Making homemade bread has never been easier… and believe me. I was an avid breadmaker user for years! I loved my breadmaker. All you have to do is dump your ingredients in and wait 4 hours. But after perfecting this recipe, I find that it takes half that time AND it comes out softer and more delicious!
Making homemade bread has so many benefits in comparison to store-bought bread. First of all, there’s the bonus of actually knowing what your eating. Store bread’s ingredients list is long and sort of looks like a chemistry experiment. Homemade bread has only 5 ingredients that you can pronounce.
Another benefit is that each loaf costs pennies compared to store loaves that can be much more expensive.
Plus they freeze really well. I like to make a few batches at a time to freeze for later in the week.
The ingredients list is so simple. All you’ll need to gather is:
You can use any white flour you like. Bread flour is going to make the fluffiest bread. If you wanted to make whole wheat bread you can substitute 1 of the cups of white flour for whole wheat or rye flour. Whatever whole grain flour you want to use is fine. Just make sure you only substitute 1 or 2 cups max! Otherwise, it’ll be too dense and won’t rise.
Add in all of your dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. I like to use metal only because it holds in the heat well and in order for your bread to rise, it’s going to need to be warm.
Add in 4 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons yeast, salt, and sugar. Then mix well.
Once your dry ingredients are mixed well, you can add in your water mixture slowly. This recipe requires 2 cups of water. My trick is that I add 1 1/2 cups of room temperature water and 1/2 cup of boiling water. This seems to create the perfect temperature for your yeast to grow and your bread to rise.
Slowly add in your water to the dry ingredients a little at a time. Use a fork to mix. Keep adding until you have a ball forming. It’s going to be a really sticky ball – but you’ll see it go from a bunch of tiny clumps to one large clump.
After your dough has been formed cover your bowl and set it somewhere warm. I like to put mine near my woodstove. I know some people who let their bread rise in a closet, near the stove, or even near a heating grate. You know your house best and know where the warm spots are. Let it sit covered for an hour.
Next, grease your pan with something thick – like Crisco, butter, or lard. I haven’t tried coconut oil. I don’t know if that’ll work, but most oils won’t work. Olive oil will just absorb into your dough and won’t coat your pan once it’s baking.
You want to be able to dump it out of your pan when it’s finished baking. Believe me – If you don’t spend enough time greasing your bread pan – you’ll know it. You’ll be scraping your beautiful bread out of your pan. And It’s not fun!
After the hour is up transfer your dough to your greased bread pan. The dough is going to be sticky. It helps to coat your fingers in Crisco so not too much sticks to you.
Once your dough is in your pan, place it somewhere warm to rise once more for an hour. This time your pan should not be covered. Your bread will rise a lot this second round and a towel will only restrict it from rising.
Preheat your oven to 425* and place your bread in the oven on the middle rack. Let it bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the oven down to 350* for another 20 minutes.
When the time is up, take the bread out of the oven immediately and dump your loaf out of the pan. Allow the bread to cool on a cooling rack.
Once your bread has cooled – enjoy! After about 10 minutes we literally can’t wait for a second longer to try it! There’s nothing better than warm bread! We love ours with butter and a little homemade strawberry jam.
Next week I’ll share a super easy jam recipe that I make from time to time with frozen strawberries leftover from the summer.