Aprons on and ingredients at the ready! Its time to ace the bread-baking scene like a pro and hit your oven with a vengeance. Checkout our handy-dandy guide and rise to the occasion with fun easy bread recipes to enjoy!
Tie on an apron, unleash your inner domestic celestial, look for some easy bread recipes and jump on the baking bandwagon! – Cause sometimes breaking bread is all you knead (need) for that perfect mood pick-me-up. Plus, rolling and punching dough is super cathartic, and the thought of eating a slice of homemade bread amps the experience of making it to a whole new level. If you’re ready to board the loaf train, here’s the HoneyKids easy guide to baking bread in the comforts of your home…
What you’ll need to bake your own bread
Chances are, you’ll probably have most of these ingredients at home. But what most non-bread bakers won’t have is… you guessed it, yeast. Yeast is that super-cool living microorganism (!!) that makes your bread dough rise with air bubbles in the crumb. Did we mention that yeast belongs to the fungus family? There are three types of yeast usually found in your local supermarket or online grocery: Active Dry, Instant/Rapid Rise Yeast and Fresh yeast.
1. Active Dry
It’s dry, granular in texture (similar to cornmeal) and needs to be mixed with lukewarm water to activate (proofing). After you mix it with water, you add it to your dry ingredients. Active Dry yeast is the most common variety of yeast sold in grocery stores, available in sachets and glass jars. If you have yeast left in a glass jar, it’s best to store it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh and active.
2. Instant/Rapid Rise
Instant or rapid-rise yeast is dry and made in a similar process as active dry yeast. Its particles are fine, making it easier to dissolve with other ingredients when mixed. It activates more quickly and doesn’t need to be proofed. You just need to add it to your dry ingredients. It also helps dough rise faster than other yeasts. Perfect for quick baking projects and you won’t have to wait for multiple rises.
3. Fresh or cake yeast
Trot over to the refrigerated dairy section of the supermarket, and you might come across small blocks of fresh yeast (also called compressed yeast or cake yeast). Unlike its counterparts, this yeast is soft and rubbery in texture. Since it has a two-week shelf life, it works best when stored in the refrigerator. Crumble it into small pieces, and mix directly into the ingredients or soften it with warm water before use.
4. Fresh/sourdough starters
Sourdough starters are made from the flour’s natural bacteria after it is mixed with water. Basically, it’s made by fermenting flour and water. You’ll need to feed it at least once a week to keep it healthy and happy. Some people have kept their sourdough starters for years!
While any brand of all-purpose (plain) flour works, you can also try wholewheat, bread flour or other speciality flours. The more bread baking experience you get, the easier it is to try out other kinds of flour. As a beginner, we recommend using bread flour or all-purpose white flour.
6. Salt and water
For salt, it’s best to use either sea salt because it doesn’t have an unpleasant flavour, or fine salt as it’s easier to measure. Tap water is fine for bread making, though it’s recommended to use bottled mineral water. Distilled is a no-no. Also, don’t be afraid to add too much water! It introduces softness and lightness to your bread, which is what you want.
Many bread recipes require a hint of sugar and with good reason. Yeast and sugar are a match made in heaven for working that bread dough for the final bake-off. The mix releases carbon dioxide gas while baking to give you a fluffy and delicious loaf of bread you will love.
This sneaky ingredient works like magic on your loaf of bread, making it soft to the bite and with a delish soft crumb.
9. Digital scale
Any pastry chef will tell you that the only way to measure flour to the exact gram is by using a digital scale. Baking is a science, folks! Also, most bread recipes are written in either grams or ounces, so using measuring cups won’t work.
10. Dutch oven
Pricey and not necessary, but we reckon they’re worth it. They’re also handy for slow cooking and making stews.
Now that you have your supplies, here are some easy bread recipes to try at home:
1. Artisan bread
Master the art of Gen Z bread-making because recipes are only getting easier and easier. This soft artisan bread by Cafe Delites requires no fuss, no kneading, no dough hooks or stand mixers, and is super easy to make. You get a delicious open-crumb, fluffy, and chewy crust bread that pairs perfectly with a hot stew or soup. Plus, it takes less than three hours to make. You will need five ingredients- including flour, sugar, yeast, oil and warm water. Mix all the ingredients, keep it aside for two hours to rise, fold the dough and pop it into the oven in a covered hot pot. Easy peasy!
2. Irish soda bread
If you’re scared to use yeast, then this is the bread for you. Another reason we love soda bread is that the buttermilk gives the bread that extra creamy, nutty flavour that Irish soda bread is known for. Thing is, you’ll need to use cold butter, which is tough in sunny Singapore. Our top tip? Close all the doors, blast the AC and try out this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
3. Foccacia with olives and rosemary
Apart from being one of our absolute faves to order at Italian restaurants, foccacia is easy to make and tastes great paired with a hearty soup or stew. You’ll need to use yeast for this foccacia with olives and rosemary recipe from Epicurious and let it rise around three times. Get the kids to press their fingertips all over the dough at the last step – they’ll love it!
4. Classic white loaf
Nothing says comfort food more than a classic white loaf, and this recipe from Jamie Oliver ticks all the boxes. Although this recipe involves a few more steps than the other recipes above, it’s worth all the work. You’ll need to proof your dough twice – it’s what gives the bread its light, fluffy texture.
5. Dutch oven bread
Not only does the bread from this Tasty recipe come out looking super photogenic (pictured up top), it’s also really easy to make. Yep, time and attention are all you need – not much pastry chef skills. Also, if you don’t have a Dutch oven, a heavy-lidded oven-safe pot will do. Remember, when baking bread, patience is key!
6. Fluffy milk bread
Looking for something a little sweeter for the kids (or even yourself) to nom? This fluffy bread, also known as Hokkaido milk bread, is just the thing that you’d want to make. Plus, they’re not that complicated to do! We found this milk bread recipe from What to Cook Today that is easy to follow, requires no kneading, and no roux starter. Too good to be true? Try it out and let us know!
7. Pull apart garlic bread
Sure, we could cheat and make garlic bread in under 10 minutes, but where’s the fun in that? This garlic bread recipe from Gather for Bread promises to keep it simple for all you new bakers. Prep time only takes 30 minutes, and while you wait for it to rise and then bake, you can squeeze in some reading or an episode on Netflix. Before you know it: Voila! Your own garlic bread.
8. Healthy banana bread
Banana bread was the hot baking trend during the Covid-19 circuit breaker but who says we can’t do it again? Swap out some ingredients for whole wheat flour, unsweetened applesauce, and almond milk to give it a healthy spin. We’re certain no one will be able to tell the difference! Follow this recipe from Real Simple.
The more you get into bread making, the more you’ll be tempted to keep going. Once you’ve mastered these recipes, you can move on to more complicated bread recipes like this sourdough bread one.
So give it a go and enjoy all that gluten, folks. You deserve it!