How To Bake Your Own Bread

Making bread is fun, and kneading dough burns calories. Did you know that when people used to make their own bread everyone had sexy triceps? Even grandmothers had arms that looked good in a tank top. True story.

Anyway, this instructable tells you how to make your basic loaf of white bread. It is your job to customize the bread by using the ingredients you enjoy. The best part? You know exactly what’s in bread you make yourself. And your friends will think you’re interesting if you make your own bread. Bread-making is the new knitting.

How To Make Bread (Without A Bread Machine) [Instructables]
(Photo:drinkmorecoffee)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. missdona says:

    Impress your friends- this is the easiest bread to make in the world
    1-2-3 bread

    [www.recipezaar.com]

  2. missdona says:

    I realized it’s missing instruction–

    Mix all the stuff, put it in a loaf pan.

    Or mix it right in the loaf pan.

  3. no.no.notorious says:

    i love mama’s home made bread
    yum

  4. CreativeLinks says:

    err, when did Consumerist become the food channel? I mean, are you actually suggesting that I can save a whopping $1.95 by taking a hour to make my own bread?

  5. evil_doer420 says:

    My grandmother still bakes her own bread and trust me, she does not have sext tricepts.

  6. AtomikB says:

    @CreativeLinks:
    This kind of thing is great when you’re unemployed, especially if you’re unemployed for months and months. Your $1.95 goes a lot farther buying 5 pounds of self-rising flour than it does buying a single loaf of bread, and you’ve got all the time in the world for baking. It’s still possible to live well on very little money.

  7. gafpromise says:

    My husband’s grandfather is a huge baker and spent a day baking bread with each grandchild when they were young, and I was fortunate enough to be included as well. He didn’t measure a thing, just threw everything in the largest bowl I’d ever seen. We made somewhere around 20 or 30 loaves that day- no joke! I’m really glad I’ll have that memory even when he’s no longer with us.

  8. Cowboys_fan says:

    Thanks for the image of a grandmother in a tank top – eww.

  9. G-Dog says:

    @CreativeLinks:

    Not to mention that some people take factors such as ‘flavor’ into consideration why buying and consuming food.

    Why even buy tasty bread when I can consume my required caloric intake with a cold bowl of gruel?

  10. Chaosium says:

    white bread, blecch

  11. ancientsociety says:

    I do this all the time BUT I use a crock-pot. Seriously, it’s excellent – the bread rises more, doesn’t burn, and it uses less energy.

    Those expensive “bread machines” are basically crock pots anyway

  12. ladycrumpet says:

    @missdona:

    That looks like something even I can do – thanks for sharing that!

  13. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I find this kind of post appropriate for The Consumerist. We need somewhere to turn when much of our mass produced food turns out to be tainted and/or from China.

  14. ancientsociety says:

    @CreativeLinks: In addition to what others have posted, those of us who are lactose-intolerant can’t eat 90% of mass-produced white bread, because the food companies either put milk or whey (which are totally unnecessary ingredients BTW) in it.

  15. @CreativeLinks: At the very least it won’t turn into a flame war.

  16. @ancientsociety: Nifty. Isn’t it hard to get out though?

  17. balthisar says:

    @AtomikB: self-rising has chemical leaveners which aren’t all that conducive to making bread! You want yeast. In fact, I’ve got a good sponge growing in my fridge derived from my homemade beer’s yeast.

    Honestly, I make homemade beer more than I bake bread, though, because I can’t seem to get the knack of it doing it manually (with the stand mixer and the proofing mode in the oven an all the modern conveniences), and manually is how I’m trying to get it to work. On the other hand, I’ve never, ever had a bad batch from my cheap-o $60 bread machine (using real ingredients, even; not bread machine kits that cost more than loaves). An advantage to the bread machine is it only takes 5 minutes of my time. But dammit!, I want to bake my own. :-(

  18. hoosier45678 says:

    No F’n Way. Kneading is so 5 decades ago. This recipe: [www.nytimes.com]
    is what you want.

  19. @CreativeLinks: “I mean, are you actually suggesting that I can save a whopping $1.95 by taking a hour to make my own bread?”

    In addition to unemployment, it’s also not bad if you work from home. The actual putting together doesn’t take long and then it’s just a five-minute break every now and then to fuss with it.

    Although my loaves never come out real good. But my next-door neighbor (SAHM) is like semi-pro!

  20. (and try Hillbilly Housewife’s super-easy recipe: [www.hillbillyhousewife.com] )

  21. ancientsociety says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: Not really. I (very) lightly “butter” (although, I use Earth Spread which is basically a non-dairy margarine-type blend, so you may want to use a little olive or canola oil) the inside of the crock pot befre putting it in and I use the “Low” setting so it doesn’t burn.

  22. kimsama says:

    @balthisar: Just keep practicing — if you keep trying (and take notes so you remember what you did), you will get awesome at it. I made my own starter and made sourdough every week for months until I got it down, but down I did get it. (P.S., the secret for me, at least for sourdough, seems to be as little flour as I can get away with so it’s soft, combined with lots and lots of good hand-kneading. Best. Bread. Ever.)

  23. levenhopper says:

    @ancientsociety: And then there are those of us who can’t eat wheat, and are totally screwed.

  24. ancientsociety says:

    @levenhopper: I also have IBS, so sometimes a lot of wheat bothers me too, so I feel your pain.

    Have you tried Spelt or Quinoa flour? I’ve also heard good things about Amaranth flour but have never tried it. Bob’s Red Mill also makes a whole line of gluten-free baking products.
    [www.bobsredmill.com]

  25. Nelsormensch says:

    @CreativeLinks: Maybe I’ve just got a good recipe, but the bread I make at home tastes way better than just about anything I can buy at a supermarket (maybe not a independent bakery). It’s similar to this recipe, only I use coconut milk instead of water. It gives the bread just a faint coconut flavour, and it goes great with Thai or just by itself. It’s really hard to beat freshly baked homemade bread.

  26. ancientsociety says:

    @Nelsormensch: Coconut milk? That’d probably be awesome in pineapple bread! Thanks for the tip.

  27. Dervish says:

    Home baked bread is incredibly tasty and versatile, and very satisfying to make besides. A few tips:

    To tell when you’ve kneaded enough (i.e., developed the gluten in the flour), instead of using the somewhat arbitrary “feels like your earlobe” from the article, make a dough window. Pull off a small amount of kneaded dough, roll it into a ball, smoosh it out, and use the fingers on both hands to gently pull it into a thin film. If you can get a film thin enough to see light through, you’ve got developed dough! If the window resists stretching, breaks before becoming thin, or looks unevenly opaque, you’ll need to keep kneading. Don’t knead too much either, because once you overstress the gluten the whole protein network will break down and won’t be able to capture any gas from the yeast. The 5 minutes of kneading in the recipe sounds a little short to me. I usually go for 8-10 minutes.

    Also, watch your temperatures. Follow the instructions on the yeast bottle/packet so that you activate the yeast (if necessary) but don’t kill it with liquid additions that are too hot.

    Bread baking can be difficult because the end results rely so much on a precise, multi-step process. There are a lot of good websites out there with tips and recipes.

  28. jamesBrauer66 says:

    Frozen bread dough is the way to go for me. I like to let it rise then punch it down vertically, then stretch it to make homemade pizza crust.

    Maybe it is full of Chinese wheat gluten or less than whole grains, but after eating white bread for 40 some years I haven’t grown a third eye or anything.

  29. CreativeLinks says:

    @To Everyone:

    First off, for a $1.95, I get a fresh baked buttery french baguette loaf from my local bakery. (shaeadeu bakery)–and trust me, it tastes spectacular.

    My point was that it was strange to see this posting on CONSUMERIST. Because, lets face it, once you include your time, the cost of the energy to heat your oven, ingredients, etc. There doesn’t seem to be any savings here.

    But apparently, people here enjoy not only saving bread–but making it as well :)

    So I stand corrected.

  30. balthisar says:

    @levenhopper: Good Eats had an episode about wheat substitution just last night!

  31. kip says:

    Am I cheating if I use the KitchenAid to do the kneading for me?

  32. MeOhMy says:

    I love baking bread, and my homemade bread is definitely better than storebought. You won’t reap huge financial benefits doing this (it is cheaper, though), but you DO get to control what’s in your bread. No HFCS, no weird chemicals, no preservatives, etc.

    Although for a beginner wanting to give it a try, I would recommend just hand-forming the loaves and doing them on a baking sheet. You don’t really need loaf pans. If you don’t have them, don’t let that stop you!

  33. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Am I cheating if I use the KitchenAid to do the kneading for me?

    No. In fact, the way I use my bread machine is to mix and develop the yeast sponge, then to knead and proof the super-wet dough that makes the big, chewy holes. I bake on a stone in my oven. Mmmm, crackly and tasty. I can go nuts with pesto and olive oil dip.

  34. selianth says:

    @Dervish: You warn not to knead the dough too much but from my experience it’s virtually impossible to knead “too much” if you’re doing it by hand. It’s easier to do if you’re using a Kitchenaid and very easy to if you’re using a Cuisinart. I often use the Kitchenaid mixer and just keep a close eye on it. There is enough of a window between “kneaded enough” and “kneaded too much” to be safe.

  35. MeOhMy says:

    @kip:

    Am I cheating if I use the KitchenAid to do the kneading for me?

    Heck no. Heck, my KitchenAid is the whole reason I started baking bread. My wife wanted the mixer for Christmas and I found a good deal (via Consumerist, as a matter of fact). She doesn’t bake much, but the KitchenAid sure is nice to have around when she does. Well, rather than let that thing sit around most of the time, I figured I’d put it to good use.

  36. MeOhMy says:

    BTW, while it takes about 2 hours from start to finish, it only requires about 15 minutes of actual human interaction.

  37. Slytherin says:

    Can I throw in a pork-flavored cardboard box for that extra “zing”?

  38. hoo_foot says:

    I bake my own bread occasionally, but the marginal cost savings is not worth all of the work. It’s only a few cents cheaper than the bread sold at the bakery a block away from me, and sadly, the bakery’s bread usually tastes better than my own.

  39. I made my own foccacia bread once.

    Besides waiting for the yeast to rise, it was pretty easy.

    Was tasty too, because I put in sea salt, red pepper, and rosemary.

    Darn.

    I might have to make some this weekend.

  40. Rabbigrrl says:

    I just want to know how Ancientsociety bakes bread in a crock pot….

  41. Graciela says:

    I second the recommendation above for the NY Times “No Knead” bread recipe. There’s absolutely no effort involved. Just an overnight rise, then forming and baking. The long, slow rise makes the bread more tasty than the recipes that call for a lot of yeast for a more rapid process.

  42. TVarmy says:

    Yeah, homemade bread is great, when it’s made right. There’s a lady in town who has a PHd in chemistry, and is trying to start up a research lab, but she’s also decided a good source of supplemental income would be to sell homemade bread (She has enough cash for the lab). Unfortunately, she doesn’t like to use recipes (Go figure, based on her profession) and decided to teach herself how to make bread. I’ve tried the results. They’re dry, tasteless and amorphous, appearing to have once risen and then collapsed. Based on my quick taste/autopsy of it, I believe she didn’t use any salt, and little to no fat/oil (No fat is fine for baugettes and some other loaves, but this is an American white loaf!).

    I know I shouldn’t be hating on someone starting a home business of sorts, but I don’t care if you’re Walmart, Starbucks, or a guy down the street: If your product is crappier than what’s available at the store, and you charge 3 to 6 times more (Her loafs, after their collapse, are somewhere between 1/3rd to 1/2 of a loaf, and she charges about $4 a loaf), I won’t buy it.

    Forget that rant. I’m just sick of her trying to sell it in church, and feeling guilty about not buying it, because I am friends with her. I just don’t know a good way to tell her she needs to use a recipe, or at least a better technique.

  43. TVarmy says:

    @kip: Are you cheating if you wear shoes in a marathon?

    Seriously, if you love to bake, a KitchenAid is a godsend. It kneads bread just as well, and it makes cakes and cookies so much easier. Sure, you can whip the egg whites, cream the sugar, and other light work with a hand-held mixer, and then stir the rest of the stuff with a spoon, but it’s just strain on your arm. The mixer is doing most of the work, but it’s vibrating at the same time. That’s the fast track to carpal tunnel. Then, you have to mix it with a spoon, and that’s hard to do, so it’s a double-whammy.

    As for doing it all with no mixer, it is possible. Keep in mind, though, that you might become a bottleneck in your cooking. Back before mixers, people with “a light hand” were admired for being able to whip egg whites and cream butter well, as others had to settle for sub-par results. If I couldn’t use a mixer, I would probably go right back to cake mix and store bought frosting.