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Bread is essentially flour, sugar, salt, yeast and water with a myriad of variations to create one of our most vital foods. The quality of the flour is indicative of the quality of the bread. Unless you're an alchemist, bad flour will produce a bad loaf of bread. For bread-making you will need a flour with a high gluten content unless you're making something that specifically calls for something else entirely, but those occasions are rare. I have always used King Arthur brand flour (all-purpose). It is unbleached and never bromated so I don't have to worry about it's nutritional value,and tastewise, it's the finest flour for making bread or anything else you've a mind to make.

If you're fortunate enough to have a bread machine, it can take a good deal of the work out of making bread if it also has a dough only cycle. Due to the size of the bread category, I've elected to separate the bread recipes into several sections. This section covers yeast breads by the manual method, a second section will cover ABM (automatic bread machine) recipes and a third section will cover quick breads (those made using baking powder/baking soda leavening agents).

When warm water is called for in a bread recipe, it refers to water which is between 115° and 120°F. An old test which works well is to run your wrist under hot tap water and when the heat of the water just loses its ability to sting your skin, then it is the correct temperature for breadmaking.

Automatic bread machines have taken much of the labor from the joy of having fresh bread daily, but sometimes it's nice to do it by hand too. If an ABM isn't in your budget because what you really need is a heavy duty workhorse of a mixer, then be sure to get one with a dough hook because the heavy-duty mixer (such as a Kitchen Aid brand) is a valuable piece of equipment in the kitchen and will relieve you of most of the tedious work associated with bread making.

By the way...if you currently have your house up on the market, one tip a real estate agent should give you is to make sure the first aroma that greets prospective buyers is the smell of baking bread, cookies, etc., etc. Although I deplore the use of aroma via synthetic smells that seem to greet me in every building I enter these days and stuff my head and clog my bronchial tubes, a real natural smell like baking bread always lifts my spirits and, in this case, gives the prospective new owner an idea of just how lovely this new home could be with them in it. If it will clinch the deal, throw in the bread machine and get yourself a new one with the proceeds

menuBread Glazes

Soft Buttery Crust: Brush loaves with softened or melted butter after baking.

Crisp, Shiny Crust: Brush loaves with a mixture of 1 egg and 1 tbsp water just before baking. May be sprinkled with poppy or sesame seed.

Delicatessen Bread Crust: Remove loaves from oven 5 minutes before done. Combine ½ tsp cornstarch and ¼ cup water and heat to boiling. Brush loaves with mixture and return to oven to finish baking.

Cinnamon Sugar Crust: Brush loaves with 2 tbsp melted butter; sprinkle with a mixture of 2 tbsp sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon.

Slightly Crisp and Shiny, Sweet Crust: After baking, brush loaves with a mixture of 1 tbsp each of sugar and water.

menuArmenian Bread
Yield: 3 large flat loavesOven: 425° then 350°FPans: Baking sheets
1¾ cup milk
¼ cup butter
2 tbsp lard
1 cake compressed yeast
1 tsp brown sugar
12 cups sifted flour
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp toasted sunflower seed kernals
1½ tsp salt
2 eggs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp chopped walnuts
1 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper

  1. Scald the milk and stir in the butter and lard.
  2. Allow to cool to about 100°F, then crumble in the yeast and add the sugar and a few spoonfuls of warm water and leave in a warm place till frothy.
  3. Mix together the flour, sesame seeds, sunflower kernals and salt.
  4. Stir the yeast and milk mixture into the flour together with 2¾ cups of lukewarm water.
  5. Beat well and knead till smooth and silky.
  6. Leave to rise for about 45 minutes.
  7. Knead again and form into 3 large flat loaves.
  8. Lay the loaves on greased baking sheets and leave to rise again for 30 minutes.
  9. Mix together the eggs, cheese, cumin, walnuts, and pepper and spread this thick paste over the loaves.
  10. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° and bake for 30 minutes more or till the loaves are firm and golden and sound hollow when tapped.
  11. Cool on wire rack.

menuBlack Bread
Yield: 2 loavesOven: 350°FPans: Cookie Sheet
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1½ cup warm water
1 cup flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup wheat bran
1 cup dark rye flour
1 cup wheat germ
½ cup rolled oats
1 cup warm water
½ cup blackstrap molasses
4 tsp salt
½ to 1 cup aditional whole wheat flour
rolled oats

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large shallow bowl; stir in flour and whole wheat flour and knead vigorously till you have a rubbery ball of dough.
  2. Spread dough over the bottom and slightly up the sides of the bowl; sprinkle remaining ingredients (except the additional whole wheat flour and additional rolled oats) over the dough.
  3. Using a potato masher, mix the ingredients in till they are well distributed.
  4. Knead the dough till it is the same color and texture throughout.
  5. At this point knead in the additonal whole wheat flour till the dough is no longer sticky.
  6. Allow dough to rise in a warm spot till doubled in bulk...at least one hour.
  7. Punch down and shape into 2 loaves; roll them in the rolled oats; place side by side on a greased baking sheet and let them rise again for about 45 minutes.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes or till they test done.

menuBuckwheat Bread
Yield: 2 loavesOven: 375°FPans: Baking sheetTools: Electric mixer
3 to 3½ cups flour
2 pkgs active dry yeast
1½ tsp salt
1½ cups warm water
¼ cup honey
3 tbsp cooking oil
1½ cups buckwheat flour
1 slightly beaten egg white

  1. In large mixer bowl combine 2 cups of the flour, the yeast and the salt.
  2. Combine warm water, honey and cooking oil; add to flour mixture.
  3. Beat at low speed of electric mixer for one-half minute, scraping bowl constantly.
  4. Beat 3 minutes at high speed.
  5. Stir in buckwheat flour and as much of the remaining white flour as you can mix in with a spoon.
  6. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough (6 to 8 minutes).
  7. Shape into a ball; place in lightly greased bowl, turning once to coat all surfaces.
  8. Cover; let rise in warm place till double (about 1 hour).
  9. Punch dough down; turn out onto floured surface; divide in half; cover; let rest 10 minutes.
  10. Shape into two 5-inch round loaves or two 8x4-inch oblong loaves.
  11. Place on greased baking sheet; cover; let rise till amost double (about 25 minutes).
  12. Bake about 30 minutes, covering with foil after 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning.
  13. Brush with egg white.
  14. Remove to wire rack to cool.

menuCaraway Rye Bread
Yield: 3 loavesOven: 400°FPans: Baking sheet
1 pkg dry yeast
2¼ cups warm water
2 tbsp molasses
4 tsp caraway seeds
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
4 cups unbleached white flour
2 cups dark rye flour
1 egg
¼ cup milk

  1. Stir yeast into warm water in a large mixing bowl; let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in molasses, caraway seeds, oil and salt; mix well.
  3. Stir in flours, 1 cup at a time; mix well and turn out onto a floured surface.
  4. Knead till smooth, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Put dough into an oiled mixing bowl and turn to coat the surface.
  6. Cover and let rise till doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).
  7. Punch down dough and shape into 3 round loaves.
  8. Place on buttered baking sheet; cover and let rise for 20 minutes.
  9. Into the preheated oven place a shallow pan with 1-inch of hot water on the rack below where the bread will be baking.
  10. Beat egg lightly with milk and brush on the loaves; bake for 15 minutes, then brush with the egg mixture once again.
  11. Bake another 15 minutes or till loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.
  12. Cool on wire racks.

menuCardamom Bread
Yield: 2 braids or equivalentOven: 350°FPans: Baking sheets
NOTE: This recipe is from the Finnish tradition and can be used for cinnamon rolls also.
¼ cup butter
2½ cups milk, scalded
2 pkgs dry yeast
2½ cups flour
2 eggs, beaten
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
4 cups flour
½ cup powdered sugar¼ cup half-and-half cream, milk, or strong coffee

  1. Put butter into scalded milk; cool to lukewarm and stir in the yeast.
  2. Add the 2½ cups of flour and beat till batter is smooth; let stand ½ hour or till bubble action starts.
  3. Beat in eggs, sugar, salt and cardamom.
  4. Blend in the 4 cups of flour; knead thoroughly and let rise till double.
  5. Make 2 braids or shape as desired and place on greased cookie sheets; let rise till triple.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes.
  7. Mix glaze and pour over breads while still warm.

menuChalla Golden Egg Bread
Yield: Makes 1 loafOven: 350°FPans: Baking sheetTools: Bread machine
NOTE: Braiding in the flat manner using 3 strands: the middle one goes under and over - never across; the two outside strands do all the crossing.
1 pkg yeast
3 cups flour
4 tbsp sugar
2 eggs
6 tbsp vegetable oil
1½ tsp salt
¾ cup warm water

  1. Combine all ingredients in machine and remove after the first rise (or work the dough manually).
  2. Braid and rise again on baking sheet.
  3. Wash the surface with an egg wash and sprinkle with seeds if desired.
  4. Bake till a light toasty brown (if desired, wash again about halfway through the cooking time for a very glazed crust).

Makes 8 to 10
½ lb flour
½ tsp salt
½ oz yeast
½ tsp sugar
½ pint watered down milk
baking soda

  1. Warm the flour and mix with the salt.
  2. Cream the yeast with the sugar and add to the warmed milk and mix with the flour to the consistency of a soft batter; cover and leave to rise about 30 to 45 minutes.
  3. Dissolve about ¼ tsp of baking soda in 1 tbsp of warm water and add to the mixture, beating well; set aside to rise again for 30 minutes.
  4. Grease a griddle, thick frying pan or electric skillet till quite hot.
  5. Grease egg rings and place on the griddle. Pour in enough batter to cover the bottom of the ring to a depth of ¼-inch.
  6. When top is set and bubbles burst, turn and cook on underside; serve hot with butter.

menuEgg Bread
Yield: 2 loavesOven: 375°FPans: Baking sheetsTools: Mixer
6½ to 7½ cups flour
2 pkgs active dry yeast
2 cups milk
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup butter
2 tsp salt
3 eggs

  1. In a large mixer bowl, combine 3 cups flour and the yeast.
  2. In a saucepan heat the milk, sugar, butter and salt till just warm (115° to 120°) and the butter is almost melted; stir constantly.
  3. Add to flour mixture; add eggs; beat on low speed of electric mixer for ½ minute, scraping sides of bowl constantly.
  4. Beat 3 minutes on high speed.
  5. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can mix in using a spoon.
  6. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
  7. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes kneading time).
  8. Shape into a ball and place into a greased bowl, turning once to grease the surface.
  9. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double (about 1¼ hours).
  10. Punch dough down; divide dough in half; knead lightly; shape into 2 loaves (or braids) on greased cookie sheets.
  11. Cover and let rise till doubled (about 1 hour).
  12. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or till test done. (Rotate cookie sheets half way through if necessary).

menuEnglish Frosted Fruit Bread
Yield: 2 loavesOven: 375°FPans: Standard loaf pansTools: Electric Mixer
4¼ to 5¼ cups flour
½ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
2 pkgs active dry yeast
1 cup milk
½ cup water
1/3 cup butter
¾ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped citron
Confectioners sugar icing

  1. In large bowl thoroughly mix 2 cups flour, sugr, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and yeast.
  2. Combine milk, water and butter in a saucepan; heat slowly till liquids are warm.
  3. Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat for 2 minutes at medium speed of mixer, scraping bowl occasionally.
  4. Add ½ cup flour, or enough flour to make a thick batter; beat at high speed for 2 minutes, scraping occasionally.
  5. Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough.
  6. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead till smooth and elastic (about 8 to 10 minutes).
  7. Place in greased bowl, turning once to grease all over; cover and let rise in a warm place till doubled (about 1 hour).
  8. Punch down and turn out onto a lightly floured board; knead in raisins and chopped citron.
  9. Divide dough in half; shape each half into a loaf; place each loaf into a greased loaf pan and cover.
  10. Let rise in a warm place till doubled (about 1 hour).
  11. Bake about 35 minutes or till done; remove from pans and cool on racks.
  12. If desired, frost with confectioners sugar icing before serving.

menuFrench Bread
Oven: 450°FPans: Baking sheets
1 pkg dry yeast
¼ cup warm water (110° to 115°)
3½ cups unbleached white flour
1-1/8 cups warm water (110° to 115°J)
½ tbsp salt
additional flour for kneading

  1. Stir yeast into warm water and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Combine 2 cups flour with the other warm water in a large mixing bowl; mix well and add yeast and remaining flour and salt; beat till well mixed.
  3. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead till dough is smooth and elastic, adding more flour if necessary to keep from sticking to surface (takes about 10 minutes).
  4. Put dough into an oiled bowl and turn once to coat surface; cover and let rise till doubled in bulk (about 1½ hours).
  5. Punch dough down and turn out and knead for 2 more minutes; return to bowl, cover and let rise one more time till doubled (about 2½ hours).
  6. Turn out dough again and shape into 3 to 6 rectangles; flatten and fold like envelopes (all corners meeting in the center), then seal eges to prevent air pockets.
  7. Roll to fit bread pans and place in buttered bread pans.
  8. Cover lightly and let rise till doubled (about 1 hour).
  9. In preheated oven place a shallow pan containing 1" of hot water on the rack below where the bread will be baking.
  10. With a sharp knife shlash the top of the loaves 3 or 4 times on the diagonal, then brush with water.
  11. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
  12. After removing from oven, brush loaves with ice water, then turn out on wire racks to cool.

menuGarlic Bread
Yield: 3 loavesOven: 400°FPans: Baking sheets
2 heads of garlic, roasted and pureed
¼ lb unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp (2 pkgs) dry yeast
½ cup warm water (115-120°)
2½ cups warm water
2 tbsp kosher salt
3¼ cups whole wheat flour
3¼ cups unbleached white flour

  1. Cream together the garlic puree and the butter (this can be done days in advance and refrigerated; bring to room temp before using).
  2. Combine the yeast with ½ cup warm water in a large bowl; stir with a fork or small whisk; add an additional 2½ cups water; add salt; stir in the flour (1 cup at a time) beginning with the whole wheat flour.
  3. Use a whisk until the flour becomes stiff, then switch to a wooden spoon.
  4. Turn the dough onto a well floured work surface; knead for 10 to 15 minutes till the dough is smooth, springy, nonsticky and elastic; add more flour as you knead if necessary. The dough is ready if you can poke two fingers into it and the resulting indentations spring back
  5. Cover the dough with a cloth and let rest while you wash, dry and generously butter the bowl.
  6. Knead the dough a few more turns, then form it into a ball and place it in the bowl; turn to coat with butter; cover bowl and place in a warm, draft-free place till dough has doubled in bulk (about 1½ hours).
  7. When dough has doubled, flour your fist and punch the dough down; knead it a few times and then let it rest.
  8. Sprinkle 1 large or 2 small baking sheets with a liberal amount of cornmeal.
  9. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts (while you work with 1 piece, keep the other 2 covered).
  10. Flour your work surface and with a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a rectangle approximately 14" long x 7" wide. Spread it with softened garlic butter.
  11. Roll the long edge toward the opposite long edge as if you were rolling up a rug.
  12. Pinch the ends closed; place loaves on baking sheet.
  13. With a sharp knife, slash the loaves lightly at 2" intervals; cover with a cloth and place in a warm, draft-free place to rise til doubled (about ½ hour)
  14. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes with a pan of hot water on the lower rack of the oven.

menuGarlic Cheese Bread
Yield: 1 loafOven: 400°FPans: Rimmed baking sheet
NOTE: This is a focaccia type bread; would also make a good pizza dough.
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tsp sugar
¾ tsp salt
½ cup olive oil
2-2/3 to 3 cups flour
3 or 4 large cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. In a large bowl dissolve yeast in water and let stand till bubbly (5 to 15 minutes).
  2. Stir in sugar, salt and ¼ cup of the olive oil.
  3. Add 2 cups of the flour and beat till batter is elastic and pulls away from sides of bowl (about 5 minutes).
  4. Stir in about 2/3 cup more flour to make soft dough.
  5. Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead till nonsticky, smooth and satiny (10 to 15 minutes).
  6. Place in a greased bowl; turn over to grease other side; cover and let rise in a warm place till doubled (about 1 hour).
  7. Heat remaining ¼ cup oil in a small pan over low heat; add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally till soft and yellow (about 15 minutes); set aside.
  8. Punch down dough and knead briefly on a floured board just to release air bubbles.
  9. Roll dough with a rolling pin, then stretch it with your hands to fit bottom of a well-greased pan; place dough in pan.
  10. With your fingers or tip of a spoon, pierce dough at 1-inch intervals.
  11. Drizzle garlic and oil mixture evenly over dough, then sprinkle with cheese.
  12. Let rise in a warm place, uncovered, till dough is puffy (10 to 15 minutes).
  13. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or till golden brown.
  14. Cut into 16 equal pieces and serve warm or at room temp.

menuGarlic Pull-Apart Bread
Yield: 2 loavesOven: 400°FPans: Standard loaf pans
6 to 7 cups flour
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp garlic salt
2 pkgs active dry yeast
1½ cups water
½ cup milk
½ cup butter

  1. Place 5 cups of the flour, sugar, 1 tbsp of garlic salt, and yeast in a bowl.
  2. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds.
  3. Combine water, milk and ¼ cup of butter in a saucepan; heat over low heat till liquids are warm (120°-130°F).
  4. Continue on low speed and gradually add warm liquids to flour mixture (about 1 minute), then mix 1 minute longer.
  5. Continue on low speed and add remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, till dough cleans sides of bowl.
  6. Knead till smooth and elastic.
  7. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top; cover; let rise in warm place till doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).
  8. Punch down dough and divide in half.
  9. Roll one half to a 12x8-inch rectangle that is ¼-inch thick.
  10. Melt remaining butter and mix with remaining garlic salt; brush dough with mixture.
  11. Cut dough into 4 equal strips each 8" long.
  12. Stack strips and cut into 4 equal pieces 2-inches wide.
  13. Place pieces on edge in greased loaf pan so layers form one row down the length of the pan.
  14. Repeat for remaining dough; cover; let rise in warm place till doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).
  15. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
  16. Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.

menuHoney Bread
Yield: 1 loafOven: 375°FPans: 2-quart round casserole dish
1 pkg yeast
¼ cup warm water (for yeast)
1 cup hot water
½ cup butter
¼ cup honey
1 tsp salt
3¼ cups sifted flour
2 eggs
1 cup oatmeal

  1. Soften yeast in ¼ cup water; blend 1 cup hot water, butter, honey and salt in a large bowl; cool to lukewarm.
  2. Stir in about 1½ cups flour and beat till smooth.
  3. Blend in yeast, eggs and oatmeal.
  4. Add the rest of the flour and beat till smooth.
  5. Cover and let rise in warm place till double.
  6. Stir down and knead a little; turn into a 2-quart round casserole dish.
  7. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes.
  8. Allow to stand 10 minutes before removing from dish.

menuIrish Freckle Bread
Yield: 2 loavesOven: 375°FPans: Round 8" layer cake pan
1 small potato, pared and quartered
1 cup dried currants
2 pkgs active dry yeast
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup sugar
½ cup melted butter
4½ cups sifted flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground mace
Sparkle Glaze

  1. Cook potato in 1 cup water in a small saucepan for 15 minutes or till tender.
  2. Leave potato in water and mash; then measure and add water if needed to make 1 cup; return to saucepan; stir in currants.
  3. Cool mixture to lukewarm.
  4. Sprinkle or crumble yeast into ½ cup very warm water in a large bowl; stir till yeast dissolves, then stir in potato mixture, beaten eggs, sugar and melted butter.
  5. Stir in 2 cups of the flour, salt and mace till smooth; beat in remaining 2½ of flour to make a stiff dough.
  6. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead till smooth.
  7. Place in a greased large bowl, turning once to coat all surfaces; cover with clean towel.
  8. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or till double.
  9. Punch down; knead several times; divide in half.
  10. Shape each half into an 8-inch round; place in a greaed round layer cake pan; cover; let rise again for 45 minutes or till double.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes or till golden and loaves give a hollow sound when tapped.
  12. Remove to wire racks and while still warm, brush top of each with Sparkle Glaze, letting it drip down sides. Serve slightly warm or cold.

SPARKLE GLAZE: Heat ½ cup light corn syrup with ¼ cup water to boiling in a small saucepan, then simmer for 5 minutes; remove from heat. Stir in ½ tsp vanilla.

menuItalian Bread
Yield: 1 loafOven: 425° then 375°FPans: Baking sheet
1 cup lukewarm water
1 pkg yeast
3½ to 3¾ cups sifted flour
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp shortening

  1. Dissolve yeast in water.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and most of the flour.
  3. Mix well and gradually add more flour.
  4. Knead about 20 minutes (play some energetic music and knead to the beat).
  5. Put dough into a greased bowl and turn once to grease all sides; let rise 2 hours.
  6. Punch down and let rise 45 minutes.
  7. Roll into a 15x10-inch oblong; roll up tightly toward you; seal edges by pinching.
  8. Roll gently back and forth to lengthen loaf and taper ends.
  9. Place on a greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal; make ¼" slashes in dough at 2" intervals.
  10. Brush top with cold water; let stand uncovered about 1½ hours; brush again and bake for 10 minutes at 425°, then remove from oven and brush again.
  11. Continue baking at 375° for 15 or 20 minutes more or till golden brown.

©1999 & 2004 by Ernestina Parziale, CH