Basic Bread 101

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Basic Bread 101

Is there anything better than the smell of fresh baked bread wafting out of a warm kitchen? With this recipe, the only thing better is the taste! This simple loaf bread is great for toast, sandwiches, and perfect with a little compound butter

Basic White Bread
Yield: 3 loaves

2-3 cups boiling water for steam bath
3 cups warm water, for dough
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons instant/rapid rise yeast*
6 cups unbleached bread flour, plus more if needed
1/4 cup cornmeal

*An instant yeast, sometimes called “rapid rise” removes the need for proofing the dough; there is only one rise. Instant yeast is also added with the flour, rather than into the water with the sugar. This yeast is available at your local grocer, or online.

Stand mixer with dough hook.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 3 medium (8.5 x 4.5 x 2.75 inches) loaf pans. Have 2-3 cups of water boiling for steam bath.

In the bowl of a stand mixer pour the warm water, vegetable oil, sugar, and salt. Start mixer. Slowly add 3 cups of flour, one at a time. Once flour is combined, add yeast.  Add remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time, allowing flour to combine completely before adding more.

Once the flour is combined, the dough should start to pull away from sides of the bowl, and its texture will appear waxy.

Sprinkle counter or cutting board and hands with cornmeal. Remove dough from the bowl. At this point, the dough should be moved as little as possible. The less it is handled, the better it will rise. Divide dough into three equal pieces. Gently fold each piece in half, and place in loaf pan, seam side down.

Pour an inch of hot water into a shallow sheet pan. Place loaves in water, without dough getting wet. Using glasses, or tall bottles, tent a damp cloth over bread and tray, being careful not to let the cloth touch the bread. This tent will help your dough rise and keep out cold, yeast-killing drafts. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, 10-15 minutes.

When the dough has risen, bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is crisp and golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Cooking time 1 hour 30 minutes
Level Moderate

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Reader Comments:


I am looking to buy a good bread board to knead bread . Am having a hard time finding one to buy. Do you have any good ideas. Thank you. Michelle

By Michelle Barnett on October 23, 2013


Paula, I think you are great. I'm sorry for all the trouble you have had.They are so wrong, Every one has use the (N) Word! My prayer for you , is that you come back Bigger, and Better than before.. I'm Sure you will. Look at what happened to Martha Stewart, and, you are far better than her..... Keep your head high, You show them what a southern lady is all about. Lov ya , Carla

By Carla on September 02, 2013


My 1st visit to this site - I will be back many times! Thank you Ms. Deen & your team for sharing your wonderful recipes. Stay strong - there are many, many of us who will always be grateful to you for showing us how to cook real Southern style! The biscuits are delicious and I am on to bread next! Thanks again & keep smiling.

By Susan Johnson on July 07, 2013


Hi Barbara Tanton, You can find silly salt at the Paula Deen Store, here's the link: Salt/4294958178/21/M

By Anonymous on March 07, 2013


You had an ingredient listed in Paula Deen's Millennium Sandwich it was Paula Deen's Silly Salt what is it?

By Barbara Tanton on February 21, 2013


??? I have been baking Bread in my Bread Machine. What can I do to keep the crust from getting so hard ? I would appreciate your help. Thanking you in advance. By Carolyn Barfield on December 21, 2011 ========= ANSWER: I ALWAYS put my bread machine crust on light crust and when I take it out of the bread machine, put the baked bread in a plastic large storage bag on the counter. Leave the end open to vent to cool. You can take a dry paper towel to the inside of the storage bag if concerned about the moisture collecting inside. But leave the plastic bag open to let the steam from the bread out. It will be soft, soft, soft. I also cut my bread with an electric slicing knife and at the very end piece, hold a regular knife to hold the end piece up. Nervous with an electric knife!

By Bev Beuster on July 03, 2012


I am looking for the tea biscuit dry mixture that she spoke of on her show I watched the other day. She had one of her friends over and they were having a tea biscuit contest and she indicated that the dry mixture was on her website so we could make our own. Thanks for your attention to this.

By Oneta Wager on June 16, 2012


Fantastic recipe

By donna travis on January 31, 2012


??? I have been baking Bread in my Bread Machine. What can I do to keep the crust from getting so hard ? I would appreciate your help. Thanking you in advance.

By Carolyn Barfield on December 21, 2011


Is there a whole wheat recipe, or whole grain recipe that I can use instead of while flour? Love your show!!!! P.S. when will u open a restaurant in S. Florida?

By Susana Elzey on October 31, 2011


For the people who dont get the whole put the dough in water with out of getting it wet she clearly state that you put the dough in the pan first. then you put water in SHEET PAN. then you will put the dough pan ob the sheet pan and thats how you do it...

By Latasha Goode on October 23, 2011


I am looking for a bread starter recipe..the starter used instant potatoes. I use to make this in the early 90's..someone always had the starter. Someone had to start it, i want to do that. It was a simple bread to make. Can you help? Thanks greatly, Carolyn smile

By Carolyn Wood on July 27, 2011


Thank you so kindly for cooking basics for all those whom may be just starving to be creative in ones kitchen ..longing to win that mans heart..

By linda welling on July 09, 2011


This Polish gal loves this site as it is great!!Love the cooking basic section for all whom may just beginning or for others whom still need a little assistance on those important issues we need assistance on..Thank you Paula Deen..

By linda on July 09, 2011


To all our fantastic bread bakers! The dough has already been put in the loaf pans when placed in the shallow pan of warm water. So, you are placing the loaf pan into another pan with a little warm water in it. You can get a glimpse of this in the first picture above. Happy Baking!

By Libbie Summers, Senior Food Editor for Paula Deen on July 04, 2011


I just made this bread with my girls for the first time. Actually, it's our first time making bread! I poured the dough onto the counter, cut it, but when I picked it up, the dough was VERY soft and just kind of drooped through my fingers. Is there a special technique for picking it up next time? We are currently 89* and outside of Austin and the house is about 75* if any of that matters. I just thought it would be a little stiffer. Thanks!

By Jeri on June 10, 2011


Im confused with the rest of them dont understand the part of placing dough into water pan but not getting the dough wet and a tent???paula please explain what you mean because can't make heads or tails of this to me either thanks Allen Park MI

By Jeanette on June 07, 2011


i;ll be making bread when fall getsvhere to hot here for that now,

By maryjo on June 07, 2011


I have been diagnosed with Celiac disease, I can not have wheat and many other things. Do you have a recipe for rice bread. I miss having sandwiches!!!!

By Janice Maxwell on June 07, 2011


I have visited your store in Sav. and have your cookbook love you and your TV program. Thats for all the info.

By MaryAnn Alltop on June 07, 2011

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