How to Make Bread (without a Bread Machine)





Introduction: How to Make Bread (without a Bread Machine)

This is an easy, basic recipe for bread that does not require much skill.

There are many ways to make bread and this is one of them (and in my opinion, a very simple way). Remember, bread making is not an exact science.

Step 1: What You'll Need

You will need:
  • Yeast - 2 Tbsp
  • Hot-ish* water - 2 cups
  • Bread flour - 5 cups total, 2 for the sponge and 3 for later. (NOT regular flour)
  • Sugar - 2 Tbsp.
  • Salt - 2 tsp.
  • Oil - 2 Tbsp.
  • 3 loaf pans
  • Quick-read thermometer
  • Oven pre-heated to 375

*Hot-ish means between 95 and 115 degrees F. much colder and it won't activate, much warmer and it will kill the little guys.

Step 2: Make the Sponge

This recipe uses what I call a "sponge." The sponge will activate the yeast and get things started; getting the yeast warm, happy, and ready to go

Start by mixing the hot water and the flour. Then, add 2 Tbsp. sugar, 2 Tbsp. oil, 2 Tbsp. yeast, and 2 tsp. salt.

Let this sit for about 8 or 10 minutes. Assuming your water was hot enough, it should be nice and bubbly.

Step 3: Add Some Flour and Knead It

Now you need to add about 3 more cups of flour. I added a little less this time, it really depends on the humidity and how exact your measurements were in the sponge step.

Once it gets too tough to stir, flip it onto a clean floured surface. Now, knead away, adding flour as you do so.
Knead the dough for 8 or 9 minutes. As my Mother says, it should be the texture of your earlobe when it's done kneading.

When you finish this part put it back in the bowl and cover it with a slightly damp towel.

Step 4: Let It Rise...

let the dough rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes to an hour. the dough should be about doubled in size by the time it's finished.

Step 5: Into the Pans

Punch the dough down (Yes, punch it. Beat the heck out of it. Just don't make a mess), then divide it into 3 parts. Spray the pans and put the dough in. Let it rise again in the pans (covered) until it looks like the second picture.

Step 6: Into the Oven

Preheat your oven to 375 F and put the loaves in.
Bake them for about 25 minutes. Your quick read thermometer should read between 180 and 190 degrees. Pull the loaves out and place them on their sides on a rack, after a few seconds slide them out of the pans and onto the rack. Let them cool.

Step 7: Eat!

Eat it! Share it! etc.!

You can do a lot with this recipe...

...You can add nuts, roll it out and add cinnamon and raisins for cinnamon-swirl bread, add your favorite spices, etc. Add sweet potatoes, chunks of cheese, pieces of ham, or whatever suites you. Be creative! It's your recipe  to experiment with and make your own, have fun with it!

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On my thirteenth birthday, I will be using my money to buy ingredients for this very recipe! hoping it works out!

This was the sweetest thing I've ever read. I would've totally given you an early birthday donation 2 years ago.

LOL. If you are real, you are awesome. Reading your comment really made me laugh, in a good way. You most definitely take the cake (or shall I say 'bread' lol) for the strangest birthday wish ever. But you still have to make it! Strange is good. I hope I didn't discourage you. I am going to try this recipe as well. Make sure you do it too! I wish the best in making the birthday bread lol. One day, this will make for a good story for yourself lol . You'll see.

The texture of my bread turns out so different depending on which method I use when making bread, I can't figure out why. When I use my bread machine, it turns out soft and lasts days, even a little more than a week, remaining soft. When I make it handmade, I use my KitchenAid to mix it as I can't, my loaf turns out tall and soft, the texture is great, but by day 2 or 3 it starts to get dense. I can't figure out why and it's frustrating as my bread machine is getting old. The bread sticks inside the pan, even after I use non stick spray inside, and the model is no longer made.

i'm new to the diy breadmaking, in fact any kind of break making lol. my question is what is bread flour. i don't recall seeing that at my local grocery store. all i know is self rising , all purpose flour. can one of those be used? thanks for any advice :)

You can use all purpose flour. It will work just fine. Bread flour is just a different blend of the wheats. If you find some, give it a try. You may like bread made with bread flour better but AP flour will work ok, just don't use self-rising. (Don't ask how I know LOL)

now I am curious how you know

LOL! Think maybe I tried self-rising once?

I mean that would be my guess :D did you basically have the bread blow out the top of your bread pans?

The bread over-rose by a good bit AND it tasted pretty bad, too, kind of "dusty". Even the dog wouldn't eat it. What I made with real "bread flour" was just as pretty as stuff made by the commercial outfits, tasted really good, but the price of the specialty flour was too high for my liking. Plain old AP flour works just fine, just be sure to proof your yeast.