My life is so crazy that I often find it easier to make homemade bread than to put all the kids in the car and go and buy some at the shops!
I used to think that making your own bread was hard and time consuming, and while you do need to allow a fair bit of time, you don’t need to spend much time actually interacting with the bread, and it is really quite simple!
I am far from a bread expert but here are some tips I’ve learned for making homemade bread, and our favourite easy homemade bread recipes.
Bread Making Tips.
Let your yeast wake up.
Before you do anything else, add the yeast to some warm water and add a little bit of sugar (or sweetener of choice) and let it sit for 5 minutes to make sure the yeast wakes up and is alive. If you see bubbles you know it is good to go. If you don’t see bubbles you know my yeast is dead.
Use bread flour.
Using a good quality flour specifically for making bread will give you a better result. It is worth the effort and the cost to buy bread flour if you want soft, fluffy bread.
Mechanical helpers make things easier.
I cheat and use our ancient bread maker to make all my bread dough. I don’t use my bread machine to cook the bread as it’s too small and I want more control over my final product, it’s great for mixing, kneading and that first rise. This dramatically cuts down on the amount of hard work I need to do and guarantees a good first rise.
If you don’t have a bread machine, using a stand mixer with a dough hook to mix and knead your dough will also get you off to a good start.
A good second rise is crucial!
If you are aiming for soft, fluffy bread, a good second rise is important. You need a warm, draft free spot to leave your dough for the second rise. If you don’t have one, try turning the oven on low for 10 minutes then turning it off and putting the dough to rise in the oven with the door open a crack.
If you are making flat breads you can rush or even ignore the second rise, but if you want a nice light pizza base then the second rise is important!
You don’t have to use yeast.
If yeast scares you a bit (it scared me a lot in the beginning) then there are lots of great ‘no-yeast’ bread options you can try!
Here are some of our favourite, easy, homemade bread recipes.
We are not purists, we still buy bread from the shops, but we also make our own just as often. These recipes are easy once you get your head around the whole yeast and kneading thing!
And if I can make bread successfully then so can you!! Start with the Naan recipe, you can’t fail with that one!
Do you make bread?
Have you got any bread making tips to share?
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
Sam Lewers says
Totally agree that making bread at home is easy. You do need to allow some time, but it’s not hard to make.
I cook mine in the breadmaker and also have been experimenting with using a lot of different flour combinations. Once you get away from all white flour, the bread does become denser but the flavour is fantastic.
Our favourite at the moment is a spelt flour loaf that I cook on the rapid/quick setting.
We love making our own flat breads and pizza dough, and I love the 5 minute artisan bread recipes!! However I’ve also just started making it in my crock pot in the oven (no kneading, super easy!)… http://www.simplysogood.com/2010/03/crusty-bread.html