Bread Machine Master Butter Dough

5/5 – (5 votes)

In July of 2022, I bought my first bread machine. When I made that purchase, I also made the commitment to make my own bread from that point on. No more store-bought anything, not even hamburger buns. I had a few requirements though, no baking in the machine. The dough cycle was going to be the only setting I used. So far, I am happy to say that I have kept that promise to myself.

Part of me still wanted to get my hands in the dough and create recipes that turned this odd apparatus into a hands-free kitchen appliance. Sure, you can make dough in a stand mixer or by hand, but it’s not nearly as convenient. I still have to shape my dough at the end anyways, so I might as well take the route that allows me to shut a lit and walk away for an hour.

In my opinion, the bread machine is the easier option. SO much has been learned over the past year, with still more to be uncovered. I have tested, tested, and tested. In that process I have adapted my own little collection of recipes and this one is my Master Butter Dough.

I call it my master dough because it is THE all-purpose dough that I use for sandwich loaves, hamburger buns, slider buns, and more. Butter? Well that speaks for itself in the recipe. There is a fair bit of butter in here, but don’t worry it isn’t greasy or difficult to work with. It has always been the perfect consistency for rolling & shaping.

Not only is it inexpensive and easy to make, baking your own bread is always healthier than store-bought. No added ingredients that you can’t pronounce and the flavor can’t be beat. If you love a buttery, soft, white bread then definitely give this a try.

How do I mix it up? Try different “glazes” and toppings. You can sprinkle seeds, nuts, oats, or sugars to bake into the crust. The possibilities are endless, just get creative. Use what you have or get inspired and try to recreate some of your favorite breads with different add ins into the dough such as cheddar cheese & jalapenos.

If I can commit to steering clear of the bread aisle for this long, you can too. It really is easy with just a few basic recipes. And if you are looking for more savory ways to put that dough cycle to good use, check out my French Bread, Potato Bread, and Flatbread recipes.

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What You’ll Need:

2-pound Bread Machine- This makes a large amount of dough, about 950 grams give or take, so a 2-pound machine is a must even though we aren’t baking in it.

Whole Milk- I have only tested with whole milk, I cannot speak on how other milks will perform. Any other cow’s milk should work just fine, the fat content will be a little less but the results should all be similar. Plant milks can impart a particular flavor and the texture might be very different. Experiment if you like.

Flour- I have tested this recipe with both bread flour and all-purpose. Both work beautifully with no noticeable differences. Final weights can vary depending on environment, the type of flour used, and method of measuring.

Egg– Not a lot, just one large egg is all you need for the recipe. Keep an extra one handy if you want to glaze it with an egg wash and add seeds. I haven’t tested any substitutions here, but a large egg weighs about 50 grams. If you have any successful experiments, be sure to let me know!

Butter- Use the real deal and go for unsalted. Margarine is not recommended. I add butter last and make sure it is very soft, but not melted. If all you have is salted butter, just reduce the salt in the recipe by 1/2 teaspoon.

NOTE: If using salted butter, be sure to keep the butter separate from the yeast when adding it into the bread machine pan.

Honey- It counts for part of the liquid in this recipe, the bread isn’t sweet but the sugar helps the yeast.

Table Salt– Use a plain table salt, it has many good purposes for the development of the bread dough and it also contributes to the flavor.

Instant aka Bread Machine Yeast- I buy mine in bulk and store it in the freezer. There is so much bread baking in my kitchen that I go through it like water. It hasn’t had the chance to go bad on me yet. But if you are unsure, give it a test first. Better to be safe than sorry, no one wants to waste good baking ingredients.

Digital Scale- This is my most valuable tool when making bread. Measuring by weight has become my preferred method when baking ever since I bought a scale. It’s easier once you get the hang of it and gives me the most consistent results. If you are measuring by volume be sure to spoon your flour into your measuring cup and level it off with a butter knife. When measuring liquids use cups made for liquids.

Keep in mind that if you have a lot of inconsistent results, that a simple scale will help quite a bit. Even with weather and temperature changes, it is not often that I have to make adjustments to a dough that is too wet or too dry. Metric measurements are provided in the recipe cards.

Small Silicone Spatula- These are used every time I check my dough for too wet or too dry during the first mix. It helps me to pull down any ingredients stuck to the sides of the bread pan so it will incorporate into the dough ball. Bread machine pans are non-stick and will scratch, so using something soft also prevents any damage.

Dough Scraper- These are so handy to have around for shaping breads. They are perfect for dividing the dough into portions depending on what you are making.

Silicone Pastry Mat- It’s so easy to roll and shape my dough for any kind of bread making on a silicone counter mat. It gives me a nice surface area to flour, shape, and create. My doughs tend to stick less, and if I do have to flour the counter it is SO much easier to clean up. I just take it to the sink and rinse it off or wipe clean with a few paper towels. It’s not a necessity, but it is helpful.

Baking Sheets, Loaf Pans, or Baking Pans- This depends on what you are making with the dough. I will list out the variations I have tried below (to be updated as I keep experimenting). Note: if you are using darker non-stick bakeware then you may need to reduce the baking time and the oven temperature to 325 F.

Silicone Baking Mats or Parchment- I have been using silicone mats to cut down on my waste in the kitchen and I LOVE them. Because I bake so much, I was using far too much parchment paper. Definitely line your baking sheet if baking hamburger buns for even cooking and quicker clean up.

Digital Thermometer- Not sure when your bread is done? Use an instant read thermometer. The cooked internal temperature of this bread is 190-200 F.

Cooling Racks No matter if you are baking loaves, rolls, or buns… remove them from the pans and let them cool on a rack so they don’t get soggy. The only time you won’t use a cooling rack is when you are making sweet rolls of any kind that have icing and are served hot.

Pastry Brush- If you will be wanting to glaze your breads and add toppings, a pastry brush will be needed to “paint” it on after the final rise and before baking.

Dough Cycle & Baking Tips

The temperature of the ingredients matter. I always at least make sure that everything is room temperature. If the milk is cold out the fridge or your kitchen is particularly cold, you can microwave it for 30-40 seconds to get the chill off. It should be no warmer than 110F or you can damage the yeast. This is yet another great reason to have a digital thermometer.

Some bread machines offer a pre-heat setting that delays the start of the cycle to bring everything to the correct temperature. If you have one of those, then you can skip the room temperature step.

Make sure the yeast you use is fresh. I use bread machine yeast aka instant yeast. I never buy the small packets because measurements vary by recipe and I use enough of it on a weekly basis that it is not cost effective. My preference is to purchase it in bulk and store in the freezer in an air-tight container. As soon as the package is opened, at least store it in the refrigerator.

If you are unsure if your yeast is fresh & alive, I recommend testing it. To test my yeast I measure about a cup of lukewarm water into a glass and add 1 teaspoon of plain white sugar and 1 teaspoon of yeast. Give it a stir and let it sit on the counter. Within a few minutes it should start to activate and foam. If by 5-10 minutes the yeast is not reacting, then it is a sign that you will need new yeast.

Know the order to place your ingredients. I write my recipes for bread in the order they go into the pan of my machines. I have several and they all work well adding wet then dry, but always check the manufacturer’s instructions.

Measure ingredients into a bread pan that has been removed from the machine. Spills happen and it’s best to keep flour and liquids away from the heating elements and the mechanical parts. Also make sure the paddle is inserted before adding ingredients.

Make sure your machine is in a secure location where it cannot fall off the counter when left unattended. Though this has not happened to me, I have heard of it happening. Bread machines do move quite a bit during the mixing and kneading parts of the cycle. It’s best to keep it in a spot where it can’t take a “walk” off of your counter while you are letting it do the hard work for you.

Check your dough for too wet or too dry within the first 5 minutes and make adjustments accordingly. This part is so simple, but also very important. When the machine starts mixing there will be ingredients sitting on the side of the pan that need a gentle scrape down with a silicone spatula. This helps you gauge whether or not your dough is too wet or too dry by making sure that everything you have already added gets incorporated before making any possible modifications.

Adjustments can be part of the process sometimes, don’t be discouraged. No matter how you measure or how great the recipe, there are variables such as weather and temperature that can change how the dough ball forms. On rare occasions, you may need to make minor adjustments such as adding a tablespoon or two of flour or liquid.

I find that if I bake on rainy days that my dough may be a little on the wet side. Other than that, using a digital scale to measure helps keep my results fairly consistent. Just keep your flour and milk handy just incase, it’s that simple.

Using a timer is helpful. Because bread machines are mostly hands-free, using a timer helps to remind you when the cycle has ended so you can remove and shape the dough. It is also helpful when checking the dough ball in the first 5 minutes for adjustments and of course rising and baking. No need to purchase anything special. I just use my phone or the timer function on an oven or microwave will also work.

Altitude can greatly affect the outcome of anything baked. If you live in a high-altitude area, I am sure you are familiar. I can’t give advice from experience, but make adjustments that work best for you.

Set a timer for the finishing time. The bread machine is pretty much set it and forget it after the first 5 minutes. It’s a great time to walk away and do other things. Because of that, I highly recommend setting a timer so the dough isn’t accidentally forgotten in the machine. A few minutes shouldn’t affect it, but more than that and it could end up over-proofed.

Dough still a little too sticky? Lightly flour your surface and your hands. Knead in a little bit of flour as you “knock” out the air bubbles. This should only take a minute or so.

Ovens vary, keep an eye on your bread for doneness. What works for others may be different for you. If your bread isn’t cooked through but is browning more than you like, just cover with foil for a lighter crust. And always bake on the middle rack. Rotating half way through the cooking time also helps to give you an even color on top.

Cooling your sandwich bread before slicing is very important. If you cut into it too soon because you can’t resist, it will lose it’s shape and releasing the steam will definitely dry it out much faster.

Once cooled, store it in air-tight zipper bags on the counter for 2 days or in the fridge for up to a week. If I make extra, I will freeze it for no more than 3 months.

Overall, the best advice I can give if you are new to the bread machine or bread making in general is to practice. The more you do it, the more you learn and get familiar with your environment and machine. This bread recipe can be a great place to start by making loaves, hamburger buns, dinner rolls, cinnamon raisin bread, and more.

Variation Ideas

Loaves- Weigh your dough after you have removed it from the machine and “knocked” out the air bubbles by kneading it a few times. Divide that number in half, cut the dough accordingly and shape into loaves. Place into your greased 9 x 5″ pans and bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes.

This bread is amazing for my “Fancy Grilled Cheese” or Lemon Herb Salmon Salad

Sliders aka Dinner Rolls- Divide the dough into 18 EVEN pieces about 45-55 grams each depending on how much your final dough weighs. Using the scale is VERY helpful for this.

Roll into ball as shown in pictures and make sure the bottoms are pinched closed. Space evenly apart into 2 greased 7 x 7″ pans (9 rolls per pan). Cover, rise, and bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes. TIP: When you are dividing and shaping rolls or buns, keep the dough you are working with AND the rolls you have shaped covered with a lint free cloth to prevent drying out.

I love to make Cuban Style Sliders with these using my pork recipe. They are amazing, when baking the crust becomes the perfect texture without using a press. NOTE: Recipes for sliders typically call for 12 rolls. I leave one pan of (9) rolls intact, then break off a row of 3 from the other pan giving me 12 total rolls. It fits perfectly into a 9 x 13″ pan for sliders. The remaining 6 rolls are perfect to freeze for another meal. They go great with soups or chili.

Hamburger Buns- Divide the dough into 10 EVEN pieces about 95-105 grams each. Again, this will vary depending on the total weight of your finished dough.

Roll into ball as shown in pictures above and make sure the bottoms are pinched closed so they don’t open during the rise & bake. Press the ball flat a little bit so it has a wider bun shape.

Space evenly apart onto lined sheet pans. Cover and rise for about 35-45 minutes. I like to do an egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds or everything but the bagel seasoning. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes.

We enjoy these for more than hamburgers. They make great breakfast sandwiches and are perfect for Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork.

Cinnamon Bread- Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract to the wet ingredients and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to the dry. If you would also like it be a touch sweeter, add 1 tablespoon of white sugar. To add raisins, wait until the machine beeps for ‘add ins’ if you have that feature. Mine does not so I add 1 cup of raisins at the last 5 minutes of my mixing cycle.

Prepare as normal. I like to brush water over the loaves just before baking for a nicely browned crust.

Jalapeno Cheddar Bread- Add 1 cup/110 g. shredded cheddar cheese when there is 10 minutes left of mixing in the first part of the cycle. Then add 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapenos, drained at the last 5 minutes. Make 2 loaves or hamburger buns. This even makes GREAT dinner rolls.

If you are familiar with shaping bread, you can also make hot dog buns, clover rolls.

Long Loaf Pans

We make a lot of sandwiches in our house so I bought myself some long loaf pans (12 x 4.5″) that make the perfect sandwich slices and give me more of them. I love the slices I get from it because the pan is more narrow. I found that a softer dough didn’t hold up as well when I took the bread out of the pan. It caved in a little bit at the sides and gave me very misshapen slices. To solve this, I swapped the honey for sugar and bake it an extra 5 minutes or so.

Here’s an adaptation of Butter Dough that works perfectly in these pans:

  • 1 cup – 240-245 g. whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 4 cups – 500 g. all-purpose or bread flour
  • 3 T. – 38 g. white sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. – 9 g. table salt
  • 1 1/2 t. – 6 g. instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup – 57 g. unsalted butter, softened

Place in your bread machine pan as written above or according to manufacturer’s instructions. Note that the butter is last. I quickly cut it into smaller pieces and dot it on top of the dry ingredients.

Select the dough cycle. Roll out the dough into a rectangle about the length of the bread pan and roll up like a jelly roll to shape into a “log” and place into the greased 12 x 4.5 x 3″ loaf pan. Let rise in a warm, draft free place for about 45 minutes.

Glaze with an egg wash if you would like a shiny finish or want to add seeds.

Bake at 350 F on the middle rack for 15 minutes, turn so the other side can brown and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes. The internal temperature should be 200 F.

Cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack for a few hours before slicing.

Glazes & Toppings:

Whole Egg Wash- One beaten egg will give you a nice golden, shiny crust. Perfect for helping seeds stick.

Egg White- A beaten egg white gives a nice glossy crust, again perfect for holding toppings.

Egg Yolk- An egg yolk will make the crust a brighter color. Leave it as is or add your favorites.

Milk- It is not shiny at all but the sugars in milk help with even browning. This will not help anything stick to the crust.

Butter- Again, is very similar to the milk. It aids in the browning of the crust.

Water- Makes the crust nice and even but also a little bit softer.

Sesame Seeds

Poppy Seeds

Everything the Bagel Seasoning


Flour or Potato Starch- Use a sieve to lightly sprinkle a dusting over the bread just before going in the oven for a rustic look.

Cinnamon & Sugar- I don’t typically add a glaze when using cinnamon sugar as a topping because I don’t want the sugar to melt. I want the crust to have a nice crunch. Keep an eye that it does not burn, use foil to cover during baking if you need to.

If you try this bread or any of my other recipes tag me on Instagram @joymakersandco, I’d love to see what you make!

Bread Machine Master Butter Dough

This delicious buttery, white bread dough is PERFECT for making sandwich loaves, slider buns, hamburger buns and more.
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Servings 18
Calories 125 kcal


  • 1 Digital Gram Scale
  • 1 Small Silicone Spatula
  • Bread Pans or Baking Sheets of your choice


  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 4 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

Glazes: Pick one

  • whole egg
  • egg white
  • milk
  • butter
  • water

Toppings: Pick one

  • sesame seeds
  • poppy seeds
  • everything but the bagel seasoning
  • oats
  • cinnamon & sugar


  • Remove the pan from your bread machine and make sure paddle is inserted. Add ingredients in the order they are written (wet to dry). As recommended by manufacturer's directions. After adding the flour, make 2 wells. One for the salt and one for the yeast. This keeps them separate until you start the machine.
    NOTE: The butter is added last. I "dot" small pieces over the dry ingredients. As with any bread machine recipe, if your machine is not wet to dry, follow manufacturer's directions for your specific appliance.
  • Start the dough cycle. Set a timer for 3 minutes. Have your flour and milk handy just incase adjustments are needed. After the 3 minutes is up, check the dough for too wet or too dry.
    Use the small silicone spatula to help ingredients stuck to the sides.
    If it's too wet add a little flour as needed (about a tablespoon at a time).
    If too dry add a little milk as needed. If you do make adjustments be sure to give it another minute or so to incorporate before adding more. Initial mixing cycles usually run for about 10-15 minutes so you have time.
    The dough should just be slightly tacky but not sticky. There should not be any puddles under the paddle nor should the paddle be struggling with dry dough. It will stick to the sides and release as it kneads.
  • When it looks good, shut the lid, set a timer for remainder of cycle so the dough does not over proof, and let the machine do the rest of the work for you.
  • At the end of the cycle, remove the dough from the machine and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Gently knock out the air pockets by kneading a few times. Roughly shape into a ball and weigh.
    NOTE: If you find that the dough is stickier to work with than you prefer, just sprinkle a little bit of flour on top and knead it in for a minute as you knock out those air bubbles.
  • Grease or line the pan(s) you are using. (See above for tips, tricks, and variations.) Divide the total weight by 2 for two-9×5" loaves, by 18 for sliders or dinner rolls in two-7×7" pans, by 10 for hamburger buns.
  • Let shaped dough rise in warm (80F) and draft free place for 45 minutes.
    Pre-heat the oven to 350F and glaze/top bread if you wish.
    Bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes, rotate pans for even baking and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes. The internal temperature should be 190-200F when done.
    Let rest in the pans for 10 minutes then remove and transfer to a cooling rack.


Preparation and Cooking times have only been listed as the average machine operating time and cooking times. 
Nutritional values are estimates only. 
See the above article for variations, ideas, and tips& tricks on ways to use this all-purpose dough.


Calories: 125kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 5gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.3gTrans Fat: 0.001gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 205mgPotassium: 69mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 43IUVitamin C: 0.02mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 0.3mg
Keyword 2 pound bread machine, all-purpose dough, basic bread recipe, bread machine, bread maker, butter bread, cinnamon raisin bread, dough cycle, hamburger buns, hot dog buns, master dough, morning buns, sandwich bread, simple bread recipe, slider buns, soft bread, white bread
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!



6 responses to “Bread Machine Master Butter Dough”

  1. […] Buns- Our favorite is buns are made with my Master Butter Dough. Out of this world delicious. So good that even the pickiest eaters in our family ask for seconds […]

  2. […] that sometimes I need easy and sometimes I need to make something next level delicious, so I use my Master Butter Dough to make slider buns. It’s not as hard as it seems and it’s worth it. The main reason? […]

  3. I bought a bread machine a couple of months ago and I appreciate this great post filled with wonderful instructions.

    1. I’m so glad you found it helpful Bernadette. Bread machines are wonderful to have around. I hope you are enjoying putting yours to good use ☺️

  4. […] Toppings- Fresh Cilantro, Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese, Crushed Tortilla Chips, Avocado, Limes. Want something other than cornbread on the side? Try my French Bread, Potato Bread or dinner rolls made with my Master Butter Dough. […]

  5. […] Cinnamon Raisin Bread- You will need a pound of cinnamon raisin bread, cubed into bite sized pieces. I used a homemade version using my Bread Machine Master Butter Dough, check out the recipe here. […]

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