How Do You Make Bread Without a Bread Machine?

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I wanted to share my all-time favorite bread recipe.  If you don’t have a bread machine or fancy equipment, don’t worry!  If you’re like me when I first started baking, you might be wondering, “How do you make bread without a bread machine?”  It’s just a few steps with simple ingredients that produce the most satisfying loaves of bread.

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Bread Making Tips:

  • Use organic ingredients when available.  Click here to find out why.
  • Try grinding your own wheat for an extra touch of freshness.
  • My bread is made using a stand mixer.  You can, of course, mix by hand.  It’s just going to take longer.
  • Make sure the water is not too hot.  If you don’t feel comfortable sticking your finger in it, it’s too hot.  It will kill the yeast if it’s too hot.  When in doubt, it’s better for the water to be on the cooler side, because this just means the dough will take a little longer to rise.  Also, make sure your yeast is not expired or it won’t work.
  • Finding a warm spot to let dough rise: I know that most real bakers and amazing cooks will say to let your bread rise on the counter in a warm, kitchen and to NEVER place your bread to rise in the oven.  But some of us have drafty, open kitchens where bread really doesn’t rise well.  Also, I don’t have the counter space to let my bread rise on the counter, so that advice doesn’t really work for me either.  Another option is to let the bread rise covered in the laundry room after it’s warm and toasty from a few loads.  Again, not an option for everyone but a good tip for some!  The oven rising method has always worked well for me.  I hope you can find the method that works well for you!
  • Kneading is not complicated.  The good thing about this recipe is that it would be really difficult to knead the dough too much.  I just flour the counter and flour my hands.  This is to keep the dough from sticking.  Then I fold the dough over on itself like I’m folding it in half.  Then I press down.  I turn the dough 90 degrees (1/4 turn) and repeat the folding, pressing, turning.  That’s it.  It does help me if the counter/tabletop I’m working on is around waist level.  That way I use my whole body to do the pressing instead of just my arms.  You’ll want to keep a little flour around to keep the work surface dusted.

I once thought that yeast breads were too difficult and kneading was torture.  But after tasting the results from this recipe I was converted.  My favorite thing to serve with this bread is homemade chili, but Thanksgiving turkey is a nice complement as well.  I hope you agree and feel comfortable impressing your Thanksgiving guests with this homemade Honey Whole Wheat Bread.

When they ask, “How do you make bread so delicious from scratch without a bread machine?” you’ll have a great answer!  Unless, of course, you want to keep this a secret!

So how do YOU make bread?  What’s your secret to homemade, scratch baking?  Please feel free to share your favorite bread recipe so we can all enjoy!

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3 Comments:
  1. It turned out great! I used all whole wheat flour and so added a little bit of vital wheat gluten. Will definitely use this recipe again!

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