How To Make Homemade Bread

by Gigi Ross on January 19, 2012

Nothing makes a home feel more cozy than the smell of bread baking.

bread baking

 

And it’s SO darn easy to make home made bread (and I don’t mean with a bread machine). There’s really no reason not to. It’s cheap, it takes very little work, and it ensures that you aren’t buying bread that’s loaded with preservatives and other ingredients you can’t pronounce.

When I made bread for the first time, I used Mark Bittman’s No-Knead Artisan Bread recipe. It turned out so amazing that I became inspired to try other kinds of bread. Since then, I’ve tackled bagels, olive oil skillet bread, golden bread, pita bread and more.

This French Bread recipe, also from Mark Bittman, is one that takes a bit less time and planning than the No-Knead Artisan Bread. It also creates a different crust that is much less crunchy than the Artisan Bread. My kids tend to not like a too-crunchy crust, so this was perfect for them.

Homemade Bread

Every time I make bread, I am blown away that I can create this dough in less than 5 minutes, and with a little other periodic work, I can have hot, fresh bread in just a few hours. For this recipe, you can start the dough at around noon and have bread by dinner. Just work backwards from your dinnertime and plan accordingly. My loaves have come out small, but they’re good. Really, really good. You can do it in even less time than that if you’re pressed.

Do yourself a favor. If you’ve never tried to make homemade bread, give this a shot. If I can do it, anyone can.

Homemade Bread

Fast French Bread (or rolls)

(recipe from How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman)
Makes: 3 or 4 baguettes, 1 boule, or 12 to 16 rolls

This bread can be made by hand or with an electric mixer, but the food processor is the tool of choice and will save you tons of time.

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

Preparation

1. Put the flour in a food processor. Add the salt and yeast and turn the machine on; with the machine running, pour about a cup of water through the feed tube. Process until the dough forms a ball, adding a tablespoon more water at a time until it becomes smooth; if the dough begins sticking to the side of the bowl, you’ve added too much water. No harm done: add 1/4 cup or so of flour and keep going. You’re looking for a moist, slightly shaggy but well-defined ball. The whole process should take about 30 seconds, and it will once you get good at it. If the dough is too dry, add water 1 tablespoon at a time and process for 5 or 10 seconds after each addition. If it becomes too wet, add another tablespoon or two of flour and process briefly.

2. Dump the lump of dough into a large bowl or simply remove the blade from the processor bowl and leave the dough in there. Either way, cover with a plastic bag or plastic wrap and let sit for at least an hour at room temperature.

3. Use a small strainer or your fingers to dust a little flour onto a counter or tabletop. Shape the dough as you like, into small loaves, one big one, baguettes, or rolls, sprinkling with flour as necessary but keeping the flour to a minimum. Heat the oven (with a pizza stone and/or a pan filled with rocks if you have them) to 400°F while you let the breads or rolls rise, in a cloth if you like, covered with a towel.

4. When you are ready to bake, slash the top of each loaf once or twice with a razor blade or sharp knife. If the dough has risen on a cloth, slide or turn it onto floured baking sheets or gently move it onto a lightly floured peel, plank of wood, or flexible cutting board, then slide the bread directly onto a pizza stone. Or you can bake on lightly oiled baking sheets. Turn the heat down to 375°F.

5. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the internal temperature of the bread is at least 210°F (it can be lower if you plan to reheat the bread later) or the loaves sound hollow when tapped. Remove, spray with a bit of water if you would like a shinier crust, and cool on a wire rack.

{ 15 comments }

Galit Breen January 19, 2012 at 5:39 am

Love it, Gigi! I’ll, for sure, try this!

{I’ll send my family your way to say thank you!}
Galit Breen´s last blog post ..Go For It, Always

Vinobaby (aka Kerry Ann) January 19, 2012 at 6:25 am

What a simple recipe — you make it sound so blissfully easy! I stink at baking anything, but I tried out a similar recipe for one of my cookbook reviews on bookshelfbombshells.com. It didn’t turn out quite as I hope, but not too bad. (I have a draft of that bread post waiting to go up on my site too, lol…)

Your French bread looks delish. Perhaps I’ll give bread-making another try. Cheers!
Vinobaby (aka Kerry Ann)´s last blog post ..My Golden (Globe) Boy

Mommie Daze January 19, 2012 at 8:49 am

Love making homemade no-knead bread in my cast iron Dutch Oven. It makes the house seem so cozy.
Mommie Daze´s last blog post ..Surprising Big Binder with New International Delight Iced Coffee

Susan in the Boonies January 19, 2012 at 11:46 am

You’re scaring me. I’ve been doing the exact same thing this week. Watching Bittman videos. Making his bread, but faster.
Two loaves this week. So good. Must stop.

Motherhood on the Rocks January 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm

And there goes my diet…. :)
Motherhood on the Rocks´s last blog post ..MY DAUGHTER, THE ADDICT

John January 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I’m a huge fan of my breadmaker . . . though getting your fingers messy is something I really miss about breadmaking.
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Amy January 19, 2012 at 2:54 pm

This looks AMAZING! And it also has made me insanely hungry lol. Can’t wait to try this in the next few days! YUM!
Amy´s last blog post ..A tiara-wearing dog & other things I love

Trish January 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Perfect timing! We are snowed (and iced) in today. Baking bread is a cool way to pass the time. I always use my bread maker. Looking forward to giving this a try!
Trish´s last blog post ..Effing Snow!

Ashley @ It's Fitting January 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Oooh, MUST do this. It’s cold and wet and gross here, so it would be perfect weather to make bread and stew… YUM.
Ashley @ It’s Fitting´s last blog post ..M Words

Leslie @ La Cocina de Leslie January 19, 2012 at 10:13 pm

I never thought baking homemade bread could be so easy until I started using the Artisan Bread recipe. I use it for just about everything. It makes fabulous pizza crust.
Leslie @ La Cocina de Leslie´s last blog post ..Nachos

kludgymom January 19, 2012 at 10:16 pm

I know!!! So easy – it’s sort of changes your life!

Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms January 21, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Wow that looks good!

Truthful Mommy January 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm

You have made me crave bread now. That is kinda the antithesis of what I needed:)LOL
Great recipe!
Truthful Mommy´s last blog post ..Things I Wish I Knew before becoming a Mommy

JDaniel4's Mom January 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm

This looks like a recipe I can do!
JDaniel4′s Mom´s last blog post ..Just Looking at Pinterest Can Lead to Coveting

Urban Mommy August 3, 2012 at 10:22 pm

OMG. finally, a recipe for which I have ALL the ingredients!!

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