The Best Homemade Bread Recipe
My Journey to Homemade Bread
If you were to have followed me around the grocery store a few months ago, you would have seen me standing in the bread aisle like millions of other shoppers do every week. Being the mother to four young children who deserve as much attention as I can give them, I do things the easy way in any situation possible. For me this meant buying my bread from the grocery store instead of making it at home.
Sure, I marveled at the women on Pinterest who somehow managed to personally make or bake everything their children have ever eaten out of organic ingredients. But I was a working mother who was juggling a career, college, and raising four children. Baking homemade bread every week was right up there with long naps or quiet undisturbed movie watching—which is to say, it wasn't happening anytime soon.
However, I found myself in a pickle one day. Covid-19 had hit the United States, and Americans did the one thing that they do well: panic. Amidst this nationwide panic all the bread had been bought, even the $5 bread I normally walked right on past.
I saw a lady walk by with flour, sugar and yeast in her cart, and I realized what I had to do. I grabbed the last bag of flour on the shelf and started scouring the internet for an easy bread recipe that wouldn't take two days to complete.
To say my first couple of attempts were not very good . . . is an understatement. After a couple of tries I finally tweaked a recipe enough to make it work for me. Which means it doesn't require that many ingredients, it doesn't take over a day to prep, it's easy to make and it tastes good.
Scoot over, fancy Pinterest moms. I might not ever buy store-bought bread again.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 3/4 teaspoon table salt
- 3/4 teaspoon dry active yeast
- 1/3 cup white granulated sugar
Step 1: Prepare the Yeast
- Fill a large bowl with 2 cups of warm water. The water temperature should be between 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit, equal to that of a baby's bottle or a warm bath. This is important. If the water is too cold it may not activate the yeast or activate it very slowly, which will degrade its overall performance. If the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast completely.
- Add the 1/3 cup of white granulated sugar to the warm water. Mix the two together.
- Sprinkle the mixture with the 3/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast.
- Let the mixture dissolve for 15 minutes. The yeast will cause the sugar and water to ferment. The mixture should appear frothy.
Step 2: Make the Dough
- Once the mixture appears frothy, add the 3/4 tablespoon of table salt.
- Melt the 2 tablespoons of salted butter and add it to the mixture as well.
- Add half of the all-purpose flour to the mixture and mix this well.
- Once mixed, add the other half of the all-purpose flour and mix this, too. It should pull away from the sides of the bowl, forming a ball.
Step 3: Knead the Dough
- Create a lightly floured surface. Your kitchen table or countertop will work well for this.
- Remove the ball from the bowl and place on the lightly floured surface you just created. Knead the bread for a few minutes. If you have small children, this would be something they would enjoy helping you do!
Step 4: Let It Rise
- Wash your large bowl from earlier or grab another bowl. Grease the inside of the bowl with butter.
- Place the bread in the bowl and flip it over and over until all of the outside of the bread is covered in a thin coat of butter.
- It is important that you do not clean up your lightly floured surface yet. We will use it again in a future step.
- Cover the bread using either saran wrap or a warm damp kitchen towel.
- Leave the bread to rise for 1 hour. The bread will double in size.
Step 5: Punch It Down and Let It Rise Again
- After 1 hour has passed, remove the saran wrap or towel and punch the bread down using a fist.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and shape into a loaf using your lightly floured surface from an earlier step.
- Grease a 9x5 bread pan with butter.
- Place the loaf-shaped dough into the bread pan.
- Re-cover the dough with saran wrap or a warm damp towel.
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Leave the dough to rise for another hour. The dough should double in size once again.
Step 6: Bake
- Once the bread has doubled in size yet again, bake the bread for 25-30 minutes.
- Remove the bread from the oven and brush with butter.
- Let the bread rest for at least 10 minutes before you remove it from the pan.