Don’t you just LOVE the smell of homemade bread baking?? And what better way to define your homesteading abilities than a proficiency at making homemade bread, right?? Well, I’m here to share the best bread recipe ever with you!
Bread can be very intimidating to most people, but it really doesn’t have to be and its much more forgiving than you think. Humans have been baking bread since the beginning of time, so, let me tell you, YOU CAN, too!
So, 28 years ago, I was in 4-H (Yes, I’m going somewhere with this… just hold tight!). I signed up for the foods project and, under my mom’s tutelage, managed to bake homemade yeast rolls for the fair. I ended up with a purple (that means excellence!) and I didn’t bake any type of bread again for 11 years….
Fast forward to my first year of marriage (at the ripe old age of 21, lol!). For Thanks giving that year, my mom told me to bring those same yeast rolls to the family dinner.
Talk about pressure!!!!
Now, if you knew me at all back then, then you know that I was a total and complete tomboy and basically a DISASTER in the kitchen.
So, Mom wrote down the roll recipe (which happened to be my great grandma Frieda’s recipe) and I did my best. They didn’t turn out half bad and my relationship with yeast breads took off!
After my kids were born, I wanted them to have the same memories I had of walking in the house and smelling that homemade bread. So, I vowed to never buy store bread again and only make my own.
I’ve mostly kept that vow over the years and I can now bake bread with my eyes closed (well, not really, but you know what I mean!).
There’s one little secret about my bread recipe that I have found to be different from most others. And it happened by accident.
My bread doesn’t have any oil any it. Apparently, years ago, when my mom gave me that recipe from my Grandma Frieda’s recipe stash, she forgot to write down the oil! So, I’ve never used oil in it and I think it makes a fluffier bread 🙂
So, without further ado, here’s the tutorial and recipe!
2 cups hot water
2 Tb yeast (or 2 packages)
1/2 cup sugar (you can decrease this if you want a less sweet bread)
1 tsp salt (I just dump some in)
6- 6 1/2 cups flour (for a wheat bread, I use 2 cups white and 4 cups white wheat)
In the following tutorial, I doubled the recipe so that I could make 4 loaves. The original recipe makes two loaves of bread or 24 dinner rolls.
To start off, heat your water up so it’s hot to the touch, but not painful to touch. Don’t boil it! Add it to your mixing bowl. Next add your yeast and sugar. Stir that together and let it sit for a few minutes to dissolve.
After the yeast has dissolved, it’s time to add the flour, egg and salt. Mix that together nice and low.
Now, here’s where it can get slightly tricky. So, you want your dough to be nice and elastic, but not sticky. Ultimately, it will pull away from the sides of your mixing bowl and your dough hook will be able to knead it for the required 10 minutes. Weather and the atmosphere in your house can play such a big role in all of this! Once you do these a few (or million) times, you get the hang of it.
Watch your dough and if it still looks sticky, add a hair more flour- like a 1/4 cup. Let that get mixed in, then assess. Some days you might need to use all of the 6 1/2 cups of flour for your bread, other days, 6 cups may be perfect.
Now, don’t worry- if you add too much flour and it looks way too stiff, just add a tiny bit more liquid.
After you get the dough into a good consistency, set that timer for 10 minutes of kneading and let the mixer do its thing! Or work your arm muscles, channel your inner pioneer woman, and knead it by hand 🙂
After the 10 minute kneading is over, shut off your mixer and cover your bowl. Mine comes with a lid, so I just put it back on, but back when I had a Kitchenaid, I covered the bowl with a towel.
Let it sit for about an hour.
*Note: I just made bread again 3 weeks after taking these pictures and my dough was done raising in about 45 minutes. So an hour is just an approximate time. The warmer your house, the faster the rise (usually).
After it’s done raising, then you punch it down. But before you do that, oil your hands so the dough doesn’t stick to it!
OK, now we can punch down the dough!
After you get it all punched down (it will deflate!) then it’s time to get those bread pans ready. So, spray them thoroughly with cooking spray (I say thoroughly because you want to be able to dump your bread out of them!)
You have the bread pans ready to go now, right?
OK, now it’s time to form our loaves….
After you form your loaf, plop it in the pan!
Cover up those bread pans with a nice clean towel and let them sit to raise again for about another 30 minutes. You can also take a short cut and put them in a warm oven (mine only goes down to 170 degrees, but it works!) for 15 minutes to raise. Either way works completely fine and you’ll get beautiful loaves regardless 🙂
And here they are all ready to put in the oven!
Put your bread in a 350-375 degree oven. You may have to experiment with this over time. Leave them in there for about 25 minutes. We prefer our bread a nice light brown, but if you like a darker crust, leave it in longer.
There you have it, folks!! I tell you, though, making and baking this bread is a hundred times quicker than writing a post about it, lol!
Do you have any tips for homemade bread?
Here’s a printable for you with a condensed version of the process!
The Best Bread Recipe Ever
This is (in my humble opinion) the best (and easiest!) bread recipe out there! It's a slightly modified version of my great Grandma Frieda's recipe that my mom passed down to me. Don't be intimidated by a yeast bread- I know you can make this! And, your family will love you 😉
- 2 Tbsp yeast or use 2 packets
- 2 c water
- 1 egg
- 1/2 c sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 c white all purpose flour
- 4-4 1/2 c white wheat flour Regular whole wheat flour can be used, but it will make your bread darker and "wheatier"!
Heat water to fairly warm (this means hot to the touch, but not so hot it's uncomfortable to the touch- definitely don't boil it!). Put in mixer. Add the yeast and the sugar. Stir to mix it. Let it sit for a few minutes to dissolve the yeast and begin the activation process. Next add the flour (start with 6 total cups), egg and salt. Mix together on low. Add more flour if dough seems sticky. Dough will be the right consistency when it does not stick to the sides of your mixing bowl. Knead for 10 minutes (this may be done by hand, but I prefer using my mixer!). Cover bowl and let the dough raise for approximately 1 hour. Depending on the weather and the temperature in your home, this raising time may need to be shortened or lengthened. While you're waiting, spray your bread pans with cooking spray. After 1 hour, punch down dough and shape into loaves. Put the loaves (there will be two from this recipe) into the bread pans. Cover with a tea towel (I prefer these because they're thinner and bigger than a regular kitchen towel). Let raise in pans for about 30 minutes. Same rules as before- this may need to be shortened or lengthened depending on the weather and your house. You may also do a "quick" raise that my aunt taught me- put the loaves in a warm 170 degree oven for 15 minutes and this will have basically the same effect as a slow raise on the counter. After the loaves have risen, put them in a 350-375 degree oven for about 25 minutes. If you like a darker crust, leave them in a few minutes longer. You can also use this dough to make dinner rolls- just shape them into rolls instead of loaves, heat your oven up to 400 degrees and only bake for 15 minutes. See- easy, I tell ya!