This bread wouldn’t win any awards, except perhaps, for “Easiest Bread Ever.” There is nothing complicated about it—no sourdough starter, no ancient flour or secret ingredient, no proofing basket or specialty blade. And yet, to us, it’s perfect: the simple smell of comfort, the unmistakable taste of home. I’m never surprised when my son says this easy homemade bread is his favorite food in the world.
This bread, humble as it is, elevates any meal it accompanies. We eat thick slices with butter and jam or mayo and tomato for breakfast. At lunch we enjoy it alongside deep bowls of soup or platters of summer salad. We’ve been making this bread for decades. It has always been part of our weekly ritual to make two loaves, sometimes even four. Bake an extra loaf and give it to a friend, there is no better gift to bring someone. Try making a couple loaves this week, then follow the instructions of one of our testers. “Rip it to shreds and lather in butter!”
What makes this bread so effortless is using a food processor. Once you have the idea to make this effortless homemade bread, you can have the dough in a bowl and rising within five minutes flat. With a method this easy, there’s almost no excuse NOT to make bread for yourself and your loved ones each week.
No Food Processor? No Problem!
The food processor is the fastest, easiest way to make this bread, but if you don’t have a one, you can make it in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment or even knead the dough by hand.
What to serve this easy homemade bread with
I am only slightly embarrassed to admit that there are times we have this bread three meals in a day. With butter and jam for breakfast, alongside a Blitzed Salad for lunch, and then at dinner to soak up the sauce from our Cauliflower Bolognese. This bread goes with anything.
Effortless Homemade Bread
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 4 cups bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons table salt
- Cornmeal for the pan
- Measure 1/3 cup of warm water in a 2-cup measuring cup. Whisk the yeast into the water; let stand until it dissolves and starts to bubble, a couple of minutes. Add the remaining 1 1/3 cups of water for 1 2/3 cups total.
- Meanwhile, pulse the flour and salt in a large food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pour the liquid ingredients over the flour; process to form a rough soft ball. If the dough does not come together, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue to process to machine-knead the dough until smooth, about 30 seconds longer.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead a few seconds to form a smooth ball. Place it in a cooking spray-coated bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let it rise to double in size, about 2 hours.
- Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using a chef's knife or a metal dough scraper, halve the dough, forming each portion into a ball. Arrange them on a cornmeal-coated 18- by 12-inch rimmed baking sheet; cover with a damp kitchen towel and let stand until almost double in size, about 45 minutes. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees. With a sharp knife, quickly and decisively cut a cross into each loaf.
- Place the pan of risen dough balls into oven and bake, turning the loaves from back to front after about 15 minutes, until golden brown, about 20 minutes total. Remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack to cool. (Can be stored in a 1-gallon zipper-lock at room temperature for a couple of days or frozen for several months.)