I’m sharing this recipe with you because I love you. It is probably my most valuable possession, because the promise of quick, fresh bread keeps people coming back to my house to keep me company. There are a lot of quick, no-rise bread recipes out there, and I’ve certainly tried a few. But this is, hands down, the best of the best. It’s easy, versatile, and – most importantly – quick. You just need six ingredients, some water, and an oven, and you’re set.
I stumbled across this recipe last year, during a frantic Google search. Hanna of Crafty Kin published the recipe in October 2008, and you can find her original post here. I’ve made some modifications to the basic recipe, and I have a whole slew of suggestions for customizing your bread, but the original credit is totally owed to her!
First, let’s start with the basics. Fresh baked bread will make you exponentially cooler. It’s true. You’ll become the envy of your friends, the light of every dinner party, and basically the most attractive person on the planet. There’s just something about the smell of fresh bread. But if you’re busy and on a budget, it’s easy to think that the fresh bread lifestyle isn’t attainable. I’m here to tell you that all your dreams can, in fact, come true. You can bake bread, and here’s how you’re going to do it.
Literally The Best Bread Recipe Ever
- 2 ½ cups of warm water
- 5 tablespoons of sugar
- 3 tablespoons of active dry yeast
- 6 cups of flour
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- First things first: preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grab a big bowl, and stir the 2 ½ cups of warm water, 5 tablespoons of sugar, 3 tablespoons of yeast, and 2 tablespoons of oil together. Do something else for five to ten minutes, and then return to the mixture – it should be frothy on the top.
Next, add your 6 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Mix and knead the dough.
Now, you’re ready to bake your bread. But wait, there’s more! What kind of bread do you need? This dough is incredibly versatile, and it’ll really do just about anything you want. You can shape it into a loaf and bake on a cookie tin, or you can shape it into rolls. You can flatten it out for pizza dough. You can make some seriously awesome focaccia. The possibilities are endless.
If you go the loaf route, you’ll need to divide your dough into several different loaves, to make sure that your bread isn’t too dense and cooks all the way through. If you’re shaping the dough yourself, judge this according to your own preferences. If you’re using a bread tin, divide the dough into thirds.
No matter what shape your bread has taken, bake at 425 degrees for ten to fifteen minutes. When the top of your bread is a nice golden brown, you’re all set!
It really is that easy, and there’s so much more you can do with this recipe. The original recipe called for 6 tablespoons of sugar, which I found a little much for my taste, so I cut that down. But at the original proportion, this would make a great base for cinnamon buns. I reduce the sugar even further (and up the salt a bit) when I want to add herbs to the recipe. My go-to adaptation is to add a tablespoon of dried, crushed rosemary, but experiment with different herbs to find your favorite. Last week, my friend brought over her own adaptation: she baked whole garlic cloves into a loaf. Delicious!
Even if this is your first stab at baking your own bread, chances are you have all of the ingredients – except, perhaps, the active dry yeast. That can be purchased in the baking needs section of your standard grocery store, but it’s a little pricey. I found that buying active dry yeast at bulk rates was the way to go, cutting my costs from $7 a jar to $2 for the same amount of yeast. Do your research, and you should be able to find a deal near you.
Welcome to the world of bread-baking. The possibilities are endless, and you’ll be everyone’s favorite houseguest.
Photograph by Nico Nordström.