Shoe Box Sandwich Bread Tutorial {Freezer style}





Seriously simple sandwich bread awaits you. If you’ve ever made homemade bread and mixed, waited, watched it rise, punched, kneaded, shaped, waited, baked and waited for just one loaf, you probably don’t make it frequently. It’s my hope that this 5 ingredient recipe made in a shoe box will change your lifestyle of eating bread in convenience form. It has changed mine.


I first started following the method of the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes website when it first launched about five years ago. I was intrigued by the way you could mix ingredients and have enough bread dough to last a whole week. Perhaps it was the fact that we were having our third child and it was another step toward eating whole foods in a much easier fashion.

Through the years, I’ve made it countless times and taught many women how to make this very simple bread either in free loaf form or in a loaf pan. The method I’m sharing today is using a loaf pan so you can bake three loaves at one time and always have bread in the freezer. It’s just like if you bought a loaf from the store and saved it in your freezer when you need it. Only this is better because it’s fresh, tastes delicious, made in whole form with simple ingredients.

Five simple ingredients: water, oil, white whole wheat flour, kosher salt and yeast go into a plastic shoe box. I add the liquid ingredients first which helps the mixture stir easier.


Stir well and be prepared for a sticky dough. This help it have a moist tender crumb without being dry. It’s essential to mix very well with a sturdy kitchen spoon, making sure there are no dry patches in the corner or any where. That’s why I like the curved  corner shoe boxes rather than the squared corner.  But use what you have on hand. Be sure to wash with hot soapy water if you’re recyling a household shoe box.


The dough rises for 2 hours on the counter with the lid. It will puff up almost to the top of the lid and look like the photo. I dust the entire dough with lots of flour before I divide the dough into three equal pieces. Then I dust again on a floured dough board or wax paper. Don’t be afraid to be generous with the flour because it’s sticky.


Shape each dough piece into a log shape trying to pinch or smooth any wrinkles and moving it toward the bottom. The less you handle the dough the better and make sure you’re using floured hands. Drop each piece into a buttered or sprayed loaf pan. I have three different ones as you can tell, but I get the same results.


It’s okay if the bread is not perfect on the bottom. You can see the wrinkles on the bottom of  mine below. I’ve also used a connected 4-mini loaf pan to make small loaves for the kids. I bake these about 5 minutes less than the others. After baking, I brush with softened honey butter, optional but really tasty.

IMG_1218The baked bread goes on cooling racks until completely cool to the touch, about 2 hours. It’s easiest to slice with an electric knife with an attached guide, but use what you have and go for a serrated bread knife which gives you even slices without tearing. Warm bread will tear and not slice well for the freezer. Warm bread is delicious buttered with honey or freezer jam and should be eaten right away. Pick your method :)


Place cooled bread into gallon size freezer bags and remove air using the DIY straw method. Wrap in foil before slinding into freezer bags for long term storage. This bread will thaw quickly at room temperature or you can thaw several slices at 50% microwave power.

Shoe box Sandwich Bread


  • 3 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup healthy oil {canola, olive or melted coconut}
  • 1  1/2 tablespoons yeast {I purchase in bulk at Sams}
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt {do not use regular}
  • 7 cups white whole wheat flour*{We love King Arthur before I started grinding my own}



Mix the all the ingredients together in a shoe box until well combined without any dry patches. *Scooping flour into a measuring spoon and then sweeping off the excess ensures the correct amount of flour. Place lid on top and allow to rise for two hours on the counter or in the microwave in cooler weather. Prepare for baking or refrigerate until ready to use {up to 5 days}. Liberally flour entire surface and divide dough into three equal portions. Shape into logs and drop into three buttered loaf pans. Let fresh dough sit for thirty minutes and refrigerated dough sit for 1 1/2 hours {dough needs to be room temperature} before baking. Bake at 350 degrees for about forty-five minutes. The loaf should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Let stand for 10 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing and freezing.

Now you know my secret to having homemade sandwich bread at all times for our family of six. It’s this ridiculously easy recipe that makes three loaves and my trusty freezer. I know most of us would love to have hot fresh baked bread right out of the oven, but it’s a whole lot easier for me to make all three or *six {double recipe} loaves at one time to save time, money and energy.

*I just bought another loaf pan for .50 at a garage sale this weekend. I need one more loaf pan for a double recipe.


What’s stopping you from making homemade sandwich bread?


22 thoughts on “Shoe Box Sandwich Bread Tutorial {Freezer style}

  1. Jill

    Thanks for sharing this tutorial! I’ve been wanting to try making our own bread, and this looks easier than many of the other recipes I have seen!

    1. admin

      Yay, we’re having this series every week for a while or till I’ve exhaused my ideas. Pizza crust and crazy bread tomorrow.

  2. Kathy

    I have Fleishman’s Instant Dry Yeast that I bought from Sam’s it came in 2 (1lb) vacuum sealed packages. Is this the same yeast you have? I am worried that it is not the same as regular dry yeast. The only directions say to mix with flour and then proceed with your recipe.

  3. Renee

    Hey Jackie, I made this bread yesterday and it didn’t rise very much. I didn’t use the whole whrat white flour, I used some bread flour that I had on hand, would that cause it not to rise? My yeast was good, I followed all your directions. Have you ever had this happen? Thanks. Love your blog and you are such an inspiration!

    1. admin

      Was it made room temperature right after rising or refrigerated? It does need to rest about 15 minutes after you place it in the pans? Refrigerated dough takes a while to bring to room temp, 1 1/2 hours. Keep trying, it’s worth perfecting

      1. Renee

        I let it rise in the microwave, it was quite cool here yesterday for 2 hours, put it in the pans and let it rest for 15 minutes, then baked it. I am going to try it again with the whole wheat white flour. I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks!

  4. Kathy

    I hate to add a less than stellar review but I’ve made this recipe twice without success. I’m not new to baking bread. I weighed my flour and used a thermometer to be sure of my water temperature. I had a beautiful first rise (in 1 hour!) But I used 3 standard 9×5 bread pans and my 2nd rise was poor. I’ve made the original recipe with great success so I’ll keep trying. Some vital wheat gluten and a little honey may do the trick. They do have a sandwich bread recipe for whole wheat that I am going to try.(I’ll post the link if I can find it)

    God bless you and your ministry, keep up the good works

    PS LOVE your No Boil Manicotti recipe!!!!

    1. admin

      I used to use vital wheat gluten in the beginning and found that I didn’t have to use it and I started omitting because of cost. I’m sure it would help it rise higher, though. I used to use King Arthur white whole wheat flour and got the best rise, but now I grind my own white wheat berries. As far as the second rise, it doesn’t, it relies on the very hot oven to give it a good rise. I also like 1/4 cup honey in the mixture, but again, I was trying to keep it as simple as possible. I’m glad you’re getting better results with vwg. Yes, I’ve tried that bread recipe as well from the the artisan bread in five cookbook and it’s on their website as well. Thank you for your feedback, Kathy. Baking is tedious, that’s why I do like the shoe box method, but as you know weather plays a major role in the outcome.

      1. Kathy

        Jackie, thanks so much for your additional input. It is very helpful. I did go to B&N and looked at some of the additional info in the book.It may very well be the size of my pans vs. the amount of dough. I may get complete success if I just make 2 loaves with my pans.I really love this method of making bread because there are so many ways you can use the dough. (I did make a couple of sandwich thins with some leftover dough and they were great!)

  5. Rebecca

    I really like the shoebox idea — thanks! I’ve been keeping AB in 5 dough in my extra Kitchenaid bowl which takes up a lot of room in the fridge.

    Adding 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and subbing 2 cups milk for part of the water will transform this into English Muffin bread. Spoon the freshly mixed dough into three greased loaf pans dusted with cornmeal BEFORE rising, and bake 20-22 minutes at 400 instead of 40 at 350. Great for breakfast and makes the best grilled cheese ever

    1. admin

      Rebecca, I made the English muffin bread with your recipe today. I was assuming you meant keep all my ingredients the same and just add bs and milk. I noticed it didn’t rise that much above like my normal loaves, it was a square looking loaf, which I thought might have meant I allowed it to rise too long {it wasn’t long at at all due to humidity}. When I cooled and sliced it looked like muffins on the inside with nooks and crannies so I’m assuming I did it right. I’m going to try again, but I think it’s going to be fantastic toasted like you said. I made 3 loaves, thanks for sharing; I’ll try one more time and post the recipe. I looked at other recipes online but they were different ratios of flour, etc. I used all ww too!

  6. Kathy

    I tried this recipe and we all loved the taste, but I didn’t get a good rise in the bread. It was very dense. Any idea how I can get the bread to rise more?

    1. admin

      Make sure the dough is completely room tempearure, you can also give it a few kneads if it’s been in the fridge longer than a day. Also, vital wheat gluten can be added.

  7. Monique

    Hi, this bread looks delicious. I’m new to bread baking, could I use active dry yeast with this recipe? And how would I incorporate honey? Thanks for an easy recipe, can’t wait to try!

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