How to Make Bread – A Beginner’s Bread Recipe

This is such an easy bread recipe that shows bread baking beginners how to make bread for the first time. The bread is so good that both new and expert bakers love to follow these instructions!

I’ve included all the steps you need to take, plus there’s a simple dough mixer method at the bottom of the page. You’re all set to make fantastic bread!

It’s so easy to make and trust me, the smell of fresh bread baking makes everyone really, really excited for lunch!

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What you’ll need to make this simple bread:

Ingredients:

Flour – 550 grams

Water (room temperature)- 320 grams

Salt – 11 grams

Warm water (38-43C / 100-110F) – 45 grams

Sugar – 10 grams

Active Dried Yeast – 6 grams

Vegetable Oil – 8 grams

See ingredients list in cups

Equipment:

2lb loaf tin

For the best rise in the oven and a crusty crust, use a baking stone. Preheat the baking stone in the oven above a deep-lipped baking sheet. We will add boiling water to the tray when the bread goes in. This creates steam which makes bread that’s nice and crispy!

Step by step method

Here are the steps you need to make this beautifully simple bread. For best results, try to follow each method as close as you can. There are some top tips for the recipe further down the page!

Weigh the ingredients

Use a set of scales to weigh the ingredients. They are more accurate than cups or volume measurements – trust, you won’t regret it!

Hydrate the flour

Add the flour, salt and 320 grams of water to a large bowl and combine with your hands. To do this, push the wet bits into the dry flour – turn out onto the table if it’s easier! Continue until it starts to feed strong and even. Cover, and leave on the side and put your feet up for 20 minutes!

Activate the yeast with the sugar

After 20 minutes take a small bowl to whisk the yeast, sugar and warm water together. Let it stand for 10 minutes, the yeast will get nice and bubbly.

Combine the ingredients and mix

Now it’s action time! Add the bubbly yeast mixture to the dough. Then add the oil and gently mix to form a mass. The dough may be sticky at first, but keep going, it will come together perfectly – I promise!

Knead

Place the dough on the worktop. Now we are going to knead the dough vigorously which is going to make the bread soft and delicious. I use a stretch, slap and fold technique but, use any method you wish. Just try to refrain from adding any extra flour to the table! Knead for 5 – 10 minutes or as long as you can!

Allow to rest

Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a bag or plastic wrap. Leave to rest for 30 minutes and the dough will develop like magic!

Degass

Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the worktop. Use your hands to push as much air out as you can, this will create a nice, even structure. Shape into a ball shape and leave to rest on a floured area of the table for 20 minutes.

Shape and second rise

Shape into a long cylinder that’s the same length as the tin. This is tricky but worth practising! Place the dough straight into the tin, place a bag over it (without touching the dough) and leave to proof for 1 ½ – 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 230C (450F) so it’s nice and hot.

Put the bread in the oven with steam

Now the exciting bit! Once the bread has risen over the top of the tin it’s ready to go in the oven! Using one straight cut, slash the bread with a serrated knife or bakers lame. Next, take the bread straight to the oven and place it on the baking stone. For the perfect bake, pour a cup of boiling water onto the tray below and quickly shut the door to keep the steam in the oven!

Bake

Bake for 20 minutes and open the door for 5 seconds. This will release the steam and allow the crust to become nice and hard. Continue baking for another 15-20 minutes until it’s beautifully golden brown. If it colours too quickly you can reduce the heat by 20 degrees.

Cool and it’s ready!!

Remove your gorgeous loaf from the tin straight away without burning your fingers and leave to cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. Now you’ll have a simple loaf and it’ll taste amazing! It’s such an easy loaf and tastes so amazing, you’ll be so delighted!

Top tips for this recipe

Using instant or fresh yeast

There is no need to activate instant or fresh yeast. Dissolve the sugar in the warm water and add the yeast along with the oil. For instant yeast change the amount used to 4 grams and when using fresh, use 12 grams.

Ingredients list in cups

  • Flour – 4 ⅓ cups
  • Water – 1 ⅓ cups
  • Salt – 2 tsp
  • Warm water (38 – 43C /100-110F) – 4 tbs
  • Sugar – 2 teaspoons
  • Active Dried Yeast – 1 sachet /2 tsp
  • Vegetable Oil – 1 tbs

Temperature

Temperature is very important when making bread. Many bakers will use a thermometer to manage their desired dough temperature. If your kitchen is 20C (68F) use tepid water, if it’s warmer for the best dough temperature, chill the water. My favourite thermometer is the GDealer probe, if you want a reliable one!

Can this recipe make rolls?

This recipe can make soft bread rolls as well as bread. Divide into 100 gram weights and shape into balls. Place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake without adding steam to the oven. 

What if the recipe is too sticky or dry?

It’s tempting to add water of flour straight away if the dough doesn’t feel right at the start. It’s best to keep mixing to see if the dough improves. Usually, it does but sometimes a little bit of extra flour or water is needed. Make the adjustment and remember for next time!

Telling if the bread is ready to go into the oven

Once the dough is ready to bake it will have risen to the edges of the pan. You can also use the Poke Test where the dough is pressed down with a wet finger. It’s ready when it stays down for 2-3 seconds before springing back.

How to make this bread in a mixer

Instead of mixing the ingredients by hand, pop them into a mixer and mix for 3-4 minutes at a gentle speed. Then increase the speed and knead for 5 more minutes. With a good dough mixer, you’ll make this super simple bread with very little effort!

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16 Comments

  1. Hello, when making the simple bread, can I do the dough in a bread machine? How and in what order? If with a mixer, tell me how after you said to increase speed on a mixer and knead 5 min more. Didn’t see what came after that. Thanks!

  2. You can make it in a bread maker using the dough setting. I wouldn’t recommend using one of the presents on it to make the bread from start to finish as they will differ from the times given.

    See “Allow to rest” above. I’ll be updating the recipes and videos in the new year. Cheers

  3. Hi, i was searching for a solution to dry and dense breads , and came across your page . Very helpful indeed! i intend to try this recipe keeping all the tips and tricks in mind. Could you let me know if we are good to use all-purpose flour in this recipe or are we specifically looking for bread flour ?

  4. Hi Anukriti, thank you! Yes, you can use all-purpose flour when it has at least 11.5% protein. Thanks

  5. I’m wondering if there is a typo here or a missing step:

    “Hydrate the flour
    Add the flour, salt and cool water to a bowl and combine with your hands until the dough is strong and even. Push the wet bits into the dry flour – turn out onto the table if it’s easier! Cover and leave on the side for 30 minutes and put your feet up!”

    “Now it’s action time! Add the yeast mixture to the “flour” with the oil.”

    ( Isnt it dough at this point? Am I to knead 4 TBS of liquid into a ball of dough?. Or should the yeast/sugar/water mix be added to the flour along with the 330 gms of cool water?)

    Thankayou!

  6. Hi Pip,
    I’ve updated the recipe so it’s clearer. You need two separate bowls and then combine the yeast/sugar/water mix with the dough and oil. Then mix. Hope it makes sense now. Let me know how you get on!

    Gareth

  7. Hello Gareth! So, I baked the bread using the above recipe , and putting it in a dutch oven. It is the best bread I ‘ve ever made, but…. It’s a little too dense inside and the crust is a little too thick and hard. I just read your troubleshooting , and you are suggesting to add milk, butter or egg. At what point at should do that? And how much milk or butter? Thank you

  8. Wow! Thanks for letting me know! To make things easy, you can try adding 30 grams of butter to the recipe at the start, deducting 10 grams of water. You could also add 15 grams of milk powder, or switch the 320 grams of water for 370 grams of milk (milk is 86% water). It’s best to scald milk by heating it up to 82C and allowing it to cool to get the most benefit from it. Having said that, from what you describe I’d say you might find that kneading for longer fixes your problem. Cheers

  9. I have been learning to make bread and this is the 4th recipe I have tried. I used a scale for my ingredients and followed all of the instructions as best I could. I have to say this is the best flavor of the 4 I have made.
    Thanks, I now have a great tasting bread recipe to keep.
    .

  10. Can you please make a video of these steps? Particularly adding the yeast/oil mixture after I have a dough ball is not an easy task by hand. I get a sticky mess and end up leaving quite a lot of slimy yeast dough mixture in the bowl and my hands… Maybe I’m doing something wrong so a video would really help. I still had to add more flour while kneading so if I knew what the ball should be like before adding the yeast/oil it would have helped (I’m assuming it needed to be much dryer). Why can’t the yeast/oil be added during the initial mix? It would be considerably easier for a ‘beginner’ recipe.

  11. Hi Mike, yes sure, it’s on my list to add videos. I’ll get it done this week for you.

    I delay the yeast and oil as the dough is left to hydrate. This reduces the length of time required to knead it. You need to activate active dried yeast before adding it also so I’ve found this method, although slightly more complex than other recipes (such as this no-knead loaf) gives exciting results for beginner bakers.

  12. The cup measurements have 1 1/2 cups of water, but the gram measurements come out to 1 1/3 cups. Which is the correct measurement?

    Thank you!

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