Easy Homemade White Bread

When I moved to England I left behind one of my prized possessions: my bread maker. It cost me $2 at a neighbourhood garage sale and it had served me well. Especially when buying sliced bread was pricy and it was much cheaper to make your own. My bread maker made it practical to chuck the ingredients into it’s tin run off to class and then come home to fresh bread and a delicious smelling house. Without it, I think I would have continued buying bread (even though it doesn’t taste nearly as good) simply because I could not spare the time to wait around for bread to rise. That simple 2 dollar investment ended up saving me some cash while giving my tastebuds a serious payback.┬áBut alas, it now sits all on it’s lonesome back in Canada waiting for some attention.To help deal with this devastating separation, I needed a simple, relatively quick, and decently idiot-proof recipe that would give me a satisfying loaf every time. Thankfully, sliced bread is actually a lot cheaper over here than it it back home (55p or $0.83) so my wallet wasn’t putting a rush on my search. Eventually I came across a recipe that swapped kneading for stirring. I was in! Stirring I can do (I’ve made many a batch of cookies as training), but kneading? That’s where my confidence ended. Fortunately, this recipe offers kneading with training wheels. At one point, you do get your hands dirty, but you have all the stirring to give you a sense of what the dough should feel like. After making this recipe a few times I feel like I have a better sense of what dough should feel like and that I’m better equipped to try out a full-on just kneading recipe next time.

At the end of the day, this bread does deliver what I wanted it to. It takes 2 hours all in to make which isn’t long when you think of typical bread making times (a solid sourdough takes 3 days!!) and every time I’ve made it so far it’s been incredibly consistent. All in all, I am very pleased!! This recipe is definitely going to be a new staple!

Makes 1 loaf

  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  1. In a large bowl combine half the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, oil, and warm water. The temperature of the water is the only thing you need to get a knack for. You want it to feel hot to your finger, but not so hot that you’re tempted to pull your finger away. If the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast and if it’s too cold, the yeast won’t ferment quickly enough.
  2. Using a wooden spoon, beat everything together firmly for 2-3 minutes until the starter is nice and smooth.
  3. Stir in the remaining cup and a half of four. Don’t worry if all the flour doesn’t get incorporated (it never does for me).
  4. Leaving the spoon in, allow to rise for 10 minutes.
  5. Use the spoon to stir/beat down the dough to remove air bubbles.
  6. Repeat this until you’ve beaten down the dough 5 times. I usually have 2 timers going when I do this. One for the 10 minute risings and another set to 50 minutes to tell me when I’ve done all five. I’m just that forgetful.
  7. After the 5th beat down, turn the dough out onto a floured surface.
  8. Kneed the bread a few times until it’s nice and malleable. If there is any remaining flour in the bowl, this is the time to incorporate it.
  9. Now is a good time to preheat your oven to 400F (200C).
  10. Roll or push the dough into a long rectangle the length of your loaf tin but three times as wide.
  11. Fold the left third on top of the middle third and the right third over the middle. This will leave you with a nice loaf pan shaped hunk of dough.
  12. Generously flour the loaf tin and place the dough in it.
  13. Allow to rise for 30 mins.
  14. Using a sharp knife, make a few cuts in the top of the dough. This will allow air to escape as the loaf bakes.
  15. For a firmer crust, brush the top of the loaf with water or a beaten egg. I went for an egg white because I had some extras in the fridge.
  16. Bake the loaf for 20-30 mins until it’s nice and brown on the top and sounds hollow when you knock it.
  17. Cut yourself a BIG slice, slather it with butter and enjoy :) Don’t try to resist warm, fresh from the oven bread. It’s impossible.
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