How-to Guide to Making the Best Homemade Bread Recipes
There’s nothing like the smell of homemade bread wafting through the kitchen and bringing the promise of a special treat. Many of us remember seeing grandmother make homemade bread and miss seeing it on the table at family gatherings as times have gotten busier.
Making homemade bread sounds great, but it can also seem like a lot of work. But the good news is that there are easy homemade bread and quick homemade bread recipes you can make that don’t sacrifice taste for time.
Best Guide to Homemade Bread
The move toward buying baked goods and away from homemade bread recipes for oven baking was noted back in 1955 in a report called “Home Baking by Households” from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It was found that more families, especially those not living on farms, were buying bread instead of baking homemade bread.
This year, healthy homemade bread now seems like a luxury and many families are seeking out a great recipe for homemade bread that doesn’t take too much time or expertise but still tastes great.
It can actually be more economical to make homemade bread, with store-bought being around 27 cents per slice, if you buy a comparable quality, and homemade bread coming in at about 13 cents per slice, according to SaveOnEnergy.com.
What Are the Main Steps to a Homemade Bread Recipe?
Sometimes, it can be fear of the unknown that keeps people from making homemade bread. They’re not quite sure how to work with yeast or what fermenting means. But if you learn the main steps involved, it can be easy to make the best homemade bread ever.
The best homemade bread recipe options all use the same main steps:
- Activating the yeast with water
- Mixing in the dry ingredients
- Kneading on a floured surface
- Allowing the dough to rise, usually until double in size
- Punching down the dough (also called deflation)
- Shaping the portions into loafs
- Proofing or resting, allowing the dough to set and rise again before baking
- Scoring the top
Getting Started with Easy Homemade Bread | Understanding Yeast
One of the most unfamiliar ingredients to people learning how to make homemade bread for the first time is yeast. It’s not usually used in other types of baking when making things like pies or cookies.
Yeast has three main roles in a homemade bread recipe, according to Red Star Yeast. These include:
- Rising the dough through fermentation
- Making the flour in the dough stronger
- Adding to the flavor, aroma, and texture of healthy homemade bread
When you’re at the grocery store buying ingredients for a recipe for homemade bread, the different types of yeast available can be confusing and make you wonder, “Which one should I buy when I make homemade bread?”
Many of the quick homemade bread and easy homemade bread recipes use what’s called instant dry yeast because it’s easy to mix in with the other dry ingredients in the best homemade bread recipe you may make.
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Below is an explanation of each type of yeast you might run across when baking a homemade bread recipe:
- Instant Dry Yeast: This type is most common and can be added to dry ingredients directly.
- Active Dry Yeast: This is the second most common and has larger granules, so it has to be dissolved in warm water before use.
- Instant Dry Yeast “Rapid-Rise”: This is similar to instant dry yeast, but it allows you to skip the first rise/fermentation of the dough.
- Wet Yeast or Cake Yeast: This type needs to be kept refrigerated, and it is not as commonly used in homemade bread recipes for oven baking.
The Best Homemade Bread | Main Ingredients
A great thing when you choose to make homemade bread is that the ingredients are typically pretty basic and easy to find. This is one of the reasons you can save money by finding a recipe for homemade bread and baking it yourself.
Top Homemade Bread Recipe
Another bonus for you and your family is that you won’t find preservatives listed on the recipe when making homemade bread, like those sometimes included in the store-bought type, so homemade bread is typically healthier.
Of course, the exact ingredients will vary according to the recipe you choose when learning how to make homemade bread, but the ones below are pretty standard. Many of these may already be in your cupboard just waiting for you to choose them for the best homemade bread.
Typical Healthy Homemade Bread Ingredients:
- Sugar or honey
- Vegetable oil or butter
A few alternate ingredients will come into play depending upon the best homemade bread recipe that you choose. Besides the basic white homemade bread, you may choose to make a wheat homemade bread recipe, which could include rolled oats or millet, or a gluten-free version, which may substitute brown rice flour and eggs into homemade bread recipes for oven baking.
But no matter which variation of the best homemade bread you choose, once you get the basics down, it’s pretty easy to vary the ingredients to create a crusty French homemade bread recipe or a hearty, healthy homemade bread that’s wheat- and grain-based.
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Links to the Best Homemade Bread Recipe | By Type of Bread
Now that you have the basics down and know all about working with yeast and the main ingredients for making homemade bread, we’re going to get down to business with some of the best homemade bread recipes for oven-baked bread you can find online.
We’ve divided these best homemade bread recipes into categories by type of homemade bread, and included gluten-free, healthy homemade bread, and quick homemade bread options for when you’re in a rush.
The basic ingredients of good and easy homemade bread remain the same, but with little twists here and there, you can tailor your best homemade bread recipe to what your family loves the most.
Best Homemade Bread | White Bread
A staple of any household is sandwich bread. Whether you’re making peanut butter and jelly or a BLT, a white homemade bread recipe can have multiple uses in any home.
Here are some of the easy homemade bread options to make for white bread:
Best Homemade Bread | Wheat & Multigrain Bread
Many people who make homemade bread are looking for something a little more hearty tasting. These people opt for a recipe for homemade bread that has more grai]’ns included in the mix.
Here are some of the best recipes for making homemade bread of the wheat and multigrain variety:
- Easy Homemade Bread – Wheat | Minimalist Baker
- Homemade Bread – Multigrain | The Woks of Life
- Simple Whole Wheat Bread | AllRecipes
Best Homemade Bread Recipe | French Bread
French bread, also known as a baguette, is a special breed of homemade bread recipe known for its crisp crust and delicious, spongy interior. This is another specialty that you can easily learn when studying how to make homemade bread.
Below are some great options to make homemade bread and rolls of the French variety:
- Easy Homemade Bread – French Recipe | Six Sisters’ Stuff
- French Bread Rolls to Die For | AllRecipes
- Crusty French Bread/Rolls – CookPad
Best Homemade Bread | Gluten-Free
For those families that prefer gluten-free homemade bread recipes for oven baking, there are plenty of choices out there. You can easily enjoy your delicious and quick homemade bread minus the gluten content.
Here are a few recipes to make homemade bread with no gluten:
- Gluten-Free Bread That Doesn’t Suck! | One Good Thing
- The Best Homemade Bread Recipe for Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread | Gluten-Free Baking
Best Quick Homemade Bread | Make-It-Fast Bread
One of the biggest hold-backs to making homemade bread is the time that it takes. Most people agree that they would love to make homemade bread every week, but they have limited time to do it.
Never fear! You can find a great recipe for homemade bread that’s also fast:
Best Homemade Bread | Specialty Bread
If you’re hankering for something more exotic, then you may want to know how to make homemade bread that’s a little different. There are plenty of recipes available to make homemade bread that’s a specialty item, whether a copycat of a restaurant bread or something completely unique.
Express yourself with one of these specialty healthy homemade bread options:
- Outback Steakhouse Copycat Honey Wheat Bread | I Heart Eating
- Ginger (Monkey) Bread | Splash of Something
How to Store It Once You Make Homemade Bread
Anytime you make a homemade bread recipe, it typically makes more than just one loaf. So, how do you store it to make sure it stays fresh?
The cost savings of making homemade bread can quickly be negated if you can’t store the homemade bread recipes for your oven that you’ve worked so hard to bake in the first place.
Here are some of the best storage tips for that delicious and quick homemade bread you’ve made:
Freezing is the best way to keep homemade bread fresh for a long period of time. You want to make sure you wrap the bread well once it’s completely cool so that there is no condensation. You can typically store an easy homemade bread for up to two months.
While this may sound like a relic from the past, the bread box actually serves as an ideal way to store any recipe for homemade bread that you’ve made. They keep it from being exposed to too much air while allowing the bread to breathe, reducing mold formation.
The best homemade bread can be stored in plastic, which can either help or hurt your storage chances. If the environment is completely dry, then plastic wrap can extend the bread’s life and keep it from drying out. But if there is any moisture inside the plastic, it can make the bread mushy and facilitate mold growth.
Just say no to refrigerator storage of healthy homemade bread. It is notorious for drying out bread and causing an unappealing texture.
Mistakes to Avoid When Making the Best Homemade Bread Recipe
When you are making the best homemade bread recipe on your list, there are a few common mistakes you should be aware of. Even the best bakers sometimes succumb to these simple missteps.
Knowing what to watch out for ahead of time can help ensure that you make the best homemade bread ever.
Don’t let the bread rise for too long.
You typically want the recipe for homemade bread to double before you punch it down and continue. Allowing it to rise too long can cause your bread to be dense and hard.
Use warm water for yeast, not hot.
If you’re using dry active yeast that needs to mix with warm water, make sure the water is not too hot. Water that’s too hot can kill the yeast and thus ruin your best homemade bread recipe.
Proof (Rise) your dough in a good spot.
The proofing, or rising, of the dough when you’re making homemade bread may seem elementary, but it is important. Don’t put it in a place where there is a draft or where it is too warm (like inside an oven).
Knead, and knead again.
Don’t underestimate the importance of the kneading process when you make homemade bread. You might think that just mixing the ingredients together is enough, but it’s not. Kneading helps to make the dough springy, elastic, and smooth.
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Quick Homemade Bread | Do I Need a Bread Machine?
You do not have to have a bread machine when you are making homemade bread; all it takes is a little “elbow grease.” But for some, it can make the work to make homemade bread a little easier.
The bread machine will typically take you from measuring the ingredients to a fully baked loaf in a few hours, doing all the mixing, kneading, and rising parts of how to make homemade bread automatically.
They also often come with their own best homemade bread recipe books, so if you plan to make homemade bread a lot, it might be something you want to consider.
This Year’s Guide for How to Make Homemade Bread | Conclusion
Making the best homemade bread doesn’t have to just be something your grandmother did; you can do it, too. It is easier than you think to learn how to make homemade bread, especially once you understand how yeast works.
Whether you enjoy a basic white homemade bread or would rather have something a little more exotic, there are plenty of the best homemade bread recipes for oven baking to explore.
Making Homemade Bread
Once you’ve learned the fundamentals of kneading, rising, and proofing, the rest is pretty easy, and you can make a healthy homemade bread whenever you like for family dinners or for personal handmade gifts.
The art of breadmaking may go back thousands of years, but there is no reason you can’t make it your own with an easy homemade bread whenever you like to save money and keep that tradition of warm baked goodness thriving for the next generation.
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