Simple Bread Recipe

Simple Bread Recipe

Update: I posted this simple and delicious bread recipe a year ago, and since then many happy people have written to tell me that it really is simple and delicious. I am reposting it for all my new followers…and for all of those who didn’t believe me the first time around when I said it was simple and delicious. You know who you are! 

Many of you have asked me for a simple bread recipe that doesn’t “take all day.” Ask and you shall receive!


A Very Simple Bread Recipe from The Simple Homemaker

 

We don’t buy bread.  Ever.

We make it all by hand.  We make sourdough bread for its health benefits, or grind wheat for a hearty whole grain loaf.  We make rolls, pitas, tortillas, flat breads, and hamburger buns.  One of the hands down favorite breads we make is, fortunately, also one of the simplest.  (While it is not the healthiest bread we make, it far surpasses most grocery store breads for its simple lack of “stuff.”) In fact, this simple bread recipe is the first yeast bread recipe my children follow to make bread by themselves.

Simple Bread Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water, not hot or you will kill your yeasty friends
  • 2 teaspoons yeast—a packet contains 2.25 teaspoons–close enough.
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5-ish cups flour, all-purpose is fine unless you wish to alter it for health reasons

Instructions

  1. Mix the yeast into the water.
  2. Combine the salt with two or three cups of flour.
  3. Add the flour/salt duo to the water, stirring…or enlisting younger arms to stir for you.
  4. Add more flour and continue to stir until the dough holds together and is not wet.
  5. Dump the dough onto a clean, floured surface and knead. (If you don’t know how to knead bread dough, just fake it. This is very forgiving bread.) Add more flour as needed, but don’t overdo it. A little sticky is fine—too dry is not so fine.
  6. Knead until it is as smooth as a baby’s bottom. If you have no baby’s bottom at hand to compare it to, give it the stretch test. Hold the dough up to the light and stretch a portion of it. If you can see light through it before it breaks, congrats! You’re finished. If not, give it a little more tender lovin’ care. We knead this dough about ten minutes. (Sometimes we cheat and knead less. We’ve yet to be ostracized for our occasional laissez-faire kneading attitude.)
  7. Shape the bread into two or three Italian-shaped loaves or several mini-loaves. Do this by pressing the dough flat and folding it into thirds, or by rolling it up. Put the ugly seamed side down and tuck under the ends. Place the loaves on a lightly greased pan. Optionally, shape two shorter loaves and place them in greased loaf pans for “bread-shaped bread.” Grease the top (I like butter), and cover with plastic wrap or a flour sack towel. Set in a warm place to rise—the oven is too warm for rising and will kill your yeast, but the top of the refrigerator is just fine.
  8. Let those babies rise until about doubled in size, or until you get tired of waiting, whichever comes first. We wait anywhere from 30 minutes on a hungry, summer’s day to an hour and a half on an oops-did-we-forget-about-the-bread day. Normally, 45 minutes should do it.
  9. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. (My girls bake at 450 degrees, and I bake at 425 because I like the little time cushion for when (not if) I get distracted and wander somewhere that I can’t hear the oven timer. I won’t tell you whose bread my husband likes better.) Preheat for 20 minutes if you have baking stones in your oven.
  10. Slash the top of the loaves several times diagonally for that authentic, fresh-from-a-French-bakery look. Put the dough in the oven. (If you want to use baking stones, slide the loaves off the pans and onto the stones.) Spritz the interior of the oven with water. (This is optional, but gives the out-of-the-pan loaf a more tender crust. Some people have had trouble with stones and a few oven doors cracking from spritzing a very hot oven with cold water, so you may opt for a heavy duty pan with a couple cups of water set on another rack in the oven. Or skip it. Honestly, I skip it. We’re going for simple here. Some of my girls spritz the loaf and the sides of the oven.) Set the timer for roughly 12 to 15 minutes, although it may take up to 20 minutes or more, depending on the size of your loaves and whether or not they are in pans.
  11. Because all ovens, pans, doughs, and bakers are different, use this reliable test to see if your bread is done. Traditionally, cooks tap the bread; if it sounds hollow, it’s done. It always sounds hollow to me when I’m hungry and smelling fresh bread. Therefore, I take an instant read thermometer and insert it into the ugliest part of the bread where nobody will notice a hole. If the temp reads 190 to 210, it’s done.
  12. Remove, cool briefly, slice, eat. Personally, I believe bread is a means of transporting butter to the mouth, so I say load on the butter!

Wasn’t that simple?  And it didn’t take all day.

Printable Version

Tips and Trouble Shooting

If you have a stand mixer or a hand-held mixer with dough hooks, feel free to knead your bread with the dough hook instead of by hand.  Give it from four to seven minutes, usually on speed two, although you should check your manufacturer’s guidelines.  Seriously, you need to check.  Don’t ask me why I know.

If you are a stickler, you may let this dough rise twice.  We do that sometimes, shaping it after the first rise.  Honestly, though, we follow this simple bread recipe when we want a fast and simple butter transporter.  If we wanted to putz around with exact kneading and double rises and the like, we’d make something healthier.

Some people like to brush the top of the loaves with egg whites, water, or another “browner” before baking.  I prefer to brush mine with butter as soon as it comes out of the oven.  (I know—the butter thing is a little out of control.)

If your bread turns out flat, you may have let it rise too long. Punch it down, reshape and do over…but this time pay attention.

If your dough is not rising, your yeast may be old. Also, your dough may not be warm enough, a common problem in the winter. If this is a repeated problem, switch to fast acting yeast.

Simple Italian Bread RecipeYou may feel like you are adding a lot of flour. We usually end up using six cups per loaf. You can always add more, but you can’t take it out, so don’t dump it all in at once.

This simple bread is perfect spread thickly with garlic butter (a recipe for another day) alongside a big ol’ sloppy slab of lasagna.  (We’ll save the healthy eating posts for another day, as well.)

One last thing: if you are afraid of making bread, relax.  My eight-year-old has been making bread independently (not including the baking) for about a year, and she uses this simple bread recipe.

Here’s the boring printable version.

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups warm water, not hot or you will kill your yeasty friends
  • 2 teaspoons yeast—a packet contains 2.25 teaspoons--close enough.
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5-7 cups flour, all-purpose is fine unless you wish to alter it for health reasons
Instructions
  1. Mix the yeast into the water.
  2. Combine the salt with three cups of flour.
  3. Add the flour/salt duo to the water, stirring.
  4. Add more flour and continue to stir until the dough holds together and is not wet.
  5. Dump the dough onto a clean, floured surface and knead. Add more flour as needed.
  6. Knead until smooth, about ten minutes by hand or four minutes by stand mixer.
  7. Shape the bread into two or three Italian-shaped loaves or several mini-loaves. Do this by pressing the dough flat and folding it into thirds, or by rolling it up. Put the ugly seamed side down and tuck under the ends. Place the loaves on a lightly greased pan. Optionally, shape two shorter loaves and place them in greased loaf pans for “bread-shaped bread.” Grease the top (I like butter), and cover with plastic wrap or a flour sack towel. Set in a warm place to rise.
  8. Let rise until about doubled in size, 30-60 mintues, depending on the temperature of the room.
  9. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Preheat for 20 minutes if you have baking stones in your oven.
  10. Slash the top of the loaves several times diagonally for that authentic, fresh-from-a-French-bakery look. Put the dough in the oven. (If you want to use baking stones, slide the loaves off the pans and onto the stones.) Spritz the interior of the oven with water. (This is optional, but gives the out-of-the-pan loaf a more tender crust.) Set the timer for roughly 12 to 15 minutes, although it may take up to 20 minutes or more, depending on the size of your loaves and whether or not they are in pans.
  11. Because all ovens, pans, doughs, and bakers are different, use this reliable test to see if your bread is done. Traditionally, cooks tap the bread; if it sounds hollow, it’s done. A more reliable method is to insert an instant read thermometer into the bread. If the temp reads 190 to 210, it’s done.
  12. Remove, cool briefly, slice, eat. Personally, I believe bread is a means of transporting butter to the mouth, so I say load on the butter!

 

Bread was invented as a means of transporting butter to the mouth.

~The Simple Homemaker, raised on a farm in The Dairy State

This seems like an ideal time to share this link about the health benefits of butter.

So…go make bread, and let us know right here how this simple bread recipe turned out!

167 Replies to “Simple Bread Recipe”

  1. I’m going to try this bread – it looks delicious. But I would LOVE to have your recipe for hamburger buns. I’ve been looking high and low and trying different recipes but everything I try is basically just a roll recipe and that’s not what I’m looking for. Is the hamburger bun recipe on the site already?

    1. It is not on the site! It is at allrecipes.com and it’s called Belle’s Buns or Belle’s Hamburger Buns. It does work as a roll as well, but we’re very happy with them as hamburger buns. They are substantial and can hold up to all the goo my kiddos like to put on their burgers. 🙂

    1. Yes, this works in a bread machine. Add the ingredients according to your manufacturer’s directions (I’m big on manufacturer’s directions) and set it on the “French” or “dough” setting if you want the long loaves. Then pull it out and shape it after the first rise. If you want sandwich bread, let the bread machine handle it all. You will, of course, want to check the liquid/flour ratio a couple times during the first five minutes.

      Our version was originally adapted from a bread machine recipe. We like how bread (especially the crust) turns out when baked in an oven better, so haven’t touched our bread machine in a couple years, but it sure is handy to have the bread machine handle the mixing and kneading!

  2. I did it! I have finally served my family edible bread. Not just edible, but delicous! Thanks so much for a great post that encouraged me to try again. This is the new keeper

  3. As a bread lover, I really love this bread recipe. It’s makes the perfect texture…not too hard, not too soft. And the crust is nice a crispy. Yum Yum!

  4. Can you use a stoneware meatloaf pan for this bread? I’ve never made homemade bread before. I would love to try this!

    1. Hi Anabelle (love your name),

      I see no reason why you couldn’t use the stone pan, as long as it doesn’t have holes in it like the metal meatloaf pan inserts do.

      I believe you have to preheat the stone in the oven prior to inserting the bread into the pan. (That’s what we do wehn we bake on stone.) We use a metal pan for ours when we want a sandwich loaf, but I’d use a stone loaf pan if we had one. I also make sure my loaf is greased top and bottom before putting it in a pan.

      If the manufacturer offers instructions, that would be great. Otherwise, here is a post I found for you:

      http://www.livestrong.com/article/450497-how-to-bake-bread-in-stoneware/

      Good luck! Let me know how it goes! 🙂

  5. I love this recipe and have been making it daily now! Now I need to start treating it like bread and only eating it with a sandwich, etc, instead of grabbing it for a “go-to” snack… or I’ll start to resemble the loaves. The unshaped ones. 😉

  6. “crusty” old rancher here,tried for the first time ever(I am 56)
    came out wonderful! I actually ate 1/2 of it first sitting haha

  7. First of all, I love your personality. I was surfing for newbie breadmaker how to guides and found many. Yours however was super easy and enjoyable to read. The loaves were beautiful out of the oven and tasted even better. Thank you. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Kyla! 🙂 I’m happy you enjoyed the recipe and especially the bread. By the way, my kids call my personality “weird.” 😉

  8. I attempted to make this bread and it came out really bad. It was a hard, doughy, heavy mess after it baked. I followed the instructions to a T. Maybe my yeast was dead? It had sat for a good while. That’s the only thing that I can think of. D=

    1. Hi Kayla,

      Let’s see if we can troubleshoot your bread issue.

      1–If your dough rose, the yeast is working. It should rise to about double the original size before you bake it. If you bake it too soon, you will get what you described.

      2–Only add enough flour so that it is not sticky. If you dump all the flour in at the beginning, it may turn out to be too much. For some reason unknown to mere mortals like me, the amount you’ll need varies each time.

      3–If you knead it for too short a time, it will not have a great texture. Also if you knead it too long, it will be tough. It is especially easy to over-knead in a stand mixer–roughly 7 minutes max. By hand you can go anywhere from 10-20 minutes.

      4–The best way to know it is done and not doughy is to use a meat thermometer. The ideal is 190, since it will continue to bake for a short time after it is removed from the oven and thus reach the perfect 200-210 degrees.

      I hope some of these troubleshooting ideas help. I know how you feel. It’s very frustrating to work on bread, smell it baking, and not have a palatable end result. Don’t throw it away! It will make a great bread crumb if you pop it in a blender or food processor. Good luck next time, and sorry the first try didn’t work out for you.

  9. I tried this today. It was really tasty, however, it didn’t rise a whole lot–my pseudo-italian-style loaves came out rather flat. It did rise some, and it was really tasty, but not as big and puffed up as I would like.

    1. Hi Katie,

      It may be that with cold weather here you need a little more heat or time to help your dough rise. Sometimes we heat an oven to 175 and shut it off and leave the door open. Then we let the dough rise in there. It cannot be too warm or it will kill the yeast. Also, if your yeast is old, it won’t activate well. Also, different yeasts work at different speeds. Was yours double acting or quick? Finally, if the dough is not covered to rise, the outside gets crusty and prevents the dough from rising. Sometimes (I don’t know why) mine look like flat boats. Bah! But the rest of the time they’re beauties. One last thing. You can shape them between rolled up towels (not fuzzy ones) and then remove the towels and bake. (That’s too much work for me. Ha ha.) Good luck!

  10. I had the hardest time getting the dough right for this. Part of this was my own fault (I doubled the recipe before having had any experience with it) and I would like to blame the rest of it on the fact that it is cold and rainy. I kept adding and adding and adding flour to this to the point where I was worried I’d ruined it. It came out great. My loafs weren’t nice and tall like yours (except the one I put in the loaf pan) but they were nice and wide. Next time I will roll the dough instead of folding it. I will also be prepared to add a lot of flour to make it the right consistency.

    I am going to make this again and again. The bread is light and fluffy and delicious (with butter) and so good that my 21 month old daughter ate almost half a loaf by herself! This is a good recipe and I <3 it.

    1. The original from which we adapted ours turned this into two loaves. You may prefer that. Sometimes we will double it, but we’ve been making this for, oh, ten years, so it’s rather a do-it-in-your-sleep thing. I personally never double because it’s too hard for my old joints to knead. 😉 But my youngsters will double it. You are right about the flour. You have to keep adding until the texture is right. It’ll become second nature soon. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  11. Tried this recipe for the second time now and added olive oil and Rosemary.
    It turned out amazing. Used kitchen aid mixer which made it even easier. After
    Yeast was started and ready I added everything else immediately and the
    Dough hook took care of all the kneading in about six minutes on speed 2.

  12. Thanks! I appreciated both the recipe and the humor quite a bit. I am a true baking novice, but this turned out fantastically. The only problem is I’m having troubles not eating too much of it…

  13. This bread was really good. I am trying to make more things from scratch to save money. It was enjoyed by everyone, and I will be making it again.
    Thanks.

    1. I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it and that I could lend a hand on your frugal endeavors. It is definitely cheaper than store bread. Thanks for commenting!

  14. Well, I’ll be blowed. It works. This has to be the simplest, foolproof bread recipe ever. Even I didn’t mess it up (so really foolproof). I think I will brush with egg next time just for the colour, but totally tasty, it looked like bread, tasted like bread. It was bread. Even my husband was amazed. The bread machine may now be defunct as it takes 3,5 hours to get a loaf out, and with this method it was all done in 1,5 hours and I prefer the flavour. I am just printing this off to put in my (very small), ‘you can do them’ collection. Thank you so much!

    1. Joanna, I’m super happy it worked for you! My own bread machine has been gathering dust for years. 🙂 Thanks for letting me know it turned out for you.

  15. I hope to try this bread myself real soon but I’m extremely curious how big is this bread? Because I budget and I want to figure out how much to buy for about two weeks. Also this will be the first bread I have ever tried to bake so I hope this turns out great.

    1. Great question! The French loaf is a little shorter in length than those you find at grocery stores and Walmart near the checkout–hot and fresh. You can shape it into two loaves of French bread if you want, but we like it as one big French loaf. If you put it in a loaf pan, it will puff up into one large loaf. It really depends how you shape it, but I usually figure one large loaf. I hope it turns out great, too! 🙂

    2. Just found and made this recipe because I was jonesing for some bread (cats destroyed the paper with my go-to recipe and I never buy bread). Used maybe 5.5 cups of flour, and when finished baking, the loaf filled an entire dutch oven, to the top. This recipe made what would probably be the equivalent of two store-bought sandwich loaves.

      It’s humongous. It would have been even bigger if trying to slice the top hadn’t deflated the dough by about 1/4 of the pre-slice size. Won’t try that again any time soon. Must be a trick to it because my knife was really sharp, but it dragged rather than slicing.

      When I was punching down the dough for a second rise it was really sticky, so I tossed in a handful of (gmo-free) masa, which made the knead easier. Can’t taste the masa but I think it made the bread slightly chewier than it might have been. The crust is very crispy. Cooked it as a single loaf in a dutch oven at 425 for about 30mins.

      Thanks for a great recipe and blog!

      1. I never heard of anyone making this in a Dutch oven before. Very intriguing. 🙂

        The original recipe we derived ours from breaks it into two or three loaves. We sometimes do two, but mostly we shape it on a cookie sheet as one loaf. Once in a while we have the deflating problem, usually when we let it rise longer than normal or when we slice it immediately out of the oven, and sometimes for no discernible reason at all. Ah, the mysteries of bread! 😉

        I’d love to be a fly on the wall in your kitchen. It sounds like a great place to be! Thanks for sharing your experience.

    1. We have made it with whole wheat flour and with home-ground flour. I started by replacing part of the white with wheat until I found a combo my family liked, but I have also used completely wheat or home-ground. You will need to add more water. Just add little by little until the consistency feels right–not a dense brick. You might need to let it rise a little longer as well. I hope it works for you!

      I experiment, and have been known to come up with a brick now and then. In that case, I put it in the blender and use it as bread crumbs. 🙂

  16. What?! I JUST found your site and JUST decided to make this bread!! I feel so efficient! Thank you so much. This is my first edible loaf of bread! I feel like a legitimate homemaker now, lol!

    1. Sofi, you officially qualify as awesome! Way to JUMP ON THAT bread-making thing! Congratulations, homemaker! 😉 Welcome to the club.

      1. Thanks! I made more today and it came out even better! I think I did the kneading better. Gave a loaf to a neighbor this time because last time my husband and I ate it ALL! Lol. I also shared the link to your site on Facebook 🙂

  17. I made your bread exactly as instructed and while the loaves are MUCH more beautiful than my first attempt at bread a few days ago (learned a little about how much dough to put into a pan on that one!), the resulting taste & texture… Not comparable. These turned out chewy and way less flavorful.

    Granted, there are many factors that could be the cause; operator error no doubt playing a huge roll, but my other bread turned out uglier, but far better tasting.

    I believe the biggest problem was the knead time, I truly don’t believe I should have gone the whole 10 minutes…

    However, I will try this again, just to compare, and will gladly let you know the results. I am happy that it worked for others, it just did not for me… This attempt.

    Fare thee well. 🙂

    1. Hi Hotpaws,

      I’m not sure what happened. One thing to bear in mind, however, is that there are only four ingredients in this bread. If the bread flavor you are comparing to is a more traditional loaf-style bread with eggs, sugar, milk, etc., the flavors will not be the same at all. This is a simple French or Italian style bread which is best served with a sauce or garlic spread or loads and loads of my all-time favorite food, butter. 🙂

      Regarding the texture, every once in a while we will get a chewy crust. There are any number of reasons, including climate, moisture level of the dough, length of baking time. You will get a knack for what works best for your baking conditions. We get slightly different results in every oven we use.

      Here are a few more tips about chewy crust:

      http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/8259/chewy-crust

      Good luck! And thanks for letting me know your results.

  18. I baked this bread today and it was delicious! My husband and I thank you. Would you have an Irish Soda Bread recipe? I need one more slice of that wonderful bread, slathered, of course.

    1. Slathered, of course! Thanks for sharing your results!

      When I want to make Irish soda bread, I do a search at AllRecipes.com. I just use the one with the best reviews that fits my time frame. 🙂

  19. Is the cup measurement the same if I use the bread flour? Am gonna experiment tonight and let it rise overnight. I do hope my bread is a success this time round with this simple recipe.

    1. Yes, the measurement is the same for bread flour.

      If you let it rise that long, it will over-proof and smell/taste like alcohol. If you pop it (covered) in the refrigerator, it might be okay to leave overnight, but I’ve never tried this.

      Good luck! Let us know how it turns out!

  20. I just made this & I loved it! My kids are gobbling it up right now! I’ve been trying to find a recipe to convince my husband that we don’t need to buy bread. So far, the crusts have been the breakers because he likes thinner “store like” crusts. I tried your suggestion of putting a pan of water in the over & this is thin enough that I think he’ll love it! And who can argue with the delicious smell in this house right now?? I have an excuse not to clean because I don’t want to lose that!

    1. Thanks, Gracie. 🙂 We’ve botched it a few times, but we can botch anything. 😉 I’m really glad you like it.

  21. I have used this recipe a few times now and it’s been great! Definitely simple and more or less quick.
    I have to be honest though, to kick it up and “play” with the recipe I added an egg wash right before it goes in the oven and it makes the crust consistancy that much tender and soft 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your recipe!

    1. Thanks for the great comment and idea, Shona.

      I also love the nice golden crust you get from adding an egg wash. Unfortunately for me, I’m usually too lazy for the egg wash, and don’t want to add any extra steps or dishes. 😉 Milk or water washes are options for a different crust, both look and texture, but again. sometimes I’m too lazy…er…efficient.

      Thanks for sharing your great tip!

  22. That is a nice and simple recipe. I am going to make my first attempt at bread
    making with this one!! Before I start with it, I have a couple of queries.
    1. Do you use fresh yeast or active dry yeast?
    2. What is the size of the pan?

    1. I use dry because it is more readily available for me.

      I use a typical loaf pan if I make sandwich bread (I have two different sizes and both work just fine). Normally, however, I just shape it into French loaves and throw it onto a cookie sheet. The size of my loaf depends on the size of the sheets I have available, which depends on which ones have been confiscated for crafts or toys. In other words, it’s a very flexible recipe.

      Good luck!

  23. I used your recipe and I have to say I’d be hard pressed if I EVER buy another loaf in a store again. It was quick, simple and so filling.
    One thing to share… every loaf came out of the oven hard as a brick but as I am a consummate tester and all tasted divine. To keep the exposed ends from drying out I wrapped them in tinfoil which not only kept the loaf moist but softened the crust. Humidity I suppose…thank you so much fot the recipe. Tomorrow I’m going to try a cinnamon and raisin loaf. I’ll let you know. 🙂

    1. Strange that they would be hard as bricks. Hmmmm. Maybe try the water spritzing or the pan of water in the oven for a softer crust. OR lower the oven temp 25 degrees, maybe.

      Thanks for the tinfoil tip!

  24. Wow, Thank You!

    We just moved to a new home and had both families over for dinner. Made this bread and it was a hit!

    I needed the oven to do the chicken, and the bread sat out quite a bit before I was able to cook it. I was worried, but it came out wonderful.

  25. This was my first attempt at making bread (I have been intimidated at the thought of it for many years), and I am so excited with the results! I was unsure about the amount of flour (my dough seemed a little tough, but I had nothing with which to compare it), and I was convinced that my bread would be botched after I had left it to rise (which it did just fine). However, it turned out to be delicious! I hope that it is the beginning of a new skill for me and for my children!

    1. Congratulations! 🙂 Now that you’ve mastered your first loaf of bread, there is no turning back. Enjoy!

  26. I actually dared to attempt baking bread this morning after finding your wonderful recipe! It came put perrrfeeect! Not as beautiful as yours, though. My boyfriend will love this when he gets home. (He is English and thinks our preservative laden supermarket bread is terrible). Thank you!

  27. Got it right on the first try and the family loves it. Make sure for those who are baking bread the first time to proof your yeast first. Good work on sharing this recipe.

    1. I’m glad it turned out for you! 🙂

      Thank you for the proofing reminder. We are yeast rebels and do not proof our yeast, since traditionally proofing is done to test if the yeast is still active. It is not, in my experience and research, an essential step if you know your yeast is active. We go through yeast so fast, it doesn’t have time to “burn out.” In this quick, simple recipe, we skip that step.

      BUT, if you people are having trouble with the rising of your bread, definitely proof your yeast and make sure that is not the culprit! Thanks for the reminder, Clarence!

  28. So disappointed, it raised beautifully, I have a solarium and it is about 70ist out here today. Put it there, but left it there for about 2 hours, brought into house & cut the slits in & it fell. Almost done baking and it didn’t puff back up

    1. I love it when people have difficulties I can solve simply! 🙂 I am sorry you lost your loaf. 🙁

      This is a classic case of over-rising. (Don’t feel badly; we’ve all been there!) That baby should have been ready to bake in about 45 minutes. The rising process fills the dough with little air bubbles. Yours was too airy from too much rising (and probably a little inebriated from the resulting alcohol that fermenting yeast creates–wheeee), so when you cut into it, it deflated like a balloon. Give it another go and only let it rise for about 45 minutes on a warm day. Good luck!

      From Step 8:

      “We wait anywhere from 30 minutes on a hungry, summer’s day to an hour and a half on an oops-did-we-forget-about-the-bread day. Normally, 45 minutes should do it.”

      Thanks for sharing your experience. Don’t give up; it sounds like you did everything else perfectly. I hope the next go-around gives you hot, delicious bread! 🙂

  29. I cannot rave about this recipe enough. I have made it several times, at first when I was barely learning to make bread. Though I’ve moved on and can make recipes with more complex ingredients, I always go back to this one when I want something easy/fast. It’s very adaptable. You can make it with whole wheat flour or a mix. You can add spices and all kinds of goodies- I made it with rosemary and parmesan cheese that was to die for. It bakes up nice and crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. I just love, love, love it. Thank you so much!

      1. Thank you for the simple bread receipt. Bread came out good I am happy this was my second time baking bread. First time I made a loaf of bread I cried. Thanks again for your simple bread receipt. Marlene Ramos from NYC upper westside

  30. Hi, Since food prices are really increasing in Canada and a loaf of bread average 3-4 dollars (thats industry made or bakery made) I’m looking into making it myself. My question is:

    Above you wrote: If your dough is not rising, your yeast may be old. Also, your dough may not be warm enough, a common problem in the winter. If this is a repeated problem, switch to fast acting yeast.

    What is fast acting yeast compared to regular yeast? or another kind of yeast? And what does it have to do with the dough not being warm enough?

    1. Great questions!

      Fast-acting yeast simply ferments faster because it is ground more finely and absorbs moisture more quickly. Fermentation is the action you want to create the bubbles which cause the dough to rise.

      Fast-acting yeast is also called rapid rise, quick, bread machine, fast-rising, or instant yeast.

      For proper fermentation, the yeast needs to be warm. That is why things don’t ferment as quickly in the refrigerator. I’ve read that the ideal temps for dough to rise are between 76 and 81, but I’m never that scientific in the kitchen. I just find a warm place to let the molecules get busy fermenting.

      Sometimes I preheat the oven for a minute or two until it’s warm (but not hot, since that will start the baking process), shut the oven off, and let the dough rise in the oven with the door open. Sometimes I put it on top of the refrigerator or in the sun on a table or counter. It can even be done in a large dehydrator set at a low temp.

      The switch to fast-acting yeast in the quote you mentioned had nothing to do with the temperature of the bread. I believe I said that because the person who commented was not seeing rising action fast enough. She could either switch yeasts, raise the temperature, or both for a faster rise. If it’s too cold, however, the rise will be very slow.

      Thanks for the questions! I hope your bread turns out fantastic!

  31. Hi, I am looking for a simple bread recipe I can do quickly with kids at school. However, I meet with them around 1:30 and by the time it sits out and they get it home, it would definitely be over 45 minutes… could they sit it out for a few hours, then place it in the fridge when they get home for awhile and then let it sit out again before baking or anything like that to prevent over-rising? Thanks!

      1. It can rise anywhere, as long as there is enough room for it to double in size. However, it will lose it’s shape and have to rise again after being removed from the baggie. I’m pretty sure that kids with a bag full of dough will treat it like silly putty. It could get overworked and might become sticky and hard to get out of the bag. Still, with a little oil inside the bag and instructions to leave it alone unless it starts getting too big and needs to be punched down, it should work…I hope. 😉 It sounds like this project needs a test run. Ha ha.

    1. I would say that you could do this, but there is a danger of over-proofing. If, however, you punch the dough down and let it start over, this should help. Also, don’t use a rapid rise or bread machine yeast. Stick with a traditional yeast for a slower rise. Keeping them in a cool place will slow the rising/fermenting process as well.

      If it’s left too long before baking it will get that alcohol smell from the fermentation developing alcohol as a side product. If the kids bake it as soon as they get home, that would help. I’ve popped unrisen dough in the freezer before and let it rise after thawing. I’ve done it the other way around, too, and frozen already risen dough. It wasn’t as successful, but it still works.

      I hope it works for you!

  32. First time visitor to your site. I was looking for an easy recipe for kneaded bread and this was perfect. Tasted great and was super easy, I’ve unfortunately had several major bread fails. Also a very enjoyable, and quirky read. Thanks:)

  33. Hi Christy! I’m an aspiring baker and I’ve been scanning the internet for simple, easy bread recipes for quite some time now. I’m really excited to try this one, as I prefer fresh bread to store bought. I also adore your writing style. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  34. Hello Christy,
    I found your site here when I searched for easy simple bread recipes. My wife has decided that we are going to do what we have always wanted to do and that is to make things at home to keep from buying crap from the stores. When I read your recipe I decided that this is the one we should try. It looks easy and your personality is a hoot. So, we will be trying it today or tomorrow, not sure on the wife’s schedule yet, when it does I will be sure to come back and tell you how it went. Until then I am on to look at more of your site here.

      1. It was a great plan and great results. Unfortunately I think I need to add some blocks to our nightly walks. She has been making some delicious loaves. Our son in law ate an entire half a loaf before he got around to giving a piece to our daughter lol… Thank you for your easy recipe. My wife never thought she would be able to make bread like this. Now we can have it anytime.

        1. Ha ha! Add the blocks, then, but keep enjoying that bread. 😉 I’m glad it turned out for you. Have a fantastic 2014!

  35. I came across this recipe searching for basic bread recipes. I made it yesterday and it came out perfect! I made a loaf in a loaf pan and also a baguette that I turned into garlic bread. Both came out perfect and delicious. Thank you for this great recipe!

  36. I am known for my capacity to fail at baking with yeast, but not too long ago I found a bread recipe that I could make in a Dutch oven. Jackpot! My family loves it and I’ve made it successfully several times. However, it takes a loooooong time to make and I wanted a faster option. A quick Swagbucks search brought me to this post and my kids are shocked that there are now two loves of delicious bread on our kitchen table. Thanks for an easy recipe! I’m slowly working up the courage to branch out to other kinds of bread. 🙂

  37. I have searched high and low for a bread recipe to match my Nan’s. This one has hit the spot! I love a good dense “meaty” bread that you can sink your teeth into. Thanks so much for posting this!! Will be enjoying this tonight with my husbands amazing chilli……if it lasts that long 🙂

    1. You just made me hungry for your husband’s amazing chili! 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I’m super happy it turned out for you.

  38. I found this last night and just made it. It was very good even though mine was a bit dense, I should have used your oven method for rising since it’s pretty cold here and obviously I didn’t find a warm enough spot.

    I used a flavored butter to top it when it finished and don’t think it will last long around here.

    Thank you 🙂

    1. We’ve had the same problem when it’s cold. In the summer, it rises too fast and threatens to eat the kitchen. 😉

      Enjoy!

    2. Our house is really cool in the winter and I could never get dough to rise. A friend suggested putting my dough in the oven with the oven light on. Success! That little light puts out just enough heat to let the dough rise. Maybe you could try it out. 🙂

  39. I just wanted to let you know that the only reason I’m trying this recipe today (besides the desire for fresh-baked bread to go with tonight’s soup) is because you made me laugh. And every mom knows that laughter is critical when she is broadsided by an unexpected early dismissal from school because of a sudden blizzard (or dusting of snow, depending on where you live and whether or not people panic at the first sight of a snowflake :p )So thanks for the chuckles. I hope the bread is as good as the ‘recipe’ 😀

  40. Love this recipe! By far my favorite yet. Love the fact that there is no sugar added. I use the non GMO flour which bakes differently and makes bread more chewy. I increased the water, salt and yeast ratio (three cups water, three teaspoons salt, three teaspoons yeast) and then adjusted the flour by feel. In order to get the non GMO flour to fluff it has to be a fairly sticky dough. This produces two sandwich worthy bread loaves. I now bake a loaf for my family and one for my parents each week. This week I am going to experiment with whole wheat and rye flours as well. I will let you know how they turn out!

    1. Oooohhhhh, thank you for sharing! I’m super glad it works for you with the non-GMO flour. We’ve used it with whole wheat and freshly ground flour, and adjusted by feel as you do. Thank you!!!

  41. First time attempt at ever making bread…
    i should have followed step by step, but i am trying to make one loaf.
    unfortunately, its been setting for about an hour and hasn’t risen an inch.
    im hoping since it’s one big blob that the dough will take double the time to rise, but my wife says i probably didn’t get the water warm enough and the dry ingredients made the water to cold.
    i have a feeling i know who’s gonna be right 🙂
    But its gonna go in the oven anyways.
    if it doesn’t turn out right, i wont be a stinky internet troll and tell everyone you’re recipe didn’t work, Nope, next time i will actually follow the directions!!!

    1. Thanks for not being a stinky internet troll. Ha ha!

      This has happened to me before. There are several reasons, and your wife is right that the temperature is the likely culprit. It could be that the yeast is not fresh. Try “proofing” the yeast according to the directions on the container.

      When mine doesn’t turn out, I turn it in to bread crumbs and make meatloaf. 🙂

      If you follow the directions and it doesn’t work, you have my permission to troll away! 😉 Thanks for making my whole family laugh today.

      1. It’s rising!!! preheating the oven now, home free.
        Corrina, my wife said we don’t have bread.
        i Googled “easy bread recipe” and the first couple of links weren’t easy at all, they got me busting out a blender and stuff like that.
        your sites link was about the 4th one down. they should list the most helpful and accurate sites first.
        but hey, at least ur in the top 5!!! thats big time on google.
        have a nice day, I’m going to tend to my bread.

  42. Tried this bread today and it was simple and delicious. I planned to make two loaves and after rising the loaves were both so large, I punched it down, got lazy and decided to do just one large loaf. The dough is very forgiving. After the second rise I cooked it on a stone and the crust was great, a bit chewy like I like it. I wonder what kind of pizza it would make. Has anyone tried it? This will definitely be one of my go to breads.

  43. Hi,
    I tried this, and I had a hard time getting the dough right. I was using my Kitchen Aid, and it was really really sticky, so I added flour…getting up to probably over 6 c. I was waiting for that baby bottom feel! But between the flour and the kneading, it was heavy and hard as a brick. Don’t get me wrong, I ate it (with butter!) but I wanted it as fluffy and gorgeous as yours! Any advice? I have made bread before, but can’t say I’ve ever had roaring success with bread baking.

    Thanks!
    Christine

    1. Christine, I used around 5 cups of flour. I think the suggestion of starting out with 3 and then working your way up worked for me. I also kneaded the dough with my hands for ten minutes instead of using my Kitchen Aid. I felt that kneading the dough with my hands really allowed me to make sure the dough was a little sticky, but not too dry. Mine turned out great!

    2. Isn’t that frustrating?! Sorry!

      It’s possible you may have over-kneaded. Some people say that’s not possible, but I have seven children, and if everyone wants a turn on that baby–whew! Dense dough. The directions say 10-ish minutes by hand and four-ish minutes by Kitchen Aid. I wouldn’t go over 20 and 7, which already gives me a dense loaf.

      Also, I would stick to around five cups of flour. Knead it the 4 minutes and shape it with flour-dusted hands and see what happens.

      It just might be that my babies have stickier bottoms than your babies have. 🙂

      Good luck! I hope the next batch turns out beautifully! Your butter deserves it. 😉

  44. I tried it exactly as you described and it turned out absolutely wonderful! It was my very first time making bread and I was shocked at how great it turned out. In the future I think I’ll put in some add ons like cheese or garlic, but I just wanted to tell you it was so fluffy and great. Thanks!

  45. Tried your bread recipe out of a slew of recipes on the web, looking for a simple solution to baking bread on a sailboat. Fully equipt galley but with a temperamental oven. Happy to report my first attempt came out just right. Thanks for the simplicity and the humor. My crew is happy!

    1. Awesome! Thanks for letting me know! I’m glad it works as well aboard your ship as it does in our travel trailer. 🙂 Safe journeys!

  46. I wanted to start making bread, due to the fact that in looking at ingredients on commercial bread wrappers is a horror. I want simple real bread, not a complex chemical mixture of unpronounceable ingredients. I found your site and made this bread and LOVE it. I used organic whole wheat flour and organic whole wheat pastry flour because that is what I had on hand. I halved the recipe and it came out fabulous.
    Thank you thank you thank you.
    Next time I plan on trying different flours, like rye, barley or oat flours.

    1. I’m delighted that my simple bread recipe turned out for you! Hooray! Thanks for letting me know, and good luck with the other flours.

  47. This is such an awesome recipe. Soooooo easy!!!! I had been looking for an easy one for a while and am so glad i came across your recipe. Have already done it twice and both times perfect! Even made it with my 3 1/2 year old and he loved it. I substituted with whole wheat and was great. Thanks for sharing

  48. IT WORKED!!! I am so excited right now! I wish I could upload a pic… I’ll tag you in the one I posted on FB.
    I think I’ll knead longer next time, but today’s batch tastes great!!
    I’m so proud of myself! I’ve never made a yeast bread before (only banana bread up till now), and I even used wheat flour instead of white! (Usually, if I don’t stick to the original recipe the first time, it kinda flops) 🙂
    Thank you for an amazing recipe!!!
    ~Leah

    1. Hooray! Thank you for sharing!

      When I got tired of kneading, I would throw it in a stand mixer back when we had one. Just an idea if you’ve got one. 🙂

      Knead on!

  49. I have laughed so hard at your bread-making recipe commentary. That’s awesome! And you sound exactly like me had I written it which I never could have because I lack word skills! Honestly, bread is a conveyance for butter, and the aroma ain’t too bad hovering in the air either 😉 We’ll be trying your recipe soon. A bit more plain than our everyday bread, and I prefer more of a dinner roll flavor, but if it’s easy and it’s bread, I’m in! Thanks!!

  50. this recipe is GENIUS!!! I started making it a 10 days ago, and my kids and I are in love with this super simple recipe! I haven’t bought store bread since finding you’re fabulous site, and won’t be buying it anymore. We’ve been devouring loaves upon loaves! I love to bake, but most recipes just take too much time. I literally entered “easy bread recipe” & yours popped up first. It was meant to be, lol! In an hour, we were eating hot, delicious bread slathered in butter, ;). We love your recipes, and you!! I’m serious! I’ll be trying more of your recipes, for sure. Thank you! Blessings to you and yours from me and mine. Have to go- my bread is done!
    connie markarian

      1. hello!!
        I’m still making about 6 loaves of your spectacular bread per week, & I just wanted you to know I’m no longer paying a small fortune for “good” bread from my favorite bakery. I save time by doubling or quadrupling the recipe, and keeping it in a zip lock bag in the fridge.
        Well, my youngest daughter, (16), decided she wanted pizza while I was taking a cat nap. So I woke up to the aroma of homemade pizza, yum! I asked how she made the dough, and she told me that she just grabbed a big hunk out of the bag in the fridge! We both started laughing, because she makes pizza pretty often, but the dough recipe takes a while. Your bread recipe made The best pizza crust! This was a big pizza, but the bottom stayed crisp, and the crust was chewy but soft.
        So, that’s my update on just the bread recipe; I’ll let you know when I try more of your recipes. For now I am still obsessing over the bread. It has honestly changed our lives for the better!
        Many blessings and much happiness to you and yours, from me and mine!
        Sincerely,
        Connie Markarian

  51. Hi Christy – Have made your simple bread recipe at least 6 times since discovering it and we love it. Have also made the same recipe using whole wheat flour and now want to delve into rye bread (husband’s fave). Am thinking of a 3-1 combo of organic all purpose flour and rye flour. What dya think? Have you tried a simple rye recipe yet? Do tell. Thanks

    1. I have not tried this version with the rye yet, but thank you for sharing the idea. Because we live in a travel trailer now and don’t usually have access to an oven, I’m not baking too much bread these days. My husband also loves rye, so I should hunt out an oven and give this a try.

      Sorry for this late response. For some reason, I never saw this comment from, oh, two years ago! 🙂

  52. Oh my! I am 72 and have READ your recipes, but being ‘old’ it is difficult for me to do too baking with arthritis. I would like very much to belong to your ever growing audience with your latest recipes. I am going to try the SIMPLE BREAD RECIPE today! Your great sense of humor makes it all worth while!!!! Jeanette

  53. I made bread for the first time tonight!! I have never worked with anything but frozen puff pastry before – it was like magic watching it in the oven! I got it into my head to learn how to make bread, found your recipe (loved your commentary and laid back approach) and drove to the store to get some yeast. I still am amazed. Kneading was a little more intense than I expected, but I felt like a total badass while doing it. What is more important than me feeling like a badass (and let’s face it, few things are) was that it tasted great! Thank you – I had so much fun tonight, and I will be doing this again! 🙂

  54. I love making this bread! Finding a good bread recipe is never easy, especially because half of my family is gluten intolerant. But with this recipe, however, I substituted with the gluten free flour brand “Cup 4 Cup”, and ended up with a yummy, not too heavy gluten-free bread. I’ve made it a few times now, and it’s always great and better than any rye bread or other gf recipes we find. Thanks so much for this awesome recipe!

    1. I’m happy you shared this with me! My husband is gluten sensitive, so he can’t have too terribly much gluten. The bread at the store is expensive and some of it has stuff in it I don’t want to feed him. Now it’s MY turn to try YOUR recipe! 🙂 Thank you!

  55. I took me 2 tries (the first time was my fault) but the second batch came out fabulous! I’m single so I am going to freeze one of the loaves. You don’t mention if this freezes well but I’m guessing it probably does. I love the idea of urban homesteading and although I garden, preserve and dehydrate, I wanted to learn how to bake bread as well. What I love about your bread is that it doesn’t take all day. (Yay!). I did the trick of using the oven as a warm place. Being in Illinois the house stays a bit cold during the winter. Thanks again for posting this – I can’t wait to try different versions of this bread. You and your site rock!

    1. Wow, Chris, thank you!

      You know, I’ve never had it last long enough to test the freezing. How did it work?

      I too like that it doesn’t take all day. Whew! 😉

      1. It didn’t freeze very well for me but no worr8just cut the recipe in half to bake one loaf. So good, still my favorite recipe by far. Love your site!

        1. Thank you for telling me. That gives me an excellent excuse to eat the whole loaf while it’s still hot. 🙂 I’m not joking. Ha!

  56. Thanks for this recipe. I’ve always wanted to make my own bread but always been a little scared to try it. I’ve used a bread maker many times but never quite found it be what I wanted.
    This recipe was so easy to follow and tastes delicious.
    Thankyou

    1. It works in a bread maker also, although I always pulled it out at the end of kneading cycle and baked it in the oven, because we like the texture better that way.

      Thank you for commenting!

  57. After finding our last piece of bread was gone, I decided that because I was craving peanut butter toast, I would attempt to find the easiest bread recipe out there and see what I come up with.

    Now that thanks to your awesome, fantastic, wonderful, easy “Simple Bread Recipe,” I am on my third piece of peanutbutter toast :)) I enjoyed your humor as much as the bread, and I just wanted to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

    I also stumbled onto your other sites, information and social media pages – and being an only child with an only child, all I can say is “WOW!!!!” You are an awesome person, mom, wife, and a wonderful inspiration!

    (Hummmm…now what can I make for dinner……?)

  58. Christy, can you share your sourdough version, mine is getting lonely in the refrigerator.

    Thanks, Linda

  59. I think this is among the most vital info for me.
    And i’m glad reading your article. But should remark on some general things, The site style is ideal,
    the articles is really nice : D. Good job, cheers

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