All the Bread That's Fit to Bake
Regardless of what you do or don't have in your pantry, we've got a recipe for you.
Forget toilet paper, the new panic-induced coronavirus-related shortage is all-purpose flour. One Facebook friend of mine put out the call to see who might want to split a 50-pound order. It was claimed in seconds.
It’s not just my particular Los Angeles-based friend group. Emily Heil, food writer for The Washington Post, wrote, “Suddenly, it seems like everyone on our Instagram feeds is a baker, turning out crusty loaves and lovingly showing off and naming their sourdough starters as if they were newborn babies.”
Stress-baking. Comfort-baking. Quarantine-baking. Whatever you want to call it, it’s one of the first major cultural moments of our new normal, as we bake bread, apart but together. Even I, perhaps one of the more reluctant bakers you’ll ever meet, have been reconsidering my sad, grey-looking sourdough starter, tucked away in the back of my fridge. It was given to me in what feels like a completely different moment in time (but was really just over a month ago). I’m newly inspired. That, and I finally found two bags of all-purpose flour at Whole Foods.
Assuming you, too, can get your hands on several cups of flour, and perhaps some packets of active dry yeast, there are plenty of bread projects to keep you busy for however long we are to hunker at home. No experience necessary.
Here are 20 homemade bread recipes to get you started.
Homemade bread basics
For most recipes, you’ll need flour of some sort, water, and salt. Yeast is helpful, but not absolutely necessary (so don’t stress if you can’t find it online or in stores). Sugar pops up here and there, as do milk and buttermilk and other grains, like oats. Truly, there are so many different bread recipes to make, you’re bound to find one you can make with whatever ingredients are on hand.
Don't want to be restricted by a limited pantry? Try your hand at these DIY ingredients. There's a first time for everything!
The truly ambitious (and house-bound) can spend the next five days developing their very own sourdough starter. All you need is milk, plain yogurt (full fat, with active cultures), white flour, water — and patience. The natural bacteria in the yogurt help get the starter going.
How to Make Self-Rising Flour
If your quick bread recipe calls for self-rising flour, and all you have is all-purpose (or whatever was left on the shelf), you can easily DIY it. For each cup of flour, whisk in 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Really. That’s it.
And while there are plenty of fantastic, delicious, and truly easy no-yeast bread recipes out there, the most industrious home cooks can also make their own yeast from dried fruit, water, and flour. It's just another way of describing a homemade sourdough starter, but thinking of it as growing your own yeast is very satisfying in a yeast shortage!
No-knead bread recipes
No-knead bread recipes are ideal for those of us under quarantine (and anyone who is just developing their bread-making skills). What these recipes need is time, more than energy, skill, or extra ingredients.
5-Minute Artisan Bread
First things thing — the five minutes in the title is the amount of hands-on time you need after the bread dough has rested. Still, this no-knead recipe from Leite’s Culinaria is as straightforward and simple as it gets — just active dry yeast, several cups flour, kosher salt, and warm water mixed well in a large bowl. This recipe can be used to make any shape loaf, from a boule to a baguette, or can be nestled into a bread pan for a classically-shaped loaf. The dough is plentiful enough to keep in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap, for up to 14 days, so you can bake whenever the craving strikes. Genius.
No-Knead Artisan Bread
Want some hand-holding for your first try? Learn directly from Zoë François, the CIA-trained pastry chef and co-author of the cookbook series Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, with a free 90-day trial subscription to Yummly Pro. (Auto-renews monthly at just $4.99 after that unless you cancel.) She'll walk you through each step, giving you experienced advice along the way. When you're done with that, be sure to try her cast-iron cinnamon rolls.
No-Knead Crusty Bread
This no-knead bread recipe from Yummly is also dead-simple and cooks off in a dutch oven lined with parchment paper.
Sourdough bread recipes
Have starter, will bake delicious, chewy bread.
Whole Grain, No-Knead Sourdough Bread
For Jenny McGruther of Nourished Kitchen, this no-knead sourdough made with einkorn flour is a go-to. “There’s a beautiful tradition to sourdough baking, which was the dominant form of raising breads until early in the 20th century when baker’s yeast began to replace sourdough starter as a leavening ingredient,” she writes. And she includes key tips for each step of the process. (Pro tip: keep your starter in the fridge, not at room temperature). No einkorn flour in your pantry? Bread flour or all purpose flour make fine substitutes.
How To Make Sourdough Bread
This reliable BBC recipe for sourdough bread includes a bit of brown sugar, and there’s some kneading involved. Not confident in your kneading skills? Pull out your stand mixer and dough hook and let it do the work for you.
Instant Pot Sourdough Bread
Instant Pot + instant yeast = magic! Full disclosure: There’s no starter in this recipe, just yogurt. But that doesn’t make it any less sour. The truly amazing part is this loaf is ready in six hours, from start to finish (as opposed to days).
Bread recipes without yeast
There are scads of no-yeast bread recipes, if you — like so many of us — are without. Better yet, these easy recipes don't require any rise time, so you can get your fix of fresh bread, stat.
Beer bread was the first bread I ever made. I remember it feeling so illicit, pouring a solitary beer into the batter. (My parents never drank. A six-pack would last us the entire winter). Beer bread was the perfect rainy-day accompaniment to the family-recipe beef and vegetable stew — and easy enough for a grade-school kid to master. This recipe, from I Am Baker, is a great base from which to riff. Amanda Rettke, creator of I Am Baker, includes versions with cheese, apples, and even chocolate.
Irish Brown Bread
There are lots of Irish brown bread recipes out there, and by all means, try a few to see what you like. Some have oatmeal. Some have buttermilk. Most rely on a mix of white and whole wheat flours. This version, from Sunday Bakers, also includes variations for White Irish Soda Bread, a plant-based bread, and delectable scones.
Basic Quick Bread
A quick bread just means you don’t need yeast, which is one reason why it’s so quick — there’s no need to let the dough rise. “This adaptable savory or sweet quick bread is the perfect blank canvas to make time and time again with any flavor combination you can think of!” says Kristin Hoffman of Baker Betty. Indeed, she offers a half-dozen delicious variations, one of which is sure to suit your tastes.
Oatmeal Whole Wheat Quick Bread
Rolled oats and honey give this whole-wheat bread recipe from New Nostalgia that extra something-something. With a total time of just 35 minutes, this easy recipe can turn you into a bread baker in no time.
Other great bread recipes
Once you get the hang of making your own bread, there are almost endless possibilities.
Best Challah (Egg Bread)
Challah bread is made with eggs — which is where it gets its signature yellow color. But it’s the braid that really gets me. The recipe, from Smitten Kitchen, is extra special which Deb Perelman explains succinctly: “[Challah] is mildly decadent and seriously delicious and it is a known fact across all lands (or at least diners in the tri-state area) that when slightly staled, makes the most amazing French toast there could be. Seriously.” The recipe makes two loaves of bread, so set one aside for a second-time-around breakfast.
If you have a soft spot for a soft pretzel — as I do — you’ll love this at-home pretzel bread. Aimee, of Apron Archives, explains the special extra step. “The extra step where you boil the dough in a bath of baking soda is what makes it pretzel bread,” she says. Don't skimp on the pretzel salt.
Homemade Pita Bread
Pita bread exists in that delicious space between an unleavened flatbread and, well, bread-bread. Unlike other flatbreads, there’s yeast. They’re easy, but not obvious. “The trick with pitas, I learned after making a triple batch, is that a) they need to be rolled out as evenly as possible (overly thin or thick spots in the same pita round make for trouble when puffing) and b) the top of the pita dough needs to be a tad bit moist (no dry dough!) in order to perform the puff,” explains Mel of Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.
Hokkaido Milk Bread
Japanese milk bread has its own devoted fan club — for good reason, of course. Milk bread is impossibly soft, light, fluffy, and sweet. And this thorough recipe from Curious Nut is a great place to start.
Best Bread Machine Bread
If you have a bread machine, it's time to pull it out of the basement! Bread machines take so much of the guesswork out of baking bread. And this recipe from So Tasty, So Yummy delivers the classic white sandwich bread of your dreams. Don't like the oddly-shaped loaves that bread machines often produce? Select the dough setting instead, and turn the finished dough into a loaf pan to bake off in the oven.
French Bread (Bread Machine)
French bread, without the fuss. The loaves get spritzed with a bit of water before going into the oven to get that classic crispy crust on the outside.
Keto Cloud Bread (“Oopsie Bread”)
Those eschewing carbs might feel left out of the bread-volution this pandemic has wrought. But they need not! Cloud bread is a keto-friendly bread substitute. This 4-ingredient recipe, from Perfect Keto, is so easy: 10 minutes to prep, and 30 in the oven on a baking sheet.
90-Second Keto Bread
Looking for something dead simple? This single-serving keto bread, from Eating on a Dime, uses a bit of almond flour and cooks for just 90 seconds in the microwave. It may not be traditional bread baking, but it just goes to show that anyone can jump on the bread-making bandwagon. For an extra treat, fry the bread in a little butter until golden brown before eating.
Soft Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread
Soft. Gluten-free. White bread. Those terms don’t always go together, says Shannon of A Little Insanity. But in this eye-opening white bread recipe, they do. Shannon also includes a recipe to make your own gluten-free flour with a combination of rice flours and xanthan gum — brands such as Bob's Red Mill are carried in most major supermarkets nowadays (and may be easier to find than white flour).