The Bread Recipe You've Always Wanted
Updated: May 24, 2022
Delicious versatile dough that is no-knead, fridge-safe for up to two weeks, and easy to shape.
As someone who has never been a successful baker, but a big dreamer, I knew that finding an easy-to-make bread recipe was important. I have always dreamed of being the kind of mom that makes fresh-baked bread for my family each week. Instead, I'm more like the mom that tells her kids to blow off the dirt first from the goldfish they found in their carseat. Luckily, this bread recipe has changed the game and allowed my to fulfill my somewhat naïve dream by baking bread whenever I gosh darn feel like it.
You will eat the entire loaf in one sitting. Thankfully this batch provides 3-4. Thank me later!
After the craze of sourdough bread in 2020, and my many failed attempts at baking, I decided to admit defeat and signed up for a breadmaking class. Initially, it was meant to be a fun girls' night, but friends started dropping out like flies and I ended up attending breadmaking classes alone. C'est la vie.
This bread making class showed me how to prepare a universal bread dough that could sit in the fridge after rising for up to two weeks, allowing me to bake bread at my leisure. Now, I've got an easy to make dough that can be turned into a flat baguette, round loaves, ciabatta, and focaccia.
Bread Making Tips/Supplies
To make the perfect baked good, there are a few tips and tricks that had somehow eluded me. To master bread dough, there are a few pieces of equipment that I would recommend:
Digital Scale - baking by weight instead of measurement gives more accurate results. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of baking and many measurements are easy to convert to grams. I had no idea that I was inaccurately scooping and measuring my flour, leading to flat, dry dough
Danish Dough Hook - I don't even use my stand-mixer to bake bread anymore. My Danish dough hook makes whisking and clean-up a breeze
Lidded Container - a large bowl that comes with a lid that can be cracked open for rise time is a must-have for this recipe. It makes storing the dough in your fridge easy as well
Bake with steam - add a tray of water on the bottom rack of your oven to help develop a crust
When mixing in additions to your dough, add them in after the "window pane stage". This is where you can pull apart your dough and it is see-through. Fat inhibits yeast growth, meaning that if you are adding in too much fat early on, you'll stop yeast production and have a flat, chewy loaf. Most additions are implemented before the second "proof". After adding in your additional ingredients, be sure to proof for a second time and bake dough at 350 degrees Fahrenheit so the fats you've added don't burn
Have fun and experiment! Try adding different seasonings and mixtures to create a truly artisanal loaf of bread
The Bread of Your Dreams
3 cups (1 lb. 9 oz.) lukewarm water - around 100 degrees Fahrenheit
1 Tbsp granulated yeast
1 - 1 and 1/2 Tbsp salt
6 1/2 cups (2 lbs.) all-purpose flour - can do half whole wheat, half white. For this basic loaf, I would not recommend bread flour because it creates a very dense loaf (think bagel versus bread)
Oil of choice to oil bowl for rise
Warm water to 100 degrees Fahrenheit
Add yeast and salt to water. Mix slightly and allow it to sit for 5 minutes
Mix in flour. Kneading is not necessary
Lightly grease your lidded bowl with the oil of your choice. Place dough into this bowl and crack the lid. Allow to rise for two hours on the counter. If you are not yet ready to bake, dough can be placed in the refrigerator after this step
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
Shape the dough and allow it to rest in its shape for 20 minutes on the counter (40 minutes if the dough has been refrigerated). It can rest for as long as 90 minutes before it starts to over-proof, meaning it will fall flat while baking
Pour 1 cup of hot water into a cookie sheet on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake dough in a loaf pan, cast-iron pan, or baking stone for 15 minutes. Then, begin to check on the dough every 5-10 minutes until it forms a golden crust. Baking times will vary dependent on how large your loaves are and what shape you've made them
This dough is perfect for experimenting with. It is fridge-safe for up to 2 weeks, allowing you to bake at your convenience rather than waiting for multiple batches of dough to rise. At the end of the day, it really doesn't take any fancy ingredients or tools to make your family and friends fresh, homemade bread!