I’ve always loved baking with yeast— the way it smells, the way it changes the shape of the dough. This bread is probably the easiest homemade bread recipes out there and it’s always a crowd favorite (especially when served warm with butter).
If you’ve never baked bread before, I think this is a great place to start. Read through the whole recipe first so you know what’s ahead. Even if the loaves are a bit lumpy, they will still taste great!
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Serves: 2 loaves
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups lukewarm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons active-dry yeast (or 1 packet)
room temperature butter, about 2 tablespoons
1. In a small mixing bowl, dissolve the sugar into the water. Sprinkle the yeast over top. There is no need to stir it up. Let it stand for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture is foamy and/or bubbling just a bit — this step will ensure that the yeast is active.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. When the yeast-water-sugar mixture is foamy, stir it up, and add it to the flour bowl. Mix until the flour is absorbed.
3. Cover bowl with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm spot to rise for at least an hour. (If you have the time to let it rise for 1.5 to 2 hours, do so — this will help the second rise go more quickly.)
4. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Grease two oven-safe bowls with about a tablespoon of butter each. Using two forks, punch down your dough, scraping it from the sides of the bowl, which it will be clinging to. As you scrape it down try to turn the dough up onto itself if that makes sense. You want to loosen the dough entirely from the sides of the bowl, and you want to make sure you’ve punched it down. Take your two spoons and divide the dough into two equal portions — eye the center of the mass of dough, and starting from the center and working out, pull the dough apart with the two spoons. Then scoop up each half and place into your prepared bowls.
5. Let the dough rise for about 20 to 30 minutes or until it has risen to just below or above (depending on what size bowl you are using) the top of the bowls.
6. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375º and make for 15 to 17 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and turn the loaves onto cooling racks. If you’ve greased the bowls well, the loaves should fall right out onto the cooling racks. If the loaves look a little pale and soft when you’ve turned them out onto your cooling racks, place the loaves into the oven (outside of their bowls) and let them bake for about 5 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.