Homemade Bread

Okay, I know that baking bread can be intimidating. I have been there, it can be terrifying having anything to do with preparing yeast and mixing it with flour. I can tell you from experience that it’s easier than it seems. Even if you’ve never opened a package of yeast or taken your KitchenAid’s dough hook out of the box, don’t worry, making homemade bread could not be any easier! This recipe is super easy, and your bread loafs will turn out beautifully. It has simple and minimal ingredients, less than ten minutes of work and is easy to knead. So, give this soft, buttery, warm, homemade bread a go for your next baking adventure.

BENEFITS OF BAKING YOUR OWN HOMEMADE BREAD

IT IS HEALTHY & REWARDING – Take a look at the ingredients list of any store brought bread. You’ll probably find unpronounceable ingredients. Now, there is nothing wrong with store brought bread, but your homemade bread will literally be a handful of ingredients – flour, water, salt, butter, sugar and yeast. There may be added extras like eggs, milk, cheese, herbs, dried fruits – but the base of your bread will be built on a simple foundation of basic ingredients. 

IT CONNECTS YOU WITH YOUR FOOD – We have been baking bread for thousands of years. Learning to produce a basic food such as bread in your home can teach you the basics of preparing a simple staple food. There are a lot of pieces that come into cooking a meal from scratch – it is a form of self care, it’s taking care of others, it’s physical care, it’s mindfulness, and it hits on meeting basic needs for yourself and others.

IT IS AN IMPRESSIVE SKILL – Making bread is possibly one of mankind’s oldest cooked foodstuffs. Baking bread makes for something unique and wonderful to present to your loved ones.

homemade bread dough

INGREDIENT GUIDE

FLOUR – Bread is made in all shapes and sizes, and also by using different varieties of flour. Wheat flour is heavier and more coarse than white flour and will produce a more dense bread. You can use all wheat, a combination of half wheat and half white flour, or use all white flour. For this recipe, I use self raising flour which gives you a soft and fluffy bread loaf.

WATER OR MILK – Milk changes bread recipes by producing a softer loaf, due to the milk fat content, which also gives bread a richer flavor. Bread made with milk browns more easily than bread made with water. You can use either one of the ingredients, however water is an ingredient that is always accessible and easy to use. In my baking I use water more often than milk.

YEAST – If you choose to use active dry yeast in this recipe you can do so in the same quantity and proof the yeast by adding it to the warm milk along with the sugar and letting this mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.

SWEETER – To add a slightly sweet taste to your bread, you can add honey or sugar in the same amount. The kind of sweetener you use in making bread will alter the end result. This recipe uses two tablespoons of sugar. Do not fear adding a little sweetness to your homemade bread, you wont even notice it. It simply gives the bread an enjoyable taste.

SALT – Most bread recipes require at least a quarter teaspoon of salt. Table salt and kosher salt are not evenly interchangeable in bread baking, so be sure to use whatever the recipe calls for.  Salt sharpens and brightens the flavor in baked goods and helps prevent staleness.

BUTTER OR OIL – I always use butter when baking bread. Butter has a lower smoke point than oil, meaning it will brown before oil will when baked. While you can use either butter or oil in the same amount, I find that using unsalted butter does produce a better flavor.

TIME – This is perhaps the most important ingredient for the success of any loaf of homemade bread. Take care not to rush the fermentation and proofing of dough. The longer the dough has to rest, the more flavorful it will be.

homemade bread slices

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE BREAD

Bread, in all its various forms, is the most widely consumed food in the world. It has been suggested that humans started baking bread at least 30,000 years ago. Making great bread for yourself isn’t just possible, it’s often relaxing and delicious.

Bread is the product of baking a mixture of flour, water, salt, yeast and often other ingredients. Bread can be as simple with its basic ingredients or much more inventive when we add other ingredients such as eggs, milk, nuts and seeds. The basic process of making bread involves combining the ingredients until the flour is converted into a dough, followed by baking the dough into a loaf.

For this homemade bread recipe, dissolve the yeast and one teaspoon of sugar in warm water, let stand until bubbles form on surface. 

Once the yeast is ready, add it to half of the flour, salt, sugar and melted butter – combine in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Add the remaining flour and sugar and continue kneading with the dough hook. Alternatively, mix dough with your hands until a smooth and elastic ball forms. Place the dough in a large bowl, grease the top with some oil, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

Once the dough is ready, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and divide the dough in half. Shape each into a loaf, cover and let rise for another twenty minutes. Before baking, brush the loaves with some melted butter. Bake in the oven at 180° for 20 – 25 minutes until the loaves are golden brown and cooked through.

bread slices

WHAT IF I DONT HAVE A STAND MIXER? CAN I MAKE THE BREAD BY HAND?

You don’t need a stand mixer, you can knead this bread by hand. It is physically more work, but it doesn’t require a lot of kneading. You only need to knead the dough until all of the ingredients are combined and a dough ball forms that is smooth and elastic and slightly tacky to the touch. Do not panic if your dough is a little sticky, you want it to remain soft and elastic, just be gentle when working with it.

SHAPING YOUR HOMEMADE BREAD LOAF

When shaping the dough, use a gentle hand — if dough gets overworked, it can be tough to form. Before baking, cover with a towel and let the dough relax for another twenty or thirty minutes. You can shape your homemade bread loaf any way you like. You can shape it as rolls, loaves, buns or shapes likes braids. If you own a bread tin, this can be handy too! There is no right or wrong way of shaping your own bread loaf.

bread and butter slices

HOW TO STORE HOMEMADE BREAD

BREAD BOX – A bread box is simply a closed container that allows a little air circulation but keeps insects and dust out. During the 50’s and 60’s, almost every kitchen had a bread box. My grandmother used a bread box in the 90’s and even today. I have a bread box at home, I usually wrap the loaf in a clean kitchen cloth and store it into the box.

PAPER – Paper is a cost-effective, simple choice. You can wrap the bread in a linen or cotton tea towel first, then place it in a bag, to keep out of the dry air and allow for air circulation.

FREEZER – If you find that you will not eat the loaf in a day or two, the freezer works well for longer-term storage. Cool the bread completely, then slice it. Wrap the loaf in plastic or zipper bags and place in the freezer. Take out slices as needed and bring to room temperature or toast.

homemade bread with butter and jam

Homemade Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 500 g self raising flour
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 sachet instant dry yeast
  • 50 g unsalted melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Oil for greasing

Instructions:

  • In a bowl, dissolve yeast and one teaspoon of sugar in warm water – let stand in a warm place until bubbles form on surface ( roughly five to ten minutes).
  • In a large stand mix bowl, add 250 g of flour, half a teaspoon of salt, two tablespoons of sugar and 50 g of melted butter. Pour in the dissolved yeast. Combine the ingredients with a dough hook. After a couple minutes of mixing, add in the remaining 250 g of flour. Mix until a soft dough ball forms and the dough has started coming off the sides of the bowl.
  • Place the dough onto a floured surface – knead into a smooth ball.
  • Place the dough ball into a large bowl greased with some oil. Grease roughly a teaspoon of oil on top of the dough, cover with some cling warp and also cover with a clean cloth. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
  • Once the dough is ready, turn onto a floured surface and divide the dough in half. Shape each into a loaf.
  • Place the loafs into loaf pans or on a standard baking tray with baking paper. Cover and let rise until doubled (roughly 30 minutes).
  • In the mean time preheat the oven to 180°. Once the loafs are ready, brush some melted butter and place in the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

Homemade bread is most delicious when it is fresh and warm out of the oven, it can be very tricky to resist temptation 😛

homemade bread slices with jam

This homemade bread is easily my go to recipe! It is one I can always remember as it has simple and minimal ingredients. There is something so special about making your own homemade bread! Give this recipe a go, and if you do, tag me over on Instagram with @thehomeharvest. I would love to see what you create! ❤️