Easy Peasy Homestead Bread

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I’ve always believed that a delicious and easy bread recipe is the staple to every homesteader’s kitchen. Bread is one of the oldest foods known to man – it’s what helped shape human civilization. It reaches back to the Epipaleolithic period, with evidence of hunter-gatherers in the Eastern Mediterranean creating flatbread out of wild wheat, wild barley, and plant roots.

Bread fills you up and keeps you going. When you have a long day of garden chores and maintenance ahead of you, it’s easier to get it done when you have a full belly.

Bread is the foundation of our lives, but you don’t have to be a fancy baker with tons of fancy equipment (although the fancy equipment is super fun to have). This recipe can be made without a bread maker or dough whisks or any of that mumbo jumbo.

I usually bake this up into both a pullman loaf and an artisan loaf. My pullman pan has quickly become a favorite in my collection. It’s super sturdy, bakes evenly, and leaves a gorgeous brown crust without hardening the bread. And, it’s made in the USA, which always gets a gold star in my book.

If you’re in the market for a pullman loaf pan, I highly recommend checking out USA Pan and honestly, check out their entire line as well. I currently own the 13×4 pullman pan as well as their 8×4 loaf pan.

But for now, let’s head to the bake-along…

 


 

As in most bread recipes, we’ll start out with blooming the yeast. Combine your honey and warm water, then add in the yeast and let it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes. I like to leave it more towards the 10-minute mark to let them stretch their legs and start burping a bit.

*Quick Tip: when adding the yeast, shake it evenly across the top of the water to let them warm up. Yeasts are organisms and letting them sit on top will help them wake up and get ready, which will lead to a more even leavening in your final product!

Next, measure out the first five cups of flour and mix in the bloomed yeast. This is the autolyse – an initial blend of flour, yeast and water. It’ll look shaggy and lumpy and rough; that’s normal. Let your autolyse rest for 20 to 30 minutes in order to help develop the gluten.

autolyse

After the autolyse’s nap is over, stir in the second 1/3 cup of honey, melted butter, and salt. Then, mix in the second round of flour.

Oil a separate large bowl and place your dough into the bowl. Flip it over to help coat the dough with oil, so it doesn’t stick to your proofing cloth.

Your dough should now look something like this:

oilandturnover

 

You can cover your dough with a couple of different things: a loose cover of lightly oiled plastic wrap works well, or you can use a clean, dry kitchen towel. Either way, make sure there’s a bit of air flow (no air tight covers please!).

Let your dough proof for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size:

firstproof

 

Now, gently scrape this out onto a floured surface. It should release easily, but in case it doesn’t, use a bench scraper or your hands to pull the dough out.

Divide the dough into three equal portions. They don’t have to be perfect, but get them close.

threeequalparts

 

Using only one of the three portions, gently flatten the dough into a rectangle shape. Again, the shape doesn’t have to be perfect, just get it as close as you can.

We’ll fold the rectangle up like a letter. Follow the photos below for an easy visual:

Congratulations, you just formed your bread!

Gently grab the ends of the bread form underneath and place it fold-side down into the pan, like so:

panfolddown
The top fold from the previous step should now be on the bottom. The top should now be seamless.

 

Repeat the folding steps with the other two dough portions and pan them up. We’ll now cover these with our proofing cloths (or clean kitchen towels) and let them rest until they’ve risen to the top of the pan. This will take 45 minute to an hour depending on your room temperature.

When the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 350 F. Just before baking, score the tops of your bread. This will help the bread spring more evenly and in more satisfying directions. Basically, it gives you a prettier loaf!

You can get a little creative here! If you like your loaves with a single slash down the middle, then do so! Make a little flower or star style with light scores fanning out from the middle. I like to do three diagonal scores:

Whatever you decide, make sure you use a serrated knife. Aim to score the bread using the center of the blade, rather than the tip, in order to prevent dragging the dough. Use quick, intentional moves to get a cleaner cut.

Did you know?? Traditionally, bakers use score patterns on their bread to help identify what kind of bread it is! Click here for an in-depth guide on bread scoring.

Now, it’s time to bake!!

Bake your bread for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Congratulations! You just made your bread!

Easy peasy.

Now grab the full recipe below!

 

Easy Peasy Homestead Bread

Yields 3 standard size loaves (9×5 or 8×4 pans)
Note: This will make a LOT of dough, so make sure you have a big bowl. My stand mixer has a 5-quart bowl and it fills it up.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 2/3 cup honey total, separated into 1/3 cups
  • 2 packs (or 4 1/2 tsp) of active dry yeast
  • 5 cups (1 lb 6.5 oz) bread flour OR all-purpose flour
  • 3 T butter, melted
  • 1 T salt
  • 3 1/2 cups (15.75 oz) all-purpose flour OR whole wheat flour *you can make either wheat bread or white bread*

Directions:

Dissolve 1/3 cup of honey into the warm water. Stir in yeast and let bloom for about five minutes.

Using your Kitchen Aid mixer or large mixing bowl, measure out your bread flour and mix in the bloomed yeast. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Mix in the second 1/3 cup of honey, melted butter, and salt. Stir in all-purpose or whole wheat flour until combined.

Move dough to large oiled bowl and turn over. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Grease three 9×5 or 8×4 loaf pans. Split dough into three equal parts and lightly knead each part separately on a floured surface until dough is smooth.

Using one third of the dough at a time, lightly pat down into a rough rectangle shape, careful not to de-gas the dough completely. Fold into thirds like a letter, then place into prepared pan with fold side down. Repeat with other two parts of dough. Cover with dish towels or proofing cloths and let rest until dough has reached the top of the pans.

Heat oven to 350 F. Score tops of the bread with a sharp serrated knife. Bake for 30 minutes.

If desired, quickly brush with a bit of melted butter after removing from oven to get a softer sandwich crust.

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