I started baking our own bread almost 20 years ago and I’ve tried a gaboodle of recipes since then. Most of them have long since been forgotten (like that dreaded denim jumper that I felt obligated to wear as a homeschool mom), but there’s this one recipe that has stood the test of time…
Whether you’re a seasoned bread-baking pro who’s looking for something a little easier than what you’ve been doing or a newbie who’s ready to give this bread baking thing a try, this recipe is for you!
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The ingredient list is short and uncomplicated, no fancy-pants stuff that you have to ask for help to find in the grocery store. And, there’s a bit of flexibility as well (I’ll cover that in the “Notes & Helps” section at the end of the recipe).
As for the directions, I’m including 3 different ways you can make this bread – completely in a bread machine, using a bread machine and an oven, or by hand and in the oven.
Easy Homemade Bread
1 cup water
2 Tbsp butter, softened a bit
¼ cup sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1½ tsp yeast
- Place the ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed above.
- Set for 1.5 lb loaf and start.
- Wait for the machine to beep and enjoy!
OR (and this is my favorite way – utilizing the convenience of the bread machine without sacrificing the joy of removing a freshly baked loaf of bread from the oven)
- Place the ingredients in your bread machine in the order listed above.
- Set dough cycle.
- When done, place dough in lightly greased loaf pan (knead/shape dough gently with your hands to kinda fit the pan, don’t get too stressed about this part as the dough will rise and spread to fill the pan).
- Cover loosely and allow the dough to rise (30 minutes – 1 hour)
- Remove covering and bake in preheated 350° oven for 25 minutes.
- Slather the top with butter when out of the oven.
- Turn onto a wire rack to cool.
Don’t have a bread machine? Don’t panic! With a little extra time and these easy instructions, you’ll have your own loaf in no time.
- Dissolve yeast, sugar, water (use warm water – approx 120° water).
- Add remaining ingredients, stir as well as you can and then use your hands to finish combining.
- Turn onto floured surface and knead 8 – 10 minutes.
- Place dough into a large, greased bowl (turn the dough a few times to coat).
- Cover and allow to rise until double in a warm place. (About 1½ hours.)
- Turn onto floured surface and punch down to release any air bubbles.
- Knead gently about 6 times and place into greased loaf pan.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place until double. (About an hour.)
- Bake in preheated 350º for 25 minutes.
Notes and Helps
- You can use a combination of 1½ cups whole wheat flour and 1½ cups all-purpose flour. The loaf will be a bit denser, but the flavor isn’t compromised at all.
- Honey can be subbed for ½ of the sugar (2 Tbsp honey, 2 Tbsp sugar)
- Bread really does rise better in a warm area. In the winter months, you can get creative to create your own warm space – in the laundry room (near or on the dryer), beside the stove when cooking are a couple of things I’ve done. Just don’t let it get too hot.
- Sometimes the bread will take longer to rise, just depends on the weather. (Or something, I really don’t know what. I just know that the time can vary.)
- 25 minutes is the exact time for my oven to bake the perfect loaf. Your’s may be different. Father Dominick, “The Bread Monk,” has a short video sharing a couple of simple ways you can tell if the bread is done. You can watch it here.
- Waiting for the loaf to cool before slicing is really important. If you cut too soon, the bread will be doughier than if you wait. I’m not always successful with this. Somehow, taking a bite of steaming, aromatic, just-out-of-the-oven bread slathered in butter is worth the sacrifice. 🙂