The Easiest Bread You Will Ever Bake
Before you skip this post like, “Who has time to bake homemade bread?!?” Let me admit that I don’t either. Obviously. I am a normal 21st-century person with important demands on my time, like scrolling Facebook and posting food pics on Instagram.
So are you. You have important things to do and important people to feed. Like yourself. And anyone else who needs you to put food on their plate so they can make faces and throw it under the highchair.
However, this bread is different. It only takes 15 minutes (maybe 20 the first time) of active cooking time* and almost no skill.
That means NO KNEADING.
In case you’re one of the few people who don’t think homemade bread is the GREATEST thing to happen in a kitchen, allow me to persuade you:
50 cents – $2 Per Loaf
Home-baked bread is super cheap. Like when was the last time you bought fresh, preservative-free baked awesome for $1/loaf?
In Nashville (my area), that costs at least $5/loaf. You’re looking at a savings of $4, so if you take 15 minutes to bake… you’re getting paid $16/hour. Not bad.
Like I said, I don’t make this all the time. It is a frugal, delicious addition to our meals periodically, and it is completely worth the effort and almost no time it takes.
The rules for baking this bread are not hard and fast. There is no telling when I’m going to run out of honey and grocery money at the same time, so I need a recipe as flexible as my pantry supplies.
This recipe uses white flour or wheat flour, butter or oil, honey, sugar, or molasses. I have even successfully used different kinds of yeast. Naturally, every ingredient change creates slightly different results. However, I’m convinced that every bread recipe also works differently in each kitchen. So adapt it to whatever method works for you.
How impressive is it to bake bread? Guys. If you want to impress your girlfriend (or wiiiife… they were your girlfriend once and still think this is attractive), bake some bread. Nothing says I’m a skilled, confident, flexible man like being a one-man bakery machine.
Moms… you probably pressure yourself too much and hate me for adding to your impossible to-do list. Just listen. You don’t have to bake bread to be great. You’re probably doing a great job already.
Then again, you might love it. You might realize having a quick, easy bread recipe gets you in touch with your inner June Cleaver. If you get nothing else done today, YOU BAKED BREAD, GIRL. You win.
- 2 1/2 cups warm water (not hot)
- 1/3 cup oil (butter, olive oil, and coconut oil work great)
- 1/4 cup sweetener (sugar, honey, molasses, or maple syrup)
- 5-7 cups unbleached white flour
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- Butter or oil (for greasing)
In a medium-sized bowl, stir together water, oil, sweetener, and yeast. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine 5 cups flour and salt.
When liquid mixture looks bubbly, add it to the flour mixture.
Stir until dough is uniform in color. Add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well between each addition until a smooth, stiff dough forms. If it gets too hard to stir with a spoon, you might need to use your hands. Go ahead, get a little messy.
Cover bowl with a dishtowel and set someplace warm. I turn the oven light on and place the bowl in my oven. PUT A STICKY NOTE on the oven controls so you don't turn it on accidentally.
Let dough rise for 30 minutes. Then uncover it, punch it down (three swift punches does the trick), and cover again.
Let dough rise another 30 minutes.
Grease two bread pans with butter. Gently rip dough in half, then smooth one half into an oblong shape that fits the pan. Do the same with the other half.
Cover bread pans, return them to a warm place, and allow them to rise another 30 minutes.
Uncover risen loaves. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes, until light golden brown.
Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes. Gently slide a butter knife around the outside of the loaf, between the bread and the pan, to loosen it from the the pan. Then use pot holders to carefully flip the bread pan upside down and let the loaf fall out onto the counter.
Place loaves on a cooling rack. Allow them to cool a few more minutes before slicing and spreading with copious amounts of butter.
Whole Grain Baking
This recipe works great with whole wheat and spelt flour. You can use half whole and half white, or simply use all whole grain. Obviously, the results will vary, but it all tastes fantastic.
Either way, I highly recommend kneading it for a few minutes before allowing it to rise. This helps activate the gluten strands, which are a little lazy in whole grain flour.
I've kneaded it in the bowl, and I've kneaded it on the counter sprinkled with flour. You will get the best results with a 10 minute knead, but any amount will likely improve the bread.
I've also used a Kitchen Aid mixer to knead the bread. Just check with the manufacturer instructions regarding whole grain flours. THEY WILL BURN OUT THE MOTOR if used improperly. Ask me how I know.
You may also need to double the rise time (again with the lazy whole grain gluten).
I use this recipe for more than just bread loaves! It's our dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls (substitute water for milk and oil for butter if you like), and bread braids.
Sometimes I replace part of the flour with oats or cornmeal. Sometimes I add chopped nuts or seeds for a multi-grain flair. Just monkey with it and have fun.
*Active cooking time means the amount of time your are actually chopping/stirring/sautéing/kneading/measuring/etc. It doesn’t include pop-in-oven-and-bake-30-minutes or turn-on-low-heat-and-cook-20-minutes time. In those cases, you can simply set a timer and do whatever you want. Like scroll Twitter and Instagram.