Hassle-free Homemade Bread - Basic Recipe

Homemade bread is easy to make
Note: This recipe has now been superseded by a better one; the Awesome Everyday Loaf. I'd rather you popped over to look at that one, but I'm leaving this one here in case you love it too.

If you want a hassle-free recipe for homemade bread, this is it.

I love this recipe - it's my basic stand-by. It's very forgiving. The quantities and timings are flexible, as are the ingredients.  Once you've mastered this basic version, you can adapt it to produce an infinite variety of breads.

I'm going to give you the quantities needed for making a half-and-half loaf, with a mixture of wholemeal and plain flour to give excellent flavour and texture. Of course you could use any combination of white and brown flours, totalling 500g, to produce anything from the purest white to most rustic brown loaf, depending on your preference.

Happy baking!

Easy Loaf

250g wholemeal flour
250g plain flour
5g instant dried yeast
10g salt
315g water to mix

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl that will be large enough to accommodate the dough as it rises to twice its original size.

homemade bread ingredients

Add the water and use one hand to mix everything together until you have a sticky dough.  You can mix with a spoon or a dough hook on an electric mixer, if you prefer, but your hand is by far the best tool here, enabling you to scrape the sides of the bowl and feel the texture of the dough.  With a little experience, you will come to know the consistency of a good dough but don’t worry about it being too stiff or too slack, your bread will still taste nice.

homemade bread mixture

Leave the dough to rise until it has doubled in size.  This can take several hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.  You can put the dough in a sunny place or an airing cupboard to speed up the process.  The more the dough is allowed to rise at this stage, the lighter your bread will be.  Well risen dough will have a spongy appearance and it will be springy to the touch.

Lightly grease a loaf pan with a little oil.

Tip the dough onto a floured surface.  If the dough is too wet, add more flour to make it workable.  Knead the dough by folding it in half, towards you, then pushing it away from you with the heel of your hand.  Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat the action several times.  Kneading helps to give the dough elasticity and an even consistency.  Knead until you have a smooth piece of dough and place this in the loaf pan.

Leave the loaf to rise again until it reaches the top of the pan.  Again, it is important to allow enough rising time at this stage so that your loaf will be light and soft.  If you accidentally leave your loaf to rise for too long and it starts to flop over the top of the pan, tip it out and give it a quick knead again so that it fits in the pan.

homemade loaf rising

Now your loaf is ready to bake at 200oC for 30 minutes.  Check that your loaf is cooked by tipping it out of the pan and knocking on its bottom.  A cooked loaf will sound hollow.

Leave the loaf to cool on a wire rack for at least half an hour before cutting it.

Need More Details?

My article Things To Note gives further clarification about the ingredients and equipment used for this recipe.

You'll find more detailed explanations, photos and videos of the various steps in the process in my series on how to Bake Delicious Bread.

For more confidence to know what's important and what's not, make sure you Understand the Keys To Success.

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