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May 23, 2021

Homemade Wonder Bread (Copycat)

If you were to ask anyone who grew up eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (and are of a certain age) what their favorite bread used to be, I bet they would answer Wonder Bread. It was soft, airy, white, and slightly sweet. Even if you weren't allowed to have Wonder Bread in your house, you might have been jealous of your friends who were. 

Homemade Wonder Bread (Copycat)

I grew up in a household that did not have Wonder Bread. Instead, we had Weber's Bread. Weber's Bread was another white bread (they also had a version with a little bit of whole wheat in it). I remember people being passionate about what their favorite white bread was and swearing that there definitely was a difference. 

I do remember an iconic sign in Los Angeles over the Weber's factory. Maybe my mom preferred Weber's because it was based in Southern California. More likely, it was because it was less expensive because the bakery was local. 

Eventually, both the Weber's and Wonder Bread brands were bought and sold and bought and sold again, and they even, at one point, were owned by the same company that went bankrupt. I think even the federal government got involved because one company was baking two white breads, as if it was an antitrust case. 

The Wonder Bread brand lives on, albeit with a new owner, but Weber's, sadly, is gone. 

Either way, one of the secret ways I loved eating store bought white bread as a kid was to butter it, roll it in all of its softness into a ball to create what we called "dough," and then eat it. 

P.S. Weber's was a fabulous white sandwich bread, and I have no idea which was better. 

Homemade Wonder Bread (Copycat) sliced

While my favorite and fail-safe way to make unabashedly soft white bread is the Japanese milk bread method, I thought it would be fun to try to recreate the flavors of Wonder Bread. 

I turned to Stella Parks, and her book Bravetart: Iconic American Desserts. I love the book, and I definitely want to try her homemade Twinkies and Hostess Cupcakes. 

Like Japanese milk bread, this bread recipe also includes using a tangzhong, which is a mixture of cooked water and/or milk with flour. It creates a gelatinized flour that holds onto moisture to create steam inside the dough while baking in the oven so that the bread bakes up soft and light. 

In addition to the tangzhong, this recipe includes some interesting ingredients, including malted milk powder and coconut oil. I think the malted milk powder is to compensate for the fact that barley malt, that is often used as a flavoring in breads, is not readily available to home bakers. 

This recipe also calls for Diamond Crystal kosher salt. If you only have table salt, use half as much by volume. 

Homemade Wonder Bread (Copycat) ingredients

While this bread was not as soft as I had hoped, the flavor was wonderful. The bread made delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as well as grilled cheese. Plus, it made wonderful toast with butter and jam. 

While I used unbleached all purpose flour, I suspect that using bleached all purpose flour such as Gold Medal will yield softer and whiter white bread results. 

By the way, you can use this dough to make wonderful dinner rolls or hamburger buns. 

Homemade Wonder Bread (Copycat) loaf

More soft sandwich bread recipes:

Classic White Sandwich Bread

Almost White Sandwich Bread

Seeded Sandwich Bread

Sourdough Hokkaido Milk Bread

Tangzhong Whole Wheat Bread

This week, the Sunday Funday group is posting recipes for childhood favorites. I'm excited to check out everyone's recipes, especially the Spaghetti O's from our host, Stacy!

Copycat Homemade Wonder Bread

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Copycat Homemade Wonder Bread

Copycat Homemade Wonder Bread
Yield: 16 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
This homemade copycat Wonder Bread is soft and delicious, and makes delicious peanut butter sandwiches


For the Tangzhong/Roux
  • 1 1/2 ounces (1/3 cup) all purpose flour
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) milk, whole or low fat
For the Final Dough
  • 15 ounces (3 1/3 cups) bleached all purpose flour
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 ounces (1/3 cup) malted milk powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal salt, or 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) whole milk
  • 1 1/2 ounces (1/4 cup) room temperature coconut oil


To make the tangzhong/roux
  1. Whisk together the flour and water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until you have a thick pudding-like paste, about 2 minutes. 
  2. Set aside to cool. 
To Make the Bread
  1. Sift the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar, malted milk powder, yeast, salt, milk, coconut oil, and the tangzhong. 
  2. Knead on low speed for about 12 minutes. The dough should pass the windowpane test. 
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until fuffy, about 30 to 45 minutes. 
  4. Press the dough with your fingertip. If it stays indented, your dough is ready. 
  5. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Oil an 8 inch by 5 inch loaf pan. 
  6. Turn the dough out onto your work surface, pat it into a rectangle, and roll it into a log. Place it seam side down into the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until the dough crowns the pan, about 25 minutes. 
  7. Bake the loaf for about 45 minutes, until it reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. 
  8. Turn the bread out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

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Wonder Bread, white bread
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Would you like to comment?

  1. What a beautiful loaf, Karen! I would love a slice of your bread with just a smear of butter and honey. P.S. That was my favorite way to eat white bread too! It didn't even need butter, just mash into a dough ball and nibble.

  2. Give me few slices of this beautifully baked bread Karen, looks awesome!

  3. Well of course you made homemade Wonder bread. You amaze me Karen. Homemade Wonder Bread from Wonder Woman!!

  4. Karen - merely looking at that bread will make us do a happy dance at home. Gorgeous indeed, especially the first pic..

  5. Wonder bread and butter, rolled up, was definitely a childhood thing. Love.

  6. I'm drooling over your bread loaf - it looks SO perfectly tender! It's definitely begging to be stuffed with PB&J!

  7. Please Karen pass a few slices over to my end. The bread looks so tempting, beautiful and soft. I too have memories of enjoying really soft white bread growing up, packed in a waxy kind of paper. Unfortunately, the company closed down and the white bread that we get at present is just too sweet.

  8. I was never allowed t have wonder bread...or any kind of white bread for that matter. But when my girl scout troop had a field trip to the Wonder Bread factory, I was enthralled. Thanks for the recipe. My kids have never had wonder bread either. I might have to make this for them.

  9. Hello Karen.
    i can't find malted milk powder in my area , Can i substitute for something else

    1. You could try barley malt powder or a little but of barley malt syrup.

  10. After making the tangzhong, has anyone made this in their breadmachine??

    1. I make the tangzhong and let it cool with a piece of plastic wrap touching the surface to prevent the outside from forming a dried-out crust. I whisked the tangzhong with the milk until smooth, poured that into my bread machine pan followed by the remaining ingredients, and ran it through the dough cycle. Then I formed and baked the dough in the oven as directed in the recipe.


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