Easy Basic Bread Making for Beginners

Bread making is a skill that is often absent from our general American culture. This is sad. No one should miss the experience of biting into a  slice of too-warm bread slathered in butter, because you couldn’t wait till it cooled. Or maybe a couple pieces. It’s best when it first comes fresh out of the oven, so why wait till later? Today, I have basic bread making broken down for those who may never have made bread before. Don’t be afraid of working with yeast. You can do it!

*This post contains affiliate links.  I may receive compensation if you choose to click on these links. See full Disclosures/Policies.

The recipe I use is adapted from a cookbook called Simply Delicious. Very fitting, as this is just a very basic bread making recipe. But it is totally delicious. I have taken a loaf of it to my workplace, and had it appreciatively eaten with cinnamon butter. A co-worker then requested my recipe. My family can quickly eat half or more of a loaf in one setting.

I don’t believe you need fancy equipment for basic bread making. I don’t use a bread machine, nor do I use the bread hook for my Kitchenaid mixer. A mixing bowl, large spoon, a measuring cup, measuring teaspoons, and three loaf pans are really all the items you should invest in. These items are available at just about any store. But here’s some Wilton bread loaf pans {affiliate link}, on Amazon that appear to be relatively  inexpensive. They also have a 5 star review.

To get started you will need to activate your yeast. The original recipe calls for using instant yeast. But I’ve never used that, so I just substitute regular active yeast. Remember this stuff should be refrigerated once opened. If you have a local bulk food store it may be cheaper to purchase a container there. I rarely get to the bulk food store in this area, so I often just buy mine at the local grocery store. It may be found in the regular baking aisle, or the cold section.  It seems kind of expensive for a little container, but it will last you for a while.

easy basic bread making for beginners

Now activating the yeast is probably a little tricky to a beginner, but it’s really not hard. I use a glass measuring cup, and heat my water in the microwave in that. For the 3 cups of water used in this recipe, about a minute in the microwave will bring it to the right temperature. I can tell by touch if my water is at the proper temperature for yeast. You should be able to comfortably put a finger in it without burning yourself. If it is too hot, you may kill your yeast. I believe the recommended temperature if tested by thermometer is at 110* Fahrenheit.

Once the water is appropriately warmed, I add it to a large glass mixing bowl. Then I add 2 tablespoons of the yeast. I also add the 1/2 cup sugar at this time. Yeast loves sugar, and it helps it activate. I mix these all together, and then let them sit for 10-15 minutes. When the yeast has done its thing, the solution in the bowl will look foamy and raised on top of the water.

easy basic bread making for beginners  easy basic bread making for beginners

At this point you are ready to add the rest of the ingredients. Pour in 2/3 cup of canola oil, and 1 tablespoon of salt. Also add 3 cups of whole wheat flour. Mix all this together with a spoon. Then we will start adding white all-purpose flour one cup at a time. The original recipe called for bread flour, but I never use that either. Between the whole wheat flour and white all-purpose flour, I ended up using about 7.5-8 cups total of flour.

easy basic bread making for beginners

Eventually while mixing the flour into the dough, you are going to have to get your hands messy. Bread dough should be kneaded and worked, and it can be done better by hand than with a spoon. My kids like to get involved in the hands-on part of basic bread making. “Can I punch the bread, Mommy?” my daughter likes to ask.  And totally adorable seeing my one year trying to punch it with his little hands. If you have kids they might enjoy helping too.

easy basic bread making for beginners

When the dough is nice and smooth, and not sticky anymore, it is time to allow to rise. This is an important step not to skip. And actually you are going to have to do this twice. I know, I know it’s hard to be patient, but it needs 45 minutes to an hour at least to double in size. And it will take longer if your house isn’t warm. I get a clean dish towel to cover mine with, and then allow it to sit.

easy basic bread baking for beginners  easy basic bread making for beginners

After the dough has risen, it is time to shape the loaves. First, spray the three loaf pans with a non-stick cooking spray. Next punch down the bread dough with your hands, and mix it well some more. You may have to add more flour if it seems sticky. Then I separate my dough into three fairly equal portions. One of my loaf pans is larger than the other three, so I can put a little more in that one if I want.

easy basic bread making for beginners

 

easy basic bread making for beginners  easy basic bread making for beginners

I flatten each portion of dough into a rectangular-shape, about 1/2 thick, and then roll it up from the short end. The top should be nice and smooth, and not too flour-y. I tuck the ends under a bit to pretty up the look of the loaf.

easy basic bread making for beginners  easy basic bread making for beginners

After each loaf has been shaped, place it into a loaf pan. I sometimes try to flatten the top of my loaves and spread them evenly in the pan. I prefer a flatter top and nice even shape. Occasionally some of your loaves may appear a bit mis-shapen after baking. It’s ok, with time and practice hopefully you can find a system for shaping them that works best for you. I am no expert at getting them to have a uniform perfect shape. It doesn’t affect the taste! But anyway, when you are satisfied with how they look in the pans, cover them back up for the second rising period. I often go ahead and start pre-heating my oven to 325* and set them on the stove top. But you may want to wait a little since it might take another hour to rise again to double in size.

Easy basic bread making for beginners

 

Easy basic bread making for beginners

As soon as the loaves have risen to your satisfaction, pop them into the pre-heated oven. They should bake at 325* for 20-30 minutes. It takes about 25 minutes in my oven. The tops of the loaves should be a nice golden brown, but not overly dark. The crust will feel somewhat hard if you tap it. I pull them out of the oven, and remove them from the loaf pans right away. Then I place them onto a wire cooling rack. If you don’t have a cooling rack, it should be fine to set them on some paper towels or something similar to cool.

Easy basic bread making for beginners

 

Easy basic bread making for beginners

You will also want to brush some butter on the top on them right away. A pastry brush{affiliate link} is nice for this task if you have one. I prefer the silicone type verus the actual bristle-type brushes. I think they are easier to clean.

Easy basic bread making for beginners

Now wait until the bread loaves have cooled before slicing. JUST KIDDING! Slice into one of those delicious loaves with a serrated knife ASAP, and smear it generously with butter immediately! This must be enjoyed while still hot from the oven! There’s nothing like it, and you will want more than one pieces. Invite your family to the kitchen and enjoy this delicious bread you made. If there is any left, you can freeze the extra loaves.

Easy basic bread making for beginners

 

Easy bread baking for beginners  Easy basic bread baking for beginners

 

*Recipe adapted from Simply Delicious cookbook, a collection of recipes by the High Family via Morris Press Cookbooks 2006.

 

You may find the following items helpful in your bread making adventures. They are also affiliate links.


Easy Basic Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 loaves
 
An easy basic bread recipe for beginners.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅔ cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour approximately
Instructions
  1. Heat water for 1 minute in microwave. Should be warm to touch or 110*F.
  2. Pour water into mixing bowl and add the yeast and sugar.
  3. Combine thoroughly.
  4. Allow 10-15 minutes for yeast to activate and become foamy.
  5. Add oil, salt, and the whole wheat flour. Mix with spoon.
  6. Gradually add all-purpose flour one cup at a time until dough is no longer sticky.
  7. Knead with hands while adding the last flour to mix well.
  8. Dough should form a smooth ball.
  9. Cover in large bowl and let rise for about an hour or doubled in size.
  10. Punch dough down and knead again. Separate into 3 equal pieces.
  11. Spray loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.
  12. Shape the pieces into 3 loaves and put into loaf pans.
  13. Cover the pans and allow to rise the second time.
  14. Place pans in oven pre-heated to 325*.
  15. Bake for 20-30 minutes until top of loaves is golden brown.
  16. Remove from pans and place on wire rack.
  17. Brush the tops of bread with butter while still warm.
Notes
*Recipe adapted from Simply Delicious Cookbook, a collection of recipes by the High Family via Morris Press Cookbooks 2006.

 

Char

I am married with three young children. My husband and I are both registered nurses. I like to try new ideas out, and will obsessively research whatever that latest idea is. We like to try different ways to decrease our living costs and save money. My husband is great at building/fixing/diy etc. and figuring out how to implement my new schemes.

54 thoughts on “Easy Basic Bread Making for Beginners

Share your thoughts.

763 Shares
Share11
Pin626
Tweet18
+16
Stumble99
Yum3