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!
What you’ll need to make this simple bread:
Flour 550 grams
Water 355 grams
Salt 11 grams
Warm water to dissolve the sugar and yeast 25 grams
Sugar 10 grams
Active Dried Yeast 6 grams
Vegetable Oil 8 grams
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!
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!
Activate the yeast with the sugar
After 20 minutes, whisk the yeast and sugar in the warm water (no higher than 35C (95F) and leave for 10 minutes. The yeast will get nice and bubbly.
Combine the ingredients and mix
Now it's action time! Add the yeast mixture to the flour with the oil. Gently mix to form a mass. The dough may be sticky at first, but keep going, it will come together perfectly - I promise!
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 and 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 back in the mixing bowl and cover with a bag or plastic wrap. Leave to rest for 30 minutes and the dough will develop like magic!
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 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 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.
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!