Easy Homemade Bread Recipes

With an aroma to please any soul, freshly baked bread is the hallmark of a country kitchen.

| January/February 2010

Fresh baked bread is the perfect antidote for a cold winter day.

Fresh baked bread is the perfect antidote for a cold winter day.

Lori Dunn

Nothing says “home” like the aroma of fresh baked bread wafting from the oven, and nothing pleases guests or family members like the taste of that bread when it hits the table. Oven fresh bread is difficult to resist and doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming to create.

Although bread making involves several steps, the timing doesn’t need to be precise. It can be accomplished at your convenience, with steps in the recipe fitting between other activities. And some no-knead recipes require less than an hour of your time.

While experienced bakers may not need quite as many details, our instructions will enable even novice bread bakers to turn out old-fashioned white sandwich bread, tender dinner rolls, zesty Italian flatbread and a round artisanal loaf of incomparable texture.  

Though I sometimes use whole-grain flours, the only white flour I ever use is unbleached all-purpose flour. Also, for the sake of simplicity, all these recipes call for instant yeast, sometimes called rapid rise or bread machine yeast.

Bakers measure flour several different ways; the most accurate way is by weight, not volume. The weights of a given volume of packed versus scooped versus sifted flower varies substantially. A packed and leveled cup, the most consistent measure, of unbleached all-purpose flour weighs about 5 ounces. The following recipes are based on that measurement method.  

AUTHOR BIO: Jean Picard comes from a long line of farmers and delights in country living, even in town. A recipe developer and food writer, she enjoys cooking, eating and writing about comfort food and keeping traditions alive.

Jean Picard_2
2/5/2010 8:59:11 PM

Thank you, Judith, for your comment. I try to avoid all preservatives. However, ascorbic acid is simply common vitamin C. I use it often, stirring 1/4 teaspoon into a glass of water, giving me 1250 milligrams of vitamin C. Of course, there are many foods and substances that are natural and wholesome for most people but harmful, or even deadly, to others. I, for example, cannot eat melons without serious consequences. But a food is easier to avoid than an ingredient on a sometimes very long list of ingredients. I sympathize with you and wish you success and good health. --Jean Picard

Judith Hainaut
1/22/2010 8:21:45 AM

For years I have been extremely intolerant of the preservative known as "ascorbic acid" and it's variations - "polysorbate," etc. I never could find any side effects listed for this substance but, recently, they are now being listed (http://www.drugs.com/sfx/ascorbic-acid-side-effects.html). The reason I mention this in the context of the comments on your article is because you recommend yeast that may contain this ingredient. I accidentally purchased some of it about a year ago and made some bread and became ill because of the yeast which contained ascorbic acid. I'm trying to publicize this information everywhere I can for the sake of those others who become ill (sometimes it's diarrhea and worse including vomiting and even allergic reactions) and never know what cause is.

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