When I first decided I wanted to make homemade bread it was a big challenge. I didn’t have a lot of kitchen skills back then, and I made a lot of really terrible loaves of bread.
I made loaves that were more like lumps of rock, loaves that were all squidgy and doughy in the middle, and loaves that were flat and pathetic. But every failed loaf of bread taught me something, and took me one step closer to a successful loaf.
These days I can make a loaf of plain, boring, homemade bread in my sleep, well almost.
I still have the occasional failure, bread can be fickle like that, but most of the time I turn out a nice crusty loaf of homemade bread, which my kids manage to devour in around 3 minutes. These days making homemade bread has become easy.
I learned a lot from my bread fails…
I learned that our little bread machine can not cook a loaf big enough for our family, so don’t even both trying.
But I also learned that using the bread machine to knead and rise the dough is not cheating, it’s genius!
I learned that getting a good second rise is essential and a warm oven, (turned off, with the door open) is the perfect place for it to happen when it is cold.
And I learned that my kids will eat even the most disastrous, barely edible, loaves of bread, so it doesn’t even matter if I fail.
This is the recipe I use to make a plain, boring, easy, loaf of homemade bread.
- 2 tsp dried yeast.
- 1 tsp sugar (or honey)
- 375ml (1½ cups) lukewarm water
- 500gms (approx 3⅓ cups) plain flour
- A little olive oil for greasing and brushing.
- Add the yeast and sugar to the warm water and let it sit for a few minutes.
- You'll know if your yeast is alive if it starts to form little bubbles.
- Add the flour to a large bowl, make a well in the centre and add the yeast mixture.
- Stir with a wooden spoon until combined, and then use your hands to bring the dough together. You may need to add a little more flour or water, to make the dough soft and springy, but not too sticky.
- Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead well for 5+ minutes.
- Form the dough into a rough ball shape.
- Brush a bowl with olive oil and place the kneaded dough into it, turning it over to coat the top of the dough with oil.
- Cover with cling wrap or a damp cloth and leave it somewhere warm to rise. It needs to double in size and will take around 1 - 1½ hours.
- Put the ingredients in the breadmaker container and set your bread maker to the 'dough' setting.
- The bread machine will mix the dough ( check after a minute to see if you need to add more water), knead, and rise the dough.
- Once the dough has had it's first rise, 'knock the air' out of the dough by kneading it for a few minutes until it has gone back to it's original size and is nice and soft and stretchy.
- Grease a large loaf tins and line it with baking paper.
- Form the dough into a rough loaf shape and pop it in the tin.
- Brush the top with olive oil and place it in a warm spot to rise again.
- The second rise should take around 30 minutes and the dough should rise up to almost the top of the tin.
- While you are waiting for the dough to rise for the second time, preheat your oven to 200 celsius.
- Bake the bread in a preheated oven for around 30-40 minutes, or until it is golden on top and cooked through.
- Turn the bread out of the tin as soon as it is cooked and allow it to cool on a wire rack before slicing.
Please note: this recipe uses Australian measurements and temperatures, if you need to convert measurements or temperatures you can find our printable cooking conversion chart here.
I know it seems like there is a lot of steps involved in making bread, but there isn’t actually all that much work. Most of the time it does it’s own thing, you just need to give it some attention now and then… it’s a lot like a child really!
Do you make bread?
Have you got a favourite, basic, homemade bread recipe?
Have you got any tips for baking the perfect loaf?