Hostess Twinkies and serve them 3-4 times a week.

But explain why in some detail - more than "it is bad for you."  Give him some links of good explanations on the web, or similar magazine articles, books, etc.

Bread is not an essential dietary item (even though most of the people on this list view it that way because what we make is so good).  Your child will not be harmed if you refuse to buy Wonder bread and he stops eating bread for a while.  In fact, he will have a healtier diet without it.


enaid's picture

For all those with teenagers who only eat Wonderbread, or anyone that only eats white bread or any other non-healthy foods, I have just read a great little book, "Food Rules by Michael Pollan".  It is a slim paperback (get it from the library).  It is very easy to read - I read it in 1/2 hr.  When you read about what is in most of the food (?) you buy at the supermarket, you will be more careful about what you buy and put in you body. 

Keep on baking!!!

copyu's picture

You just saved me from typing a short thesis in an overly-long post...I was going to recommend Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food".

As a matter of fact, I DO recommend it, most highly, to everyone on this site.



jpugliese's picture

"Let your kids choose what they eat when they pay for it."


I stole (and probably butchered) that quote. I think it was from Lynne Rossetto Kasper. Seriously, I doubt you are doing your kid any favors by giving into their wishes. A diet of processed foods is not a nutritious diet.


Alas, I am not here to give parental advice. So go now to Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Bread Bible and use her recipe. It's fantastic.


kermitdd's picture

I like the Pan de Mie recipe from King Arthurs web site

bobkay1022's picture

I just did 2 loaves from Kitchen Aids cook book for white bread.  I was a shipper for Wonderbread years ago. This tastes almost or like wonder bread to me.

Mr Bob

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

I really appreciate Janknitz concern,

Your not on your own my friend. My son went through the same when a teenager. Now 24 and living 2 hours from home he always manages to pinch a frozen home loaf from us when going back.

The recipies coming through have been great but my main concern is the use of a solid fats ie butter. As I had a small heart attack 18 months ago I am very conscious of my cholestrol level.

I know that they are only teenagers but hey the cholestrol does build up over the years in your system. Since this topic is about keeping the home bread healthy may I suggest swapping butter style fats and using any cholestrol free oil such as olive oil, canola or even rice bran oil.

The  buttermilk loaf mentioned is great. It is a residue from the production of butter and should be easily purchased from any dairy section of a supermarket.  It is totally fat and cholestrol free(despite it's name) and contains all the good quality essentials of vitamins, protein and calcium. All good for a growing teenager. It is a highly underrated healthy product. I've used buttermilk in scones and pancakes and it makes a softer, lighter and fluffier product than a normal recipe. It should do the same for your loaf which will help with the softness of the crumb that your teenager is looking for.

I know your trying to get a healthy loaf for your family and good on you. Butter does make a lovely tasty bread but so does a light olive oil that has no cholestrol. The best part is they won't know about the lack of butter unless you tell them. So why load a healthy product with a unhealthy ingredient. Swap for a cholestrol free oil.

I think the above buttermilk recipe may be what your after. Try it and see. Just don't put the butter back into it. Also I use a pastry brush and just use a little low fat milk(even full cream milk would be better than butter) to wash the top of my pan loaves to help brown them. Again instead of butter.

As an occassional treat in a Easter fruit bun butter is fine. However, be very conscious of it in every daily loaf of bread you make and eat.

What do others think...........Pete.


GloriouslyHomemade's picture

I too use buttermilk and olive oil instead of butter, for the same reasons! Yes, there is a difference in taste and texture but it matters only if you're looking for it. :-)

cgmeyer2's picture

i keep powdered buttermilk in my freezer to use when i don't have fresh buttermilk. it works great when added to dry ingredients. add the addtl water to your wet ingredients

hope this helps


Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Although it seems counterinuitive, coconut oil (vigin, cold pressed) is actually showing some interesting benefits for heart health and cholesterol. The bad rap that it's always gotten has to do with the high heat processing and all the trans fats, free radicals and hydrogenation that commercial oil has (read ingredients in coffee creamer). I use it as a wonderful, flavorful substitute for butter or oil in most recipes.

Also, lecithin could be used. Not exactly sure of the substition there since I haven't used it but I now it works. Maybe you use it with oil instead of shortening or butter? I've found most bread recipes though, are really forgiving when it comes to changing the type of oil that you use.

tlcrn's picture

I think for the crust you should use a Pullman pan.  I bought one and use it every week.  The loaf is a perfect square that has the shape of Wonderbread...the crust is very thin and the bread is soft but holds it's shape when you cut it.  You can buy them on Amazon or at King Arthur Flour.  I also got the lock and lock bread keeper and it fits the loaf perfectly.  Look up pullman pan or Pan de Mie for the recipe.  My husband kept buying sandwich bread from the store until I started using this pan...since it now "Looks" like what he is conditioned that sandwich bread should  be...he eats it...and no more store bread!


Kmarie's picture

I too prefer the Wonder Bread type bread. I've spent a fortune on whole wheat and whole grain breads and can't abide the taste of any of them. I gave up. If you put your loaf of Wonder Bread in the freezer, you can just take out the slices you need. It defrosts in about 5 minutes and always taste fresh. I am also looking for recipes for this type bread and can't find it either. I'll keep watching you link to see if anyone comes up with one.

Lucy-Sue's picture

Hi:  I have a perfect recipe for you.  It is an Amish white bread recipe and very easy to make!!

It makes 3 loaves if you use an 8 x 5 pan.  Just a nice size.  It also stays nice and soft for days! You can slice it then freeze it and it is just a fresh as the day you baked it.

2-1/4 tsp yeast

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

2 tsp salt

2 cups of water

2-1/2 tbsp. of canola oil

6-1/2 to 7 cups of bread flour

1/8 cup butter for brushing on top of the crust when it comes out of the oven.  Makes a nice soft crust.

1-Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup water

2-In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt, 2 cups water and oil

3-Stir in yeast mixture

4-Gradually add flour to form soft dough

5-Turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth

6-Place in greased bowl and cover and let rise for about 2 hours

7-Punch down and divide into 3 portions and form loaves

8-Place in greased 8x5 inch pans and let raise again for about 2 hours

9-Bake at 375 degrees for 22 min.

10-Cool for 10 minutes then rub butter on top of loaves.

11-Remove from pans and place loaves on wire rack to cool.

BabyBlue's picture

Why don't you enroll your teens in bread making classes with some friends?  My kids used to be very picky, and then I started making them cook.  Now they eat pretty much anything, because they know what the ingredients are. 

As an alternative to the white sliced, why not get them hooked on bagels, kaisers or other buns you can make at home.  Pita bread is so different and softer made at home than bought in the store.  And wraps  and deli looking sandwiches are all the rage in school lunches right now (I have a 15 and 16 year old...)

About 2 years ago we stopped buying anything processed.  All our food comes in fresh and that's how we eat.  We mill our own flour now too, and we are really enjoying the taste of REAL whole wheat.  It is quite mild compared to store bought whole wheat flour, because it is fresh and not rancid. Our kids sort of cringed at first, but now have gotten very used to the way we eat, and they are quite disgusted when being offered things like hot dogs or chicken nuggets as "dinner" at a friend's place.

good luck, and persevere. Your kids will be better for it!



ralph127's picture

I don't have a Wonder Bread type recipe but why don't you freeze your bread. I freeze all the bread, home made or store bought, that I don't eat the day I bake or buy them.

Slice the bread if home made. Wrap the as many slices as you use for a meal, in plastic wrap, place in a plastic bag and seal with a twist tie. The bread will keep for months. I usually wrap no more than eight slices of bread for easy handling.

I googled recipes for Wonder Bread and here are a few links

I hope this helps,


jannrn's picture

Hello Pete!!
I would love your recipe for the buttermilk bread! I think it is an awesome idea and I am a little hinky about using butter although I worry more about Margarine!! If you don't mind, would you please post your recipe??
Thanks so much!

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hi Jan,

These following sites for a buttermilk bread recipe are provided by Subfuscpersona on April6 2009 mentioned in the threads above. The picture of her B/M loaf can be found in the above thread as well. I was endorsing their recommendation for a buttermilk loaf as it makes a softer lighter crumb. My concern was for all the recipes using butter while trying to keep bread healthy. Just use a good cholestrol free oil instead of any margarine or butter. I didn't realy have a main recipe as such.

Buttermilk White Bread - Ingredients and Measuring

Buttermilk White Bread - Instructions (mixing & kneading)

Buttermilk White Bread - Instructions (rising and baking)

Also check out Buttermilk Cluster on this "The Fresh Loaf" site. Take the recipe and cook it as a normal loaf. I did that loaf as a cluster for our Boxing day family dinner and it went well. I forgot to mention I have recently started mixing semolina flour (1/3rd) with my bread flour(2/3rds). This also gives a creamier soft texture to the crumb. I have yet to combine semolina with buttermilk. It could make it too soft, I don't know till I try.....good luck and keep us  posted............Pete

Kmarie's picture

Thank you so much Lucy-Sue. I'll give the recipe that you gave me hopefully tomorrow. Do you know if this bread can be baked in a Pullman pan?

Lucy-Sue's picture

Hi Kmarie:


I have never baked in a pullman pan so I really can not say yes or no?  I don't see any reason that you can't.  I would imagine that you would have to adjust your time cooking?


Good Luck!

janetgaddy's picture

After much searching and trials, I have come across what i consider the "almost" perfect (wonder bread like) loaf of white bread.

1 1/4 cup warm water

1/4 cup of sugar

1/4 cup powdered milk

1/4 cup potato flakes

2 tablespoons of melted butter

4 cups all purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons of active dry yeast

2 teaspoons of salt

I put the water, milk, sugar, potato, butter and salt in bottom of my "Z" bread maker.  I dump 4 cups of flour on top.  I make a well in the flour and put in the yeast.  I turn it on and go do something else.

When done, I pop it out and wait one hour and then slice it and freeze it... Fantastic when toasted and I will freeze it if it lasts that long.


Here is a variation.  Add 1 tablespoon of Italian seasonings.  ( the kind you buy in the store in the plastic container) and add 1 extra tablespoon of water.

My husband loves the italian version.

Let me know if yours meets with the same success.



Falsehat's picture

Until you find a suitable recipe, you can eliminate throwing out the 1/3 loaf: Freeze 1/2 of the loaf while they eat the other half.

For a soft crust, no matter what recipe: while cooling, wrap the bread in a thick tea towel and place it on a wire rack.

Do what my wife did: Eat what is put in front of you or don't eat it. Your choice as there are no substitutes. You are a caring mother, not a servant. Explain the facts of life to him; money is tight.