Friday, May 3, 2013

Our Easy Homemade Bread Recipe

You may or may not have noticed--but I'm Asian.

I know, shocking, right?

Well, being Chinese, we ate a lot of rice--it was the base of every dinner I ever ate as a kid. I love rice.

And I love bread too. But we rarely ever baked bread growing up. Why bake bread when you've got rice, right?

Baking bread was a foreign concept to me for a long time. I tried it, but things never really turned out well.

But when my older sister, Dimples, got married, she found this amazing bread recipe that she'd make for her husband. I got the recipe from her when I was first married, because I wanted to be a good wife and make this awesome bread for Lee.

Newly married!

I made it a lot that first year of marriage and it didn't turn out well. Lee took a crack at it also and we still didn't have it right for a long while. (It probably has to do with the fact that we live at 3500 feet altitude in dry Utah, while my sister was baking her bread at sea level in sunny, more humid California.)

Finally though, we've tweaked this recipe so much that it's become our own and it works for us. It's simple--it only has 6 ingredients, 7 if you want to get fancy. Honey, warm water, yeast...

Where it all starts

Side note: For Christmas, Dimples got me this ingenious thing that King Arthur Flour makes: a yeast measuring spoon. It measures out a "packet" of yeast (=2 1/4 teaspoons = 1/4 ounce of yeast). We buy yeast in bulk and keep it in a airtight container in the fridge, so this spoon is the best!

One of my best bread baking tools: the yeast measuring spoon from KAF

In the mixing bowl, add the warm water and honey. Stir together so the honey dissolves. Then sprinkle in the yeast. Lee shared a tip with me recently that really gets the yeast going: after sprinkling, take a spoon and stir the yeast around in the water. Increased exposure to the honey water, so it gets nice and frothy and active!

After waiting for about 5 to 10 minutes

Then you have flour, applesauce, and salt. The secret ingredient to this bread is the applesauce: our home-canned applesauce made with Grandma Italy's apples. There's a bunch of spices in it too that I'm not sure we would be able to recreate when we do our next batch of applesauce. It makes the bread so yummy and soft and a little cinnamon-y.

Applesauce replaces the oil traditionally found in this recipe

Another thing we love to add, the 7th ingredient, is ground flax seed. It gives it some texture and a nutty flavor. We love Bob's Red Mill brand. Make sure you refrigerate it after you've opened it.

Good stuff = Bob's Red Mill ground flaxseed

Mix everything together in your mixer. Now we figured out that sometimes the dough was too wet and that's why it wasn't working. If you notice that the dough doesn't pull up easily, but sticks to the bottom of the bowl when you raise the dough hook, then add a couple teaspoonfuls of flour and mix again. Repeat if necessary.

Then let it sit for an hour covered. The yeast will do it's thing and rise up nicely.

You've got an hour to let this rise the first time. You should go do your nails.

After the first rise, you knead it again for a minute in the stand mixer. Remove the dough and divide into two. You'll shape the loaves and put them in bread pans. Cover them for another hour and let them rise (and go for a run, do your toenails, or watch that episode of Project Runway you missed). You can preheat the oven about now, so when the hour's up, you're ready to go.

Then bake and enjoy the aroma of fresh baked bread, a nice reminder that you're awesome to actually bake your own bread! Go you!

The bread is great with some butter and this Strawberry Jalapeno Jam. Enjoy!

Watch it grow!

The Redds' Easy Homemade Bread Recipe
Makes 2 awesome and tasty loaves

2 c warm water (110 degrees F)
4 tbsp honey
2 packets (or 4 1/5 tsp) yeast
6 c white flour
4 tbsp ground flaxseed (optional)
1/2 c applesauce
2 tsp salt

Add water and honey to stand mixer bowl and stir to dissolve honey. Add yeast and stir yeast around in water. Cover and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes till foamy. Add flour, flaxseed, applesauce, and salt. Knead with the stand mixer on medium speed using dough hook till well incorporated, about 3-5 minutes. If the dough is too wet, add 2 teaspoonfuls of flour and mix again till the dough comes up from the bowl when dough hook is raised. Add more flour if necessary. Cover for 1 hour.

After this first rise, knead for about a minute on low speed. Remove the dough from mixing bowl and divide equally in two parts. Form into loaves and place in loaf pans. Cover and let rise a second time for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. After the second rise, bake for 25 to 29 minutes. Remove from oven and let bread sit in pans for about 5 minutes before removing to cooling racks. Allow to cool before cutting the bread.

You totally just made homemade bread--strong work!


  1. Nice! I'm always looking for good (and easy) bread recipes! PS I love the gif! :)

  2. The gif is awesome! This looks like a good recipe to try.

  3. Yes, the yeast measuring spoon rocks. It is so much easier to use! I think only KAF sells it.

    I've also been doing another tweak recently for more nutrition. I add about 1/2-3/4 c whole wheat flour and a Tablespoon of Vital Wheat Gluten (also sold by KAF) and it is great. The Vital Wheat Gluten adds more structure to counter the lower gluten levels of the whole wheat flour. I can't just do straight whole wheat flour though. It doesn't rise properly and is too dense.

    p.s. I guess you've gone GIF happy too. :)

  4. Looks delicious!

    I would love for you to share this and link up to my TGIF Link Party! Who knows, you just might be featured next week!


  5. Mmm. Nothing like fresh baked bread.
    Have you tried no knead artisan bread. Oh my goodness, it's so good. I am a big obsessed with it right now.

    1. Crystal! I totally want to try that recipe! I'm a big fan of little to no-work bread. I need to get this recipe from you!


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