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How to Make Perfect Homemade Bread Without a Bread Machine

Updated on September 29, 2011

How to make homemade bread.

There are few aromas more delightful than the smell of home baked bread. It's an activity that has diminished in the hectic pace of modern life, but it's a very satisfying and rewarding experience.

Fresh Baked Bread

Who doesn't love the smell of homemade bread baking in the oven? I find the whole process of making bread to be very theraputic. I can stand and knead the dough and just let my mind wander, it's so relaxing. I guess it's also a way to relieve some of that pent up frustration and stress...something physical. It's the pushing and turning, the wonderful smell of yeast and dough, the simplicity and hominess of our daily bread being formed with my own two hands. If you have never tried making your own bread, you'll be surprised how easy it is! Here's one of our favorite all purpose recipes. Nothing fancy, just plain old-fashioned white bread. Enjoy.

How to Make Bread

How to make yeast bread.

How do you make bread? Baking bread at home is easier than you think.  Perfect homemade bread every time!
How do you make bread? Baking bread at home is easier than you think. Perfect homemade bread every time!

How to Make Bread from Scratch

Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter is the greatest of all feasts.
James Beard from Beard on Bread, 1980

Bread has been around for over 10,000 years. The Egyptians are credited with inventing the oven and discovering leavening agents. Flour milling is credited to the Greeks. The Romans improved on the process, and then brought the art of bread making to Europe.

How to make white bread



  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 2 cups lukewarm milk (scalded then cooled)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 7 to 8 cups all-purpose flour
  • Butter (or margarine), softened

Scald the Milk

Bread making tips - Scald the Milk
Bread making tips - Scald the Milk

Place 2 cups of milk in a small saucepan. Scald the milk, then allow to cool.

Scalding milk means bringing it nearly to a boil, preferably in a thick-bottomed pan. You will need to stir regularly to avoid having a protein skin form on the surface and to keep the milk proteins and sugars from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Scalding serves to kill potentially harmful bacteria in the milk and destroys enzymes that keep the milk from thickening in recipes. Your milk will be scalded when you see tiny bubbles begin to form along the edges.

Warm water to 105-110 degrees

A crucial step in the success of bread baking!
A crucial step in the success of bread baking!

Warm 3/4 cup water to 105-110 degrees F.If the water is not warm enough, the yeast will not be activated. If it's too warm, it will kill the yeast. Use a thermometer until you know by feel the exact temperature you need. This is a crucial step in the success of bread baking!

Proofing the yeast

Dissolve the yeast in warm water to proof.
Dissolve the yeast in warm water to proof.

Proof the yeast

Dissolve the yeast and 1 T of the sugar in a large bowl with the warm water.

To activate yeast the first step is called proofing and is a way to test the yeast to make sure it is alive and still active. This is accomplished by mixing the yeast in a warm liquid. In order for yeast to become very active it needs food. It's favorite food is sugar, simple sugars to be precise (glucose and fructose).

Yeast - "the soul of the bread".

"Bread deals with living things, with giving life, with growth, with the seed, the grain that nurtures. It is not coincidence that we say bread is the staff of life."

- Lionel Poilane

Combine ingredients ...

Stir in the scalded milk, remaining 2 T sugar, shortening, salt and 4 cups of the flour into the proofed yeast mixture. Beat until smooth. Mix in enough of the remaining flour to make the dough easy to handle.

I usually turn the dough out on a floured board and work the additional flour in by hand. This way I can get a feel of the dough and a better sense of when it's had enough flour. The dough shouldn't be sticky.

Knead the dough

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface.

Knead about 10 minutes.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic; about 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl; turn dough over in bowl until greased side is up.This will prevent the dough from drying out as it rises.

Let rise in a warm place.

Let rise until doubled.
Let rise until doubled.

Cover and let rise

Cover; let rise in warm place until double, about 1 hour. (Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.)

Punch down dough; divide into halves. Roll each half into rectangle, 18x9 inches. Roll up tightly, beginning at narrow end. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal well; press in ends of roll. Press each end with side of hand to seal; fold ends under.

Place loaves seam sides down in 2 greased loaf pans, 9 x 5 x 3 or 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2 inches. Brush lightly with butter. Let rise until double, about 1 hour.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place loaves on low rack so that tops of pans are in center of oven. Pans should not touch each other or sides of oven. Bake until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped, 25 to 30 minutes. Immediately remove from pans. Brush tops of loaves with butter; cool on wire racks.

Makes 2 Loaves.

How to Make Bread

There are many great bread recipes, whether you make your bread by hand the old-fashioned way, or you use the convenience of a bread machine. When you want to learn how to make bread, there are many great bread machine recipes including a great banana bread recipe which can be made directly in the bread maker.

Today, many people are trying to find new ways for how to save money on their grocery bills. Everyone wants to make their dollar stretch a little farther and making your own bread provides a healthier and cheaper alternative than store-bought. Also, many of our easy, family tested recipe favorites are also very gentle on the budget as well.

If you are familiar with crockpot cooking, you might be surprised at the results you can get from using clay pot cooking. This method is very similar to a crock pot, in the sense that you simply add the food and let it cook, but the results are absolutely amazing. The food is much more flavorful and succulent, and the cooking process takes little more than filling the clay pot. It's something your family will surely enjoy.

If you liked our article on how to make bread, please visit one of our other delicious recipes. We have some very easy to make and extremely kid friendly chicken strips made from chicken breasts and a delicious one pan Fruit Crunch Cake for a quick and easy desert. One of our families favorite breakfast items is a yummy breakfast pizza that is always a hit.

We've used these recipes over and over and the results are always delicious. Saving money on groceries does not have to mean depriving your family.!


Submit a Comment

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 5 years ago

    Hi Bob, I'm glad to hear you're going to start making your own bread. If you haven't tried it before, you're in for a real treat!

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick

    We have decided to bake our own bread so this hub is most helpful, thanks.

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 5 years ago

    I think a lot of people have the impression that making bread is complicated or difficult. Fortunately, it is so simple and nothing compares to the wonderful smell of bread baking in the oven. Yummy!

  • lemonkerdz profile image

    lemonkerdz 5 years ago from LIMA, PERU

    Bread is o easy to make, i csn't understand why more people don't make their own. Although it doesn't last as long but it tastes so musch better. thanks for the hub and informative pictures.

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 7 years ago

    AustralianNappies, you are so right. And not only does it become really easy as you get used to making your own bread, but there is something very relaxing about it as well. Oh, and of course there's that fresh homemade bread straight from the oven! Yummy! :)

  • AustralianNappies profile image

    AustralianNappies 7 years ago from Australia

    Great Hub. I'm not a great cook but I do make my own bread most of the time, and love experimenting by adding different ingredients to it. It really is simple and quick to make your own bread - No need for a 'Bread Maker' because once you've done it a few times, it's really a no-brainer!

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 7 years ago

    Hi Polly, I hope you like it! I love the smell and taste of fresh bread from the oven, and it certainly brings my kids running :) Thanks for reading.

  • Pollyannalana profile image

    Pollyannalana 7 years ago from US

    My mom was the bread maker and there was no better smell or bread, I will try this. I can think of nothing better in winter than a big pot of soup and a warm loaf of bread with real butter! Thank you


  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 7 years ago

    Hi cwarden, making bread is really not very difficult. You should give it a try! I agree, there is nothing like the smell of fresh break, I just LOVE it and it always brings my kids to the table fast!

  • cwarden profile image

    cwarden 7 years ago from USA

    Reading this and looking at your pictures has made me wish I was a much better cook! Nothing like fresh hot bread. Very nice!

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 7 years ago

    Hi angela, I've never used chia flour myself, but if you are trying to go completely gluten free you might need to get a good cookbook to get your started. If you just want to incorporate some into your diet, you could probably start substituting small amounts ... like 1/4 of the flour with chia flour and adjust according to the feel of the bread. Good luck!

  • profile image

    angela cruz 7 years ago

    can you please help me incorporate Chia flour in the bread?


  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 7 years ago

    oh yea, nothing better than hot bread and butter. Yummy! Thanks for stopping by.

  • wordsscriber profile image

    wordsscriber 7 years ago from California

    I like hot bread when it first comes out of the oven. Thanks for the visual.

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 8 years ago

    I hope you like it Origin. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Origin profile image

    Origin 8 years ago from Minneapolis

    I've always liked fresh bread! I'll have to give this a shot! Thanks!

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 8 years ago

    Thanks Darren ... I agree, aromatherapy!

  • Darren Haynes profile image

    Darren Haynes 8 years ago from Maryland USA

    Great Hub Lamme,

    I used to make my own bread at home like 10 years ago. I am inspired to start doing it again. Homemade bread baking in the oven just fills the house with the best smell ever. Fantastic aromatherapy.

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 8 years ago

    I agree! We have a bread machine and love it for its convenience, but it doesn't replace our homemade bread baking in the oven. Thanks for your comments.

  • billyaustindillon profile image

    billyaustindillon 8 years ago

    I love the smell of freshly baked bread - thanks for the recipe - we do have a bread machine so this will be nice to make bread outside of it :)

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 8 years ago

    Thanks stacies29, let me know how you like it!

  • stacies29 profile image

    stacies29 8 years ago from Washington DC

    This sounds delicious. I am gonna try it out. Great hub.

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 8 years ago

    Cybersupe, it's those nostalgic memories that warm my heart. I think there is something that really touches us, it brings us back to hearth and home. Fresh baked bread does the same thing for me! Thanks for sharing.

  • CYBERSUPE profile image


    WOW Lamme--You hit a soft spot in my heart--I am the All Time bread lover. It all started when I was a baby, during the Great Depression, when my Mother( who is now 97) served me bread in warm milk. That was the begining of my Love for Bread. I Look forward to more of your awesome hub's.

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 8 years ago

    You're welcome elayne001 ... I hope you try baking bread, you'll be hooked ;)

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Very well done. Thanks for taking the time to teach us well. Yum!

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 8 years ago

    Thanks bingskee! I hope you enjoy it.

  • bingskee profile image

    bingskee 8 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

    oh, i love, love this hub! am gonna try this one day. am just not sure when (arggh.. the busy sked!).

    made me hungry. :-(

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 8 years ago

    Thanks dohn121 ... you know I have your sticky rice recipe bookmarked ;)

  • dohn121 profile image

    dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

    You know, before coming over here, I had no idea of how to make bread. I'm bookmarking this and will be coming back to giving this a shot! Thanks so much for sharing such a comprehensive, easy-to-follow recipe.

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 8 years ago

    Thanks kaja_mel, I appreciate that!

  • kaja_mel profile image

    kaja_mel 8 years ago from Saraland, AL

    Thanks for the hub. I have it bookmarked.

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 8 years ago

    Thanks Sally ... I was thinking the same thing about the issue of making bread at school. It's so sad that it's come to this.

  • Sally's Trove profile image

    Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

    I hope all who read your Hub will dive into the homemade, handmade bread-baking experience. Your instructions guarantee a couple of heavenly loaves.

    If you don't mind, Lamme, @ jayjay, I am so sorry to hear that you can no longer bake bread with the children at school. Our society has become an agent of restriction rather than a model of trust, health, and self-sufficiency. Yet, you can probably bring homemade cupcakes to soccer practice...but what does that teach the children about making cupcakes for themselves?

    Thumbs up!

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 8 years ago

    Thanks jayjay40, I love making bread too! There's something very relaxing about it.

  • jayjay40 profile image

    jayjay40 8 years ago from Bristol England

    I love making bread there is something so therapeutic about it. Used to make it with the children at school until health and safety says you have to have a food handling certificate. Great hub, love the way you broke it up into easy to follow steps.

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 8 years ago

    You're welcome saravai ... thanks for stopping by!

  • sarovai profile image

    sarovai 8 years ago

    Thank u Lamme for sharing this hub about homemade bread.

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 8 years ago

    You are so right, askjanbrass ... quick breads are fast and delicious. Our favorite is lemon bread, but there are thousands of combinations to try. We used to make a wonderful chocolate zucchini bread. The nice think with quick breads is you don't have to let it rise, or fuss with kneading the dough. Yummy stuff. Thanks for your comment.

  • askjanbrass profile image

    askjanbrass 8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    You can make a lot of great breads without having a bread machine. No-knead breads are particularly fun to make and require little to no tools.

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 8 years ago

    Thanks drbj, I think there's something that touches our soul when we smell bread baking. It's one of those things that brings us home ... it's so comforting. Maybe that's why I'm so passionate about baking my own bread. Thanks for reading.

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 8 years ago from south Florida

    I could almost smell the aroma of baking bread while reading this fascinating article, Lamme.

    Did you know that when you want to sell your home, it's a great idea to have bread baking in the oven. The aroma often produces a pleasant, homey atmosphere that puts the buyer in a pleasant, homey mood.

    Thanks for creating that mood.

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 8 years ago

    Thanks hubpageswriter ... nothing like fresh homemade bread!

  • profile image

    hubpageswriter 8 years ago

    Such a cool hub, I didn't know that the process can be made simple by breaking it up into steps. Hub up.


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