There’s a time and place for artisan loaves and fancy brick-oven pizza crusts…
And then there’s a time when you are staring at the flour and yeast in your cupboard and just wanna make a basic loaf of bread because there isn’t any at the store…
This recipe is exactly for those latter situations.
Never made bread before?
This is the recipe for you?
Have minimal ingredients in your pantry?
Don’t have a bread machine or fancy mixer?
Not an issue.
Want to make pizza crust, cinnamon rolls, or dinner rolls instead?
You got it.
How Do You Make Dough From Scratch?
Well, there are a million ways, lots of techniques, and plenty of different ingredient lists.
But here’s the secret:
Making bread can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.
With just a handful of very basic ingredients, it’s quite possible to make a loaf of homemade bread that will knock the socks off your family.
Friends, allow me to introduce you to the simplest, most versatile easy bread dough recipe you’ll ever meet.
May it be the catalyst that prompts you to finally explore the world of homemade bread… because it’s a delicious skill to have, even when the stores *are* chock-full of baked goods.
(If you want to see what the dough looks like through each step of the process, you can see it all in the video!)
Versatile & Easy Dough Recipe
Yield: One sandwich loaf OR one 12-inch pizza OR one 9×13 pan of dinner/cinnamon rolls.
Before we dive into the recipe, here are a few things you should know about ingredients & substitutions:
- If you have all-purpose flour, it’s a perfect fit for this recipe. However, you can also easily substitute in whole wheat flour or go half and half. If you do use whole wheat, you may need to use a little less, since it soaks up water more easily than all-purpose.
- I haven’t tried this recipe with a gluten-free baking blend– but I have a hunch it’d probably work just fine.
- If you’d like to omit the egg, simple add in an additional 1/4 cup of water.
- For an even softer dough, you can use milk (or whey) in place of the water.
- I use sucanat (an unrefined whole cane sugar) (affiliate link) for all my baking. But you can use regular brown sugar, white sugar, or even honey in this recipe.
- Or, if you’re avoiding all sugar, just omit the sweetener altogether.
- Want to DOUBLE this recipe and make two loaves, 2 pizzas, or two pans of rolls? No problem– I’ve even done the math for you below.
- Active, dry yeast is the most common type of yeast sold in grocery stores. I recommend getting the larger jars or packages, as the small single-serving packets tend to not be as dependable. SAF is my favorite brand, but Red Star is good too. (affiliate link)
The Easiest, Most Versatile Bread Recipe Ever
The most versatile dough recipe you’ll ever find!
- Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 59 minute
- Yield: 1 loaf of bread 1x
- Category: Bread
- Method: DIY
- Cuisine: American
- 1 1/3 cup warm water (100-110*F)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons active, dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar or honey
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
In a large mixing bowl, combine the water, yeast, and sugar.
Stir until dissolved, then add in the egg and salt.
Add the flour one cup at a time. Once the mixture is too stiff to mix with a fork, transferred it to a well-floured countertop.
Knead for 4-5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Add more flour if the dough is continues to stick to your hands.
Shape the smooth dough into a ball and place in a bowl. Cover with a dish cloth and let rise in a warm place for one hour (or until the dough has doubled).
After this first rise is complete, use these directions to turn it into the following baked goods:
Grease a standard-sized loaf pan (9″x5″). After the first rise is complete, punch down the dough and shape it into a “log”. Place it into the loaf pan and allow to rise 20-30 more minutes, or until it starts to peek over the edge of the pan. Bake in a 350* oven for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned.
After the first rise is complete, press the dough into a 12-inch circle on a baking stone or baking sheet (you can also use a standard cookie sheet if that’s all you have). Top with sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings. Bake in a 450* oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.
After the first rise is complete, divide the dough into 15 pieces. Shape into balls and arrange in a greased 9×13-inch pan. Rise for an additional 30 minutes in a warm place. Bake at 375* for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
After the first rise is complete, roll the dough into a 20 x 13-inch rectangle on a floured countertop. Spread 4 tablespoons of softened butter on top (leave 1/2-inch margin around the edges), and sprinkle with 1/2 cup brown sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon. Starting on the long side, roll it up and press the seam together to seal the roll. Using a serrated knife, cut into 12 rolls. Arrange the rolls in a greased 9×13-inch pan and allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until the rolls are puffy. Bake in a 350* oven for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
- The water you use should be warm, not hot. Test it with your finger– it should feel about the temperature of a good bath.
- Dough rises best when it’s warm. I like to put my rising dough next to our wood stove or near the oven if something is baking. However, if you don’t have those options, simple preheat your oven to 350* for 3 minutes, turn it OFF, and then allow the covered dough to rise in the warm oven for one hour.
- A lot of people are intimidated by kneading– don’t be. Perfect technique isn’t important. Just work the dough until it’s smooth and add more flour if you need it.
How to Double this Easy Dough Recipe:
Here are the measurements for making 2 loaves, 2 pizzas, or 2 pans of rolls.
- 2 2/3 cups warm water (100-110*F)
- 3 teaspoons active, dry yeast
- 4 teaspoons brown sugar or honey
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 6 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
Follow the same directions above for mixing, kneading, and rising.
Edited to add: So many folks are asking what bowl I use for breadmaking. This 12″ stoneware bowl is my hands-down favorite. But of course, any bowl is just fine for this purpose.
Can I Freeze This Dough?
Yes! Simply make the dough and let it complete the first rise. Then, punch down, wrap tightly, and freeze for up to 3 months.
I’ve also had good luck with freezing the loaves of bread after I bake them. I allow them to cool completely, then wrap tightly and freeze for 3-6 months.
Need More Pantry Cooking Ideas?
- Easy Homemade Tortillas
- Crockpot Taco Meat
- Fast Tomato Sauce Recipe
- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe
- Chocolate Pudding Cake Recipe
- How to Make Your Own Broth