This sweet bread recipe makes a beautiful, soft, lightly sweetened and buttery bread loaf that’s delicious as a toast with your morning coffee or tea. Top it with some butter and jam and it’s as good as any cake or dessert! Lots of butter and egg yolks keep this bread recipe perfectly soft for a while. But, if you have leftovers they make amazing french toast or a french toast casserole. Anyways you slice it, it’s a winner!

If you love bread, make sure to also check out this brioche bread, easy no-knead bread and bread maker bread – all staple recipes that I use very frequently.

Sweet Bread Braid sprinkled with sesame seeds on a baking sheet.

If you’ve ever had Challah or brioche bread, this one is very similar. Warm out of the oven you’ll be fighting every fiber of your being not to eat the whole thing! You’ve been warned 

This recipe is also the same exact one I use when I make any kind of filled buns or pastries or rolls. One batch will give you about 16 good sized buns of your choice.

Things to make with this sweet yeast bread dough recipe:

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Proofed sweet bread dough in a glass bowl on a board with a tea towel around.

Sweet Bread Ingredients:

Scroll to the bottom for full printable recipe and instructions.

The basis for any good bread is good and unexpired yeast. I use active dry yeast or Platinum Superior Baking yeast. The later always produces better-baked goods with more of a rise without collapsing when out of the oven.

Also, anytime I make yeast goods I use Canadian flour. It is higher in gluten than regular American all-purpose flour which yields better results, especially in this sweet bread recipe. A good alternative for Canadian flour will be bread flour.

How to make Sweet Bread Recipe

  • Start by ensuring that your yeast is active by dissolving the yeast in milk and leaving it in a warm place for about 10-15 minutes. If the yeast has foamed up and risen slightly then you’re good to go. Otherwise, discard the yeast and do not start this yeast bread with the recipe until you have unexpired active yeast.
Step by step pictures of yeast and milk mixture before and after rising.

Make the dough

  • To a mixer bowl add the sifted flour, sugar, sour cream (pic 1), remaining milk and the risen yeast mixture (pic 2).
  • Knead on low speed using the hook attachment until the dough somewhat comes together (pic 3).
  • Then turn up the speed slightly and continue kneading until it becomes very stretchy and tacky to touch. Add the butter and salt (pic 4) and knead it into the dough. Sometimes, tearing the dough into chunks helps to incorporate the butter (pic 5).
  • The dough is well kneaded when you’re able to stretch a piece of the dough into a thin film/window without it tearing. This is called a “windowpane test” and it means that the gluten is well developed and will hold up the structure of the dough as yeast fills it with air bubbles.
Step by step pictures to making the sweet bread yeast dough recipe

Proof & Shape

  • Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel (pic 7) and allow to proof until doubled in size (pic 8).
  • Next, dust your work surface with flour (pic 9) and add the dough (pic 10).
    This recipe makes one large braid, if you wish to have smaller bread loaves divide the dough into two and braid 2 braids instead of one.Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces – this is best done by weighing the dough (pic 11). Shape each piece into a tight ball, then roll into a 20-inch rope ( pic 12).
  • Pinch the three ends together then shape a tight braid finishing by pinching the ends together again. Tuck both ends of the braid slightly underneath itself for better visual appeal.
  • Carefully transfer the braid to a baking sheet (pic 13) and leave in a warm, draft-free place to proof until doubled in size ( pic 14).
  • Then, brush with a beaten egg yolk and sprinkle liberally with sesame seeds (pic 15) or poppy seeds (optional).
Step by step pictures of the yeast dough rising, then being shaped into a braid.


  • Bake in a preheated to 350F oven for about 30-35 minutes or until the top is evenly golden brown in color. Another way to ensure that the sweet bread is baked through is to insert an instant-read thermometer into the middle. It should register 195F when the bread is ready.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before cutting or serving.
Sweet Bread Braid with sesame seeds sprinkled on top, fresh out of the oven on a baking sheet with a towel around.

How to store this bread loaf?

Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap or cut the sweet bread in half and store in a gallon-sized ziplock bag for up to a week. If not planning to eat within a day or two, it is best to freeze it after tightly wrapping the bread loaf.
To thaw, leave on the counter until completely thawed or microwave in 30-second intervals until it’s soft and no longer frozen. Or, place in a preheated to 350F oven for about 10 minutes for that fresh-out-of-the-oven taste.

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