This easy yeast bread recipe is perfect for beginners. It contains ingredients you probably already have in your house and can be ready in 3 hours (that's pretty fast in the world of bread making).
I have been making this yeast bread for a few years with flawless results! That's right, flawless! This recipe is super easy and yields two perfect loafs every time. It is the perfect recipe if it is your first loaf or your 100th. Just follow the instructions below, and you should have two perfect loaves.
What's nice about this recipe is you do not need any fancy equipment. Just some ingredients you probably already have, good old-fashioned elbow grease, a bowl, oven-proof bakeware, and you're off.
What you need to know before you start
- This recipe calls for one packet of dry active yeast. Yeast is a fungus that can convert sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. What does that mean? Well, it really means that yeast is an alive culture. So when using a packet of yeast, always ensure that yeast has not expired. If the yeast is expired, you will not be able to make bread.
- Always place yeast and salt apart from each other prior to mixing with water. In a nutshell, these two do not get along and the salt will kill the yeast if they come in direct contact. However once mixed with other ingredients, the yeast and salt can co-mingle.
- Yeast is like Goldie lox and the water temperature needs to be just right to active it. Luckily, just right is in a large range. I aim for the water to be between 95 - 105. However, if you do not have a thermometer just run the water until it is warm. Warm water should active the yeast without killing it.
- You can use all-purpose or bread flour for this recipe. I have used both flours with this recipe and both worked great. Use whatever flour you have.
- The recipe calls for 6 cups, however, that might vary depending on your climate. I would say you will want to use between 5.5 and 6 cups. Once you reach the 5 cup mark add the flour in slowly until you achieve the desired texture.
Let's get to making this easy yeast bread that is perfect for beginners
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 cups warm water
- 6 cups flour
- Cornmeal (optional)
See, super simple. I bet you already have most of that in your pantry!
Mixing the ingredients: Start by adding the sugar, salt, and yeast to the warm water. Once mixed, allow for this to stand for five minutes. During this time the yeast will become activated and it should look like this (kind of foamy).
Next, using a spatula and then your hands, add in the flour one cup at a time until you reach the fifth cup. After the fifth cup start adding in the flour a little at a time (about ⅛ of a cup). As you mix the flour, the dough will be lumpy and sticky. Continue to use your hands to mix all the ingredients picking up all the flour in the bowl. The dough should be rough and lumpy at this stage.
Kneading the dough: Once the flour is incorporated, it is time to begin kneading. Here is how your knead:
- Lightly flour or oil a flat surface
- Place the dough on that surface in a ball
- Using the palm of your hand, push the dough away from you
- Fold the dough in half and turn 90 degrees
- Using the ball of your hand, push the dough away from you again
- Fold the dough in half and turn 90 degrees
- Repeat this process until the dough is smooth and shiny (about 7- 8 minutes)
Rising the dough: After you have completed kneading, place the dough in a bowl, cover with a warm damp towel and let stand for 1 - 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size. Once doubled, knock the air out of the dough and briefly knead to release any air bubbles. (The keyword here is briefly. As in gently once or twice.)
Shape the dough: You can choose whichever shape you prefer. For this batch, I used more of a loaf to go with a French Onion Soup I was making. However, feel free to shape it into what works best for you. Once shaped, cover with cling wrap and let stand for an hour.
Baking the dough into bread: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a roasting pan on the bottom rack and fill it with boiling water. This creates steam which forms the crusty outer shell of the bread. Place the bread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 -24 minutes depending on how crusty you prefer the outer shell.
Remove from the oven and cooling on cooling racks for 30 minutes. After that your bread is ready!
In the mood to bake something different? Try one of these recipes instead
Easy Yeast Bread -- Perfect for Beginners
- 2 cups warm water (between 95 and 105)
- 1 tbsp yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
- 6 cups flour
- In a bowl, mix water, yeast, sugar, and salt. Allow standing for five minutes. During this time the yeast will activate.1 tbsp yeast, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp sugar, 2 cups warm water (between 95 and 105)
- Using a spatula, add in the first five cups of flour, one cup at a time.6 cups flour
- Add the remaining flour in an ⅛ of a cup at a time using your hands and picking up as much of the flour as you work the dough.
- On a lightly floured or oiled surface, knead the dough for 5 - 7 minutes.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel until dough doubles in size (between 1 - 1.5 hours).
- Remove the dough and knock the air out. Cut the dough in half, then shape it, and using your knife, slash the top of the dough with 3 -4 times diagonally.
- Place the dough on a cookie sheet, cover, and let rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 and place an aluminum roasting pan on the bottom of the oven. Fill 1" deep with boiling water.
- Brush the tops of the dough with cold water.
- Bake bread for 35 - 45 minutes.
- Brushing the loaves with cold water is optional. This step will help to create a crusty outer shell.
- Placing a roasting pan with water in the oven is also optional. This step will help to create a crusty outer shell. If you do not have a roasting pan you can use another type of pan. I often use an oven-safe deep skillet.
- You will know when the bread is done when you tap underneath and it sounds hollow.
- Allow the bread to cool for 30 minutes prior to eating.
- The bread will be good for 1 - 2 days. Store the bread in bread bags. If you store it in plastic the bread will last longer, however, you will lose the crusty outer shell. If you try this bread, please let me know how it turns out!