When making bread…
…most people generally start out with basic homemade bread recipes with yeast.
Although many no-yeast breads are equally tasty and delectable, there is just something about a freshly-baked loaf of yeast-fermented bread that brings to happy memories to mind.
So let’s check out these simple and easy to make yeast bread recipes that anyone could make even without any previous baking experience!
Psst… Need an affordable Stand Mixer? >> Take a look at these! <<
What Is Yeast Bread?
For thousands of years, bread recipes of countless varieties have relied upon one crucial ingredient: yeast.
Sure, flour and other ingredients may be equally important. But it is hard to imagine how so many different types of bread could have been developed were it not for yeast. And although there are certainly many fine no-yeast bread recipes you can try, you really do need to incorporate yeast in the best traditional bread recipes.
Yeast is responsible for the fermentation of bread dough, which much of bread making is really all about. This fermentation process not only causes dough to rise and the resulting bread to become light, fluffy, and airy; it also imbues subtle and delectable flavors that are so much a part of the sensory experience of enjoying good bread.
Basics of Baking Bread with Yeast
When using yeast in your bread recipes, there are a few important things to keep in mind.
For starters, the yeast must be fresh and active. If your yeast has been languishing in your cupboard for a few years, chances are that it won’t effectively react with the other ingredients in your recipe. This will result in flat and dense bread that might as well not have included yeast at all.
Temperature plays an important role in enabling yeast to perform its necessary functions. The water in which you will sprinkle the yeast should neither be too cold or too hot. Placed in cold water, yeast will simply not be activated. Hot water on the other hand will kill the yeast before it can activate itself, so it will not make any significant improvement in the volume, texture, and flavor of the bread.
In most cases, you will also have to give the yeast sufficient time to work its magic. After kneading, dough is typically set aside to double in size before baking. This will allow time for air bubbles to develop, making your bread light and fluffy.
Homemade Bread Recipes With Yeast
Now let’s take a look at some recipes for you to try.
Basic Homemade Bread
This is about the simplest–yet tastiest– bread you could make!
The recipe is pretty much foolproof, and you probably already have all the ingredients in your home. An excellent beginner-level recipe for those new to baking!
1 tablespoon yeast (active dry yeast is best)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups water, warm (about 110° F)
6 cups all-purpose flour
More flour for dusting
Combine the yeast, sugar, salt, and warm water in a large bowl. Allow some time for the yeast to dissolve thoroughly.
Add the flour to the mix, a cup at a time. Mix well until the dough separates from the sides of the bowl.
Transfer the dough to a surface lightly dusted with flour.
Start kneading by folding the edge of the dough over. Press down on the dough with your hands then turn it to the side after each push. Keep kneading for about five minutes, occasionally sprinkling a little flour to keep the dough from sticking. Set the dough aside to rest.
Take a large mixing bowl and grease it lightly.
Knead the dough again for a few minutes before returning it to the bowl. Turn it over to get some grease on the surface then cover it up to rise in a warm spot. It should double in volume over the next couple of hours.
Push down on the dough and knead for a few minutes just to push out air bubbles. Divide the dough into two equal portions and place on a baking pan that has been dusted with cornmeal. Set aside to rest for about five minutes.
Before placing the bread in the oven, make some shallow slash marks across the top. Brush the loaves with a bit of cold water.Place the loaves in a 400° F oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes. You’ll know they’re ready when they turn golden brown and produce a hollow sound when tapped.
No-Knead Artisanal Bread
If you are ready to go beyond the basics, you might want to try your hand at making this no-knead artisanal bread. Don’t worry; despite the detailed instructions, this is almost as easy to make as the most basic breads. Best of all, the results will look impressive and taste great!
3 cups water, lukewarm (about 100° F)
1 tablespoon yeast (you may use active dry or instant yeast)
1 to 1 ½ tablespoons rock salt
6 ½ cups all-purpose flour (unbleached)
Cornmeal or flour for dusting
Sprinkle the yeast in the warm water and add the salt. With this particular recipe, you don’t have to wait for the yeast to dissolve.
Add the flour into the mixture and mix thoroughly until the flour is fully blended in. At this point, you should have dough that is just slightly gooey. Moisten your hands slightly if the dough becomes too difficult to manage. You don’t have to knead the dough too much; just make sure that it is wet all over and that it molds readily to the bowl.
Cover the bowl and set the dough aside for about two hours. At the end of that period, place the bowl in the fridge overnight. This will make it easier to manage.
Preheat your oven to 450° F.
Dust the top of the loaf with a good amount of flour. Make a few diagonal slashes across the top.
Place the bread in the oven and bake for 20 to 35 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the crust is firm and has a deep brown hue.
Take the bread out of the oven and let it cool on a wire rack before serving.
Amish Yeast Bread
This is another fairly simple yeast bread recipe that packs a lot of flavor underneath its delectable crust. It is easy enough to make, so you could always whip up a loaf or two when you get the urge for tasty homemade bread.
2 cups water (about 110° F)
2/3 cup white sugar
1 ½ tablespoons yeast (active dry yeast is best)
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
6 cups bread flour
Mix the sugar in warm water then stir in the yeast. Set it aside for a few minutes until the yeast is foamy and creamy.
Add the salt and oil to the yeast mixture. Sift the flour in, placing only one cup at a time.
Knead the mixture into dough on a surface lightly dusted with flour.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, and turn the dough over to coat it with a bit of oil.
Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and set aside for an hour to let the dough rise.
Punch the dough down with your hands and knead it for a few minutes. Divide the dough into two equal portions and shape it into loaves.
Place the individual portions into oiled loaf pans. Set aside for half an hour until the dough rises to about an inch above the top edge of the pans.
Place the loaves in the oven and bake for half an hour at 350° F.
Homemade French Bread
Everyone loves good French bread! With this recipe, you can enjoy its crunchy, crusty goodness any time. This bread is so tasty and perfect that you probably won’t ever have to buy French bread from a bakery again!
2 tablespoons yeast
½ cup warm water
2 cups hot water
3 tablespoons sugar
2 ½ teaspoons salt
1/3 cup oil
6 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 egg for brushing
Sprinkle the yeast into the warm water and set aside for about 10 minutes.
Mix the hot water, sugar, salt, oil, and three cups of the flour in a bowl. When combined thoroughly, add in the yeast mixture.
Add the rest of the flour into the bowl a cup at a time. After adding every cup, mix the ingredients together. Set the mixture aside when the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Divide the dough into three equal portions. Roll each portion on a floured surface and shape into rectangles. Keep rolling the dough into the form of a French loaf.
Transfer the dough to a baking pan. Make a few diagonal cuts across the top and brush with egg.
Let the dough rise for about half an hour more.
Place in a 375° F oven and bake for about minutes until the crust is golden brown.
We’ve only covered a few fairly simple yeast bread recipes, but you already have enough here to make up a pretty impressive repertoire. There are many more recipes for you to try out, and most will be just as easy to make.
As you gain more confidence, try expanding your range to cover more interesting and unique varieties. Bread making isn’t nearly as complicated as you might think, and you could be baking like a pro after only a few tries. With a bit of creativity and a healthy spirit of experimentation, you could come up with some unique and tasty variations.