Bread Recipe – 3 Methods for Easy No Fail Bread
The only bread recipe you will ever need! The recipe is suitable for a breadmaker, Thermomix or hand kneading. With my extra tips and tricks, you will have perfect bread every time!
I love making all types of dough almost as much as I enjoy eating homemade baked products. There’s a bit of science behind bread making, and a little bit of understanding will have you baking perfect bread every time!
So, before I share my recipe and bread making techniques I would like to take you back to your high school home science class and talk about the ingredients used in bread and their purpose.
Basic Ingredients in a Bread Recipe
Flour is created to perform different baking tasks. Bakers flour is a strong plain flour or strong all-purpose flour (US readers) The term “strong” means that it has been milled to contain a high amount of protein and gluten which helps give heavy baked goods structure. This flour is ideal for making bread.
For the best results, you should not substitute plain flour for bakers flour. Self-raising flour is also not suitable.
Warm Water or Warm Milk
Warm water is used in bread making as temperatures around 35 degrees (95 Fahrenheit) is favourable for “waking up” the yeast. It also aids in dissolving the sugar for the yeast. Water is also used to bind the ingredients in most bread recipes. One of the exceptions is brioche. Brioche dough uses warm milk which yields a richer bread.
Bread is only able to rise with the help of yeast as the. Yeast is a living organism which metabolises the sugars in the dough and releases carbon dioxide in the process. This fermentation process creates carbon dioxide bubbles in the bread which rise. As the carbon dioxide rises the dough is aerated.
There are three main types of yeast used in bread recipes;
- Active Dry Yeast – or Dry Yeast. This is the most common yeast used for home breadmaking. Most recipes will use this form of yeast. This is the yeast I use in my recipes.
- Instant Yeast – ISome US recipes and breadmakers suggest this type of yeast as it doesn’t require two proofs. This product is not readily available in Australia and I don’t use it in my recipes.
- Fresh Yeast – Also known as compressed yeast. This is sold in compressed blocks and is used more often in commercially prepared bread. Compressed yeast is highly perishable and needs to be stored in the fridge or freezer.
Read more about how to properly proof dough and trick for proofing in colder weather.
A small amount of sugar is added to the warm water with the yeast, as an immediate food source for the yeast. It is usual to give this process a few minutes to occur before adding other ingredients. This allows the yeast to come out of dormancy and get to work metabolising the sugar and then flour, thus producing carbon dioxide for the bread aeration.
I bet you thought the salt in bread recipes was just for flavour, whilst flavour is part of the deal, salt also plays another role. Salt strengthens the structure of the gluten in the flour and makes the dough stronger so the carbon dioxide doesn’t just escape the loaf leaving the bread flat. It also slows the fermentation process so carbon dioxide is still being produced during the baking process and not all at the start of the dough making. Salt should always be added last to the dough so the yeast is already activated. Salt can kill the yeast.
Oil, Butter & Egg
Different types of doughs will vary in the type of fat used in the recipe. Brioche will use butter and egg, but most bread and pizza dough use oil. The fat in bread is used to coat the proteins and gluten which helps to prevent the molecules from absorbing too much liquid and swelling. Without fat, the bread will be tough and the crumb of the bread will be affected making it difficult to slice. The fat also allows the bread to be handled easier which is important for kneading.
What is bread improver??
Its a blend of ingredients which help activate the gluten and improves the yeast fermentation process and the overall taste of the bread. In my opinion, the bread improver does make a lighter softer loaf, however, the bread will work just fine without this ingredient. Bread improver is a natural product without artificial colours, number etc. The main ingredients are usually soy flour and ascorbic acid.
What can you substitute for DIY bread improver?
Bread improver is an unflavoured acidic substance. I have substituted vinegar for bread improver. The bread had a mild sourdough flavour and did seem to have a fluffy texture. Most of the time I don’t use a bread improver but I will add it to the basic recipe because it does produce the best slicing loaf.
So now you have a good understanding of the ingredients used in making bread or dough and their purpose.
8 Steps to Perfect Bread
- Priming the Yeast – Adding warm water and sugar to the yeast and allowing it a few minutes to froth. This is also a good way of testing yeast if you’re concerned that it may not be active. If the mixture becomes frothy it is viable. Tips for priming the yeast in cold weather.
- Combining the ingredients – Adding the flour, oil and salt to the primed yeast mixture and combining the ingredients.
- Kneading the dough – This process activates the gluten and gives the bread strength. The length of time necessary to knead will depend on your method. Regardless of whether you are kneading by hand, in a breadmaker or Thermomix the important thing is the texture of the dough. The dough will take on a glossy appearance and lose its stickiness when it is properly kneaded. You will also notice more elasticity in the dough.
- Proofing the Dough – Dough should be shaped into a ball and placed in a bowl with a tea towel to cover. The bowl should be placed in a warm dry place away from any drafts. The time the dough kneads to proof will vary dramatically depending on the temperature and the type of ingredients used. For example, a heavy grain dough will take longer than a lighter dough to proof. You know when your dough has fully proofed because it will have doubled in size.
- Knocking down the dough- Once the dough has proofed you need to rework the dough for a minute. This is an important step as it allows carbon dioxide to be more evenly distributed. The yeast which has multiplied will be redistributed through the dough and come in contact with a new area of food and more even fermentation will occur creating more uninformed aeration and rise.
- Shaping the bread – Decide the shape of your bread, free form, rolls, loaf, plate, pizza or focaccia and shape the bread accordingly. Place the bread into the baking tin or tray.
- Second Proof – (This is a good time to turn on your oven) Allow the bread to proof again. Once again place the tray or tin in a warm place and cover the dough. This proof is important because if you were to bake the bread without the second proof it would fail to rise in the oven. The golden rule of the second proof is don’t bake the bread until it has reached the size you would like the finished product to be. If the bread isn’t reaching that goal size, check out my tips for proofing on a cold day.
- Baking the Bread – Bread is generally baked at 180-210 degrees Celsius or 350 – 400 Fahrenheit depending on the richness of the bread. It will usually take between 30 -45 minutes to bake depending on the size and shape of the loaf.
Bread Recipe Tips & Tricks
The most important step in the bread making process is proofing the dough. This can be an area of concern for some people, so I’ve explained the dough proofing in this story. The article gives seven of my most valuable tips and tricks. These tips include how to get the proof dough in winter.
Making bread may sound complicated but it’s so super easy! Especially now that you know the ingredients and the process. The ingredients and the method stay exactly the same regardless of whether you make the dough by hand, in the Thermomix or in a breadmaker. The only difference in each of these methods is the time, energy and efficiency involved.
Using a Bread Maker
Our Breville breadmaker was my husband’s favourite appliance before we bought the Thermomix. Its sole purpose in life was to bake beautiful bread and it did that perfectly. All breadmakers work basically in the same manner. You can use any bread recipe in a breadmaker.
- Add the ingredients to the bowl per the recipe supplied.
- Choose the loaf size, bread type and crust.
- Set and forget.
- Upon return to the machine you will have beautiful fresh bread.
The machine will cycle through the process of combining the ingredients, kneading the dough then knocking down the dough. Once this process is complete it will move on to the second proofing before baking in the breadmaker.
- Perfect bread every time! If you follow the recipe you cannot go wrong as the whole process is temperature controlled in the breadmaker.
- Labour saving!!
- Fresh bread with no additives made from scratch
- Bakes in the machine
- No need to be awake or at home (look for a model with a timer)
- Not as expensive as a Thermomix
- Single purpose machine suitable only for dough making, jam making & pasta making.
- Takes up space in the kitchen
- A full cycle takes about 3 hours
I’ve had a Breville Breadmaker so this is the only one I am happy to recommend. Check the Breville Breadmaker price.
Thermomix Bread Making
I love making bread in the Thermomix. This is the quickest method I have found and the results are just as good as bread from my Breville breadmaker.
- Perfect bread every time! (some cooking skills required) But if you follow the recipe and my tips you will have perfect bread.
- Labour saving!!
- Fresh bread with no additives made from scratch
- Start to finish is quicker than the breadmaker. Approximately 2 hours with proofing time and baking.
- Most of the recipe time is not hands-on time.
- Thermomix has many functions other than breadmaking. Versatile machine.
- An expensive machine.
- Takes up space in the kitchen although less than a bread machine.
- More active human cooking required.
Handmade Bread Making
Whilst I enjoy cooking, breadmaking by hand would have to be a labour of love. To properly knead the dough is a very energetic and labour intensive process and not something you would want to do each day.
If this is the method you’re using to make your bread please see the recipe below and follow the 8 steps to perfect breadmaking above.
- No fancy machinery required.
- Fresh bread with no additives made from scratch
- Labour intensive and tough on the arms
- Will take at least 3-4 hours to properly knead the dough twice, proof twice and bake the bread.
- More difficult to achieve satisfactory results takes a higher level of skill and understanding.
Jumbo Loaf Tin
This recipe makes a commercial size loaf of bread so you will need a Jumbo loaf Tin. The approximate weight of the finished loaf is 900g or 2lbs. To ensure the bread doesn’t stick make sure your tin is non-stick and a heavy metal, high-quality tin.
My loaf of bread was cooked in the Vogue 2lb Non-Stick Loaf Tin which was a bargain at $27
- Dimensions 78(h) x 250(w) x 100(d)mm.
- Material Carbon Steel
- Weight 300g
- High quality layered non-stick coating
- Incredibly robust
- Ensures even heat distribution
- Easy to clean
Are you ready to take your ingredients and your preferred method and bake some bread?? I hope so!
But one more thing, if you make this recipe I would love you to tag me on social media. I love seeing your results and connecting with people.
Would you mind tagging me on social media if you make any of my Thermokitchen recipes! Chatting and seeing your pictures really makes my day. #Thermokitchen
I would love to share more delicious recipes with you.
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The only bread recipe you will ever need! The recipe is suitable for a breadmaker, Thermomix or hand kneading. My tips & tricks make perfect bread every time!
- 310 g warm water
- 5 g sugar
- 10 g dried yeast
- 530 g bakers flour
- 20 g oil
- 5 g salt
- 5 g bread improver optional
Place warm water, sugar and yeast in TM bowl. Combine 2min/37degree/Speed 1.
Add flour, oil, salt and bread improver to the water. Knead 2 min.
Remove the bread from the TM and add to an oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to proof.
Once the dough has doubled in size. turn the dough out onto an oiled bench.
Knead the dough by hand and then shape into a loaf.
Place the dough into a loaf tin, cover with a tea towel and allow it to proof in a warm spot.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Once the dough has completely risen to the desired height place the tin in the oven.
Bake for 30 -45 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow to tap.
It important that the dough isn't baked until the bread has reached the full finished size. The bread will not rise any further in the oven.
Other Dough Recipes
We make a lot of dough in our household. Take a look at these recipes. Whilst the recipes are for pizza, pide and hot cross buns, all the same principals apply. Now that you have the basics you are sure to have success with all of your yeast recipes.
Please feel free to leave me a comment. I love hearing from everyone 🙂Rating my bread recipe once you’ve made the dish helps other readers decide whether to make my recipe. I would love it if you could come back and let everyone know what you think.