Daily Bread

I'm not sure how long I've been baking the family bread. I think it must be over ten years.
Two or three times a week I bake a batch of four loaves.
Bread needs time. It takes me 3 hours and 20 mins to make four loaves from start to finish. 
Of that time I spend only 10 minutes actually making the bread.

A typical supermarket loaf contains 
 Stoneground wholemeal wheatflour, water, yeast, wheat gluten, salt, spirit vinegar, rapeseed oil, emulsifiers mono- and diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids and sodium stearoly-2-lactylate, processing aid calcium sulphate, flour treatment agent ascorbic acid, palm oil.

This is my method, it has evolved over the years from Delia Smith's white loaf recipe. My bread has four ingredients.
Flour, yeast, salt and water.
2 ¼ lb (a little over 1 kg) wholemeal bread flour
2 ¼ lb white bread flour
1 tablespoon (15 g) of quick yeast (sometimes sold in sachets like this)
1 tablespoon of  salt
2¼ pints ( 1.3 litres) of hand-hot water

Put the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl and mix.
Add the water to the other ingredients. Mix.
Some cooks, celebrity chefs in particular advise you to mix the bread directly on the work surface creating a wall of flour and pouring the water in the middle. I think this over-complicates the simple process of breadmaking and is unnecessary . Bung it all in a big bowl and save yourself the mess.

Once the dough has come together take it out of the bowl and knead it.

Most recipes tell you to knead for 10 minutes. I find 4 minutes is perfectly adequate.

 I've noticed that some cookery writers say the dough should be quite wet when kneading. I find it impossible to manage if it is too sticky and I like to flour my work top as I knead. I have tried the sticky method and not found the resulting bread to be any better.

Turn the dough into a bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave it alone for two hours at room temperature. You absolutely do not need to put bread dough anywhere warm to rise. It will rise all by itself. You can even put it in the fridge and let it rise slowly overnight.

After two hours the dough will have doubled in size. Punch it down to knock out all the air. Scoop the dough out of the bowl and give it a quick knead.

Cut the dough into four pieces. I rarely get them equal. Form the pieces into loaf shapes tucking the ends under. Place in buttered tins. Butter works better than oil I've found. Of course you don't need a tin to bake bread, but if you do have tins you can bake more loaves in one go.
My tins are 2 lb tins.

Cover with a damp cloth again and leave to prove for about half an hour.

After which time the dough will have risen again to the tops of the tins. 
Put the tins in the oven at 220 °c/ 200°c fan oven for 40 minutes. The loaves should sound hollow on the bottom if you tap them with your knuckles. The butter will make the loaves slide out of the tins.

I always bake in bulk. It saves me time and fuel. I have plenty of freezer space so I simply put the extra baking in the freezer. Most baked goods freeze really well and bread is no exception. I put my loaves in plastic bags once they are cool and toss them in the freezer. They don't stay there long though. Four loaves last us three days at the most. A spell in the freezer makes the bread easier to slice.

My loaves weigh about 750g, the typical supermarket loaf I mentioned earlier weighs 400g.
My loaf costs 47p to make using Waitrose own brand flours and sea salt.
It costs 30p using Tesco own brand flours and table salt.
The typical supermarket loaf costs 90p. 

Homemade bread costs less, tastes better, and is made from better ingredients than its factory equivalent.
When you take it out of the oven it fills your home with the most delicious smell in the world and makes you feel as if you've really accomplished something . You have, you have made your family's bread and what could be more worthwhile?



  1. Mm...I'm sure I can smell this! Delicious!

  2. To be honest I've only ever made yogurt bread. I really need to bite the bullet. I have bought the flour but just not got round to it.

    Hopeless. I'm glad we don't have to put it on the worksurface though.

  3. I've always avoided making bread as I thought it had to go somewhere warm and I don't have anywhere to put it. I'm keen to try again though as I have really gone off supermarket bread and only eat it if there is nothing else on offer.

  4. Pleeeeease write a cook book.
    I agree with you about wet kneading. And doing the whole thing in a bowl.
    I must try harder though. Ax

  5. Mmmm. I collected 'Five Minute' bread from the library at the weekend, but haven't yet had time to open it!
    Yours looks delicious.

  6. Your bread looks amazing. I can smell the yeast and freshly made bread across the ocean! xoRobin❤

  7. thank you for this -- you make it sound so easy . I might just give it a go . Like you said it seems so much better for you than supermarket bread with all those additives.

  8. What a wonderful, wise post. I hope it inspires others to make their own bread if they don't do so already and also to look closely at the ingredients in industrially produced bread. My sister once worked for a well known bakery company and regularly horrified me with tales of "stay fresh" bread being sprayed with some sort of anti fungal treatment to make it last! I love trying out different types of flour and a current favourite is Shipton Mill's Three Malts and Sunflower which I mix half and half with strong white.

  9. Hi Sue , thankyou for this breadmaking guide ...it's brillant.
    My boys have asked to make bread before and now I'm really in the mood to give it a go too :0)
    Jacquie x

  10. My children eat so much bread I must do this. Thank you for making it sound so do-able!

  11. Your bread looks so yummy. I have recently started baking wholemeal bread using this recipe http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2010/jun/10/how-to-bake-wholemeal-bread It uses the no knead method, which was a complete revelation. Have you tried it? So easy and absolutely no effort.
    Thanks so much Sue for your comment about Mother`s Day - I amended the post appropriately!

  12. lovely post. breadmaking is so rewarding, but am i allowed to say that the odd caterpack from approved food makes it so easy (sorry)when you are time poor? it's a good mix and reminds me of a bread that one of my friends who i did me nurse training with back in the day (late 80's, early 90's)used to go to brixton or streatham to buy - it was west indian, quite heavy, but very white and delicious

    I have high and low moments with breadmaking - mostly high, but while on a weight loss kick i shouldn't be eating it. However - bread and butter must be my most favourite food.

  13. I used to make bread and have been thinking about starting again; the bread I buy is quite awful! Thanks for your post, you have got me going again!

  14. Hi Sue, brilliant post as it makes people feel they can do it. I'm lucky, as my hubby is now our baker since he retired, but when the kids were little and we had dairy goats and ducks and chickens I made my own for years. I even got a wheat grinder and ground my wheat! It came out of the grinder all warm. I used a duck egg, the yolk in the bread and the white on top with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. I also used sourdough and goat milk in the bread. Good stuff!!

    Hugs from Oregon, USA -- Teresa :-)

  15. I'm afraid I cheat. I don't do it like you because I have a bread maker that has a timer. It's very easy to use. My sons would often make the bread when they were still living at home. Even my husband often makes fancy breads, pretzels and pizza dough.

  16. I make all my own bread white and wholewheat and in recent years I have invested in a Westbend cutting guide. I slice all the bread using the guide and then freeze it. It has made all the difference to the finished product.

  17. Fantastic post Sue. I just bet your fresh baked bread tastes wonderful with butter and homemade jam. :)
    Anne xx

  18. Yumm, I used to make my bread when the children were small and I had a wood combustion cooker, it didn't turn out like yours but straight from the oven with butter oozing it was delicious.
    x sandi

  19. This is great - it's inspirational! Thanks so much for your recipe and tips; I think I'm going to give it a go! We'll see how my bread rises in the humid tropics!
    Caz from Never Knew :)

  20. I will indeed be saving this post in my bookmarks...
    I love making bread but have never been that good...
    Thanks so much for this post...
    it helps so much...

  21. thanks for this you make it look so easy. I do mine in machine even easier.

  22. Fantastic post, Sue. We make our own bread in a bread machine but I do actually enjoy the process of bread making by hand...it is very relaxing.

    Apart from the rubbish that is found in shop bought bread, it is also made by a process (Chorleywood)that requires much more yeast. Most people find this bread dificult to digest and many people actually have intolerance to it.

    This link has more info on the Chorleywood process and why it is so bad...


  23. Sorry...this is the complete link


  24. Anonymous8:38 am BST

    What a fantastic post! I wish I could make my own bread, but have yet to discover a wheat-free flour that works well in a recipe. But you've inspired me, maybe I'll have another go soon!

  25. This is the most straight forward and sensible recipe I have seen in years. Yes, make a Bloggers Cook book - you will get plenty of customers! For Christmas - for charity - OK for ME! Listening to the radio the other day - Didn't realise that most of the bread we eat off the supermarket shelves has already been frozen. This is despite the plethora of "added ingredients" to keep it fresh.

  26. Pati from London9:45 am BST

    Sue, you are spot on... the amount of rubbish one finds in supermarket breads is astonishing! Why do they need to add all these crappy ingredients to something so basic? Nobody has a clue what most of them are, anyway and we keep on buying them.... We have a great bread machine but don't use it as often as we should (due to lack of time or whatever) but I am definitely going to try and use it more often. I do admire you, though, doing it everything from scratch and investing time on it. What a great example to follow. Have a lovely morning...and now back to my studies...(on this rainy and grey morning in London) x Pati

  27. what a fab post! you make it seem so simple, i have always thought it too technical but i think i may well give it a go thanks to you
    Mmmmm...i can smell it now....Ahhh
    j x

  28. Anonymous10:54 am BST

    It looks so simple - why don't we all do it? I must give it a try soon.

  29. Anonymous11:28 am BST

    Fabulous. A very timely post as I've just returned to bread making. The thing I find most frustrating about supermarket bread - the stuff they bake on the premises - is that more often than not it doesn't have a list of ingredients. I toyed with the idea of a bread machine recently, but as you say all you really need is a large mixing bowl (my mixing bowl is probably my favourite piece of kitchen kit) and I realised that, a bit like digging in the garden, I quite like a little kneading. Good to hear that 4 mins works for you, I'll cut down next time.

  30. Thanks for this inspiring post!! I am going to give your bread a try, asap. Loved all the tips too, thanks so much. I'll let you know how I go xo ps thought of you this week as I made quince jelly!

  31. How spooky, I was only looking at your older post about bread making the other day! I still need to try it though, hopefully this week!

  32. Anonymous1:17 pm BST

    Too Weird - I was just looking up the archives to find the link to your flicker guide yesterday because I wanted to try it out this week! great minds and all that!

  33. Thank you for this! I've just decided that I don't like the hole that my breadmaker leaves in the bottom of my bread and I was looking for a straightforward recipe for loaves to put in the oven!

    Your bread looks delicious, can't wait to try it.

  34. I really agree with you, if only I had the time to make bread!
    I don't have children to feed and my other half doesn't eat bread so I just buy it for myself, but one day I hope to be regularly eating home baked bread. I need to become a housewise first though and so many things are making that just a dream!

  35. Can't believe how much the dough rises! I wish I had time to make my own bread ... I've never tried though so once I do I might not be able to go back to shop-bought!

    (That's a very optimistic thing for me to say about my baking!!)

  36. Lovely! You're right, you can't beat homemade bread - especially when it's cheaper and more importantly you know what's gone into it. I think that can also be said for most home cooked items.

  37. I did it! I don't seem to have any huge bowls so did half the recipe twice, one white and one wholemeal. I also seem to have huge pans (go figure) so could have made just 2 loaves from that. The kids could smell it coming home and one is almost gone already! Will be blogging it later with full credit to you!
    Thank you!
    Sandra x

  38. Wow- your wonderful post inspired me to have a go, and - it worked! Totally delicious, the family are hooked and it really was as easy as you said. Our bread habits just may be reformed!

  39. Looks wonderful and making 4 loaves for us would probably last all week. I cheat and use the bread machine occasionally and do find that the ingredients in the grocery are so terrible. I've never made bread by hand though. Something to add to the to do list!

  40. I love making bread and have tried all methods. I've used your recipe this morning (I halved it) and can't wait to have a sandwich for lunch!
    I agree about not doing it on the worktop - I think that just makes good television. And a horrid mess!

  41. I just wanted to thank you for posting this. Your to-the-point, no faff instructions were really easy to follow. I've not had much success with bread making in the past but after trying out your method this afternoon, I won't be buying it from the supermarket anymore :)

  42. Emma, I'm so glad my instructions worked -you never quite know if they make sense until someone follows them.

  43. Thank you SO much for your clear instructions! I have been wanting to make my own bread for ages but thought making it by hand would be too difficult. I can't afford a bread maker so was looking about for a recipe that actually worked and was easy. I have made 2 batches of this bread now and we all really like it, including my fussy daughter! I will now make our bread rather than buy it. Thanks again for taking the time to put the photos and instructions on here : )

  44. I have tried your bread recipe with success - thank you! But my largest bowl (from a Kenwood mixer) only accomodates half the amount you make. Could you possibly tell me what kind of bowl you use to mix/prove your bread in, and where did you get it? It probably sounds like a silly question, but I would appreciate you sharing your secret! Thanks for the blog - I enjoy it and find it very useful.

  45. Susan, I had the same problem, so went out and bought a large plastic washing up bowl and now use that for making bread. It is only used for that (no washing up is done in it!) and then I store my bread tins in it between bread baking. It is big enough for mixing all the ingredients without the flour leaping out all over the kitchen!

  46. Susan, so sorry not to reply sooner. I sometimes miss comments on older posts. I think Liz's suggetion of a washing up bowl is excellent.

    The bowl I use is the largest of a set of 3 lightweight plastic bowls which I bought at Lakeland some years ago. Lakeland don't stock them any more. They never do stock the things that are really useful.

  47. Thank you. You make it sound so simple. I never thought of making bread in big batches like this before. In Canada a loaf of bread is usually at least 3 or 4 dollars (around 2 pounds).

  48. Fisherwife8:04 pm GMT

    This was great! My family gobbled it up in a hurry. Thank you for clear, simple instructions. This has seemed like some mysterious process for years and in one day it is accomplished!

  49. Just made bread from this fab tutorial this morning - snow outside, bread in the oven, BLISS! I have a really big plastic bowl that comes with a lid - so you can transport cakes in it used the otherway up. Again I think a discontinued Lakeland item, soooo useful. I am now going to try and make weekend bread your way and top up with the 5minute artisan bread or Nigella's lazy loaf for top ups in the week if needed.

    Love your blog! Bx

  50. I make a lot of bread! Your blog description is absolutely mouthwatering and delicious to read! what a lovely way to enthuse people to get back to what is really important - and I love that you compare to the supermarket tyranny aswell.
    Thanks, I'm off to try your recipe!

  51. I absolutely LOVE this post.

    Breadmaking made simple and delicious all in one go.

    Sue xx


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