For Beginners: How to Make Bread


Have you always wanted to easily learn the basics of bread and make a good loaf of bread from scratch? Come on a journey with me to discover the art of bread. This is a beginner series of bread making 101. Let’s start here – with perhaps the easiest recipe out there that will give you the foundation of making good bread. My long instructions are more informative than instructive. The actual steps are simple, but I wanted to give you enough explanation that you understand what goes into each step.

For Beginners: How to Make Bread

For Beginners: How to Make Bread


  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 cups bread flour, approximately


  1. In large bowl, add the warm water. Slowly stir in dry yeast. Continue to stir until yeast is dissolved.
  2. Add salt, sugar, shortening, and milk to bowl. Stir.
  3. Take a measuring cup and spoon flour into the cup. Don't scoop flour with the measuring cup. Otherwise, there will be too much densely packed flour in there, and your bread will become dense and tough tasting as a result (of too much flour). Mix in the first 2 cups of flour into the bowl, slowly while stirring.
  4. If needed, begin adding more flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough is still a little sticky but not to the point of sticking to the sides of the bowl. The dough will be extremely difficult to stir at this point. It's easy to want to add more flour quickly. Try not to. Think of flour as something that will make your bread hard and doughy if you add just a spoonful too much. You want to add the perfect amount to make moist, soft, and fluffy bread.
  5. You do not need to use up all the flour called for in this recipe, or you may need more flour than called for. The amounts vary depending on many factors, including weather, which is why most bread recipes only give an approximate amount of flour needed.
  6. Turn dough out onto floured board and knead, adding small spoonfuls of flour as needed, until the dough is soft and smooth, not sticky to the touch.
  7. Put dough in buttered bowl, turn dough over so that the top of dough is greased. Cover and let rise in warm spot for 1 hour. I recommend putting it in the microwave (without turning it on), next to a small cup of hot water. The steam from the hot water will keep the air moist and warm, perfect for making bread rise!
  8. The bread will rise to almost 3x its original size. Why does bread rise? Because the little yeast is reacting with warm water and is trying to eat the sugars in the bread. As it eats, it releases carbon dioxide which gives the bread air and makes it rise.
  9. When the bread is done rising, uncover the bowl. Then, using your fist, punch the center of the dough down. This action releases the air in the bread.
  10. Turn dough out onto floured board or clean counter and knead. Use the heel of your hands to push dough out, almost like you have an invisible rolling pin in your hands. Turn the dough clockwise by 90 degrees, and knead/roll it out again with the heel of your hands. Repeat this for 8-10 minutes. Kneading releases gluten, or protein, and allows the insides of the bread to bind. This helps make your bread whole and soft.
  11. Preheat oven at 375 degrees F.
  12. Form dough into loaf and set in buttered bread pan (or a pyrex that is in a loaf shape). Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes in the microwave again, with a new small cup of hot water.
  13. Score dough by cutting three slashes across the top with a sharp knife. Put in oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  14. Turn out bread and let cool on a rack or clean dishtowel. Do yourself a favor and cut a small slice while it's warm and eat it with some jam and butter. There's your first bread! Nice work.

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2 comments for “For Beginners: How to Make Bread

  1. Meag
    August 31, 2013 at 2:37 am

    I just came across this on pinterest, and I need to say, though I admire your spirit the foundation of bread making should be taught in weight not volume, as with all baking if you want a consistent product. you missed a key step for perfect bread every time. After you punch the bread down before you do anything to it(kneading, forming shape) you should roll it in a ball and let it rest for about 10 minutes to allow the bread to get springy again, if you knead right away you break all your wonderful gluten!

    • admin
      September 26, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      Hello Meag,

      Thank you so much for the constructive feedback! I will make sure to let it rest for 10 minutes first before kneading away. I’m sure it will come out even better. If you have any other tips and good recipes, please share!


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