Super Easy Bread Recipe for Beginners

Partially sliced loaf of white bread on a cutting board with a jar of jam

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Rise Time: 90 mins
Total: 2 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 1 loaf
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
136 Calories
2g Fat
26g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 136
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 182mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 18mg 1%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 56mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is an easy recipe for your first loaf of homemade yeast bread. Using basic ingredients that can be found in most kitchens, it produces a delicious white bread with a soft crust and moist center. With no preservatives and a great taste, you'll quickly find out why baking your own bread is so much better than buying it at the store.

Beginners will find this to be the perfect introduction to baking great bread. You can use it to learn about the essential ingredients that go into bread, practice kneading and other techniques, and discover the perfect baking time in your oven. There are lots of tips and tricks to help you along the way. Start with one loaf to see how it turns out. If needed, you can make slight adjustments the next time.

Experienced bakers will also find that this recipe is a great base for experimentation. If you're adventurous, feel free to alter and play with it to create your own bread recipes.


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"The recipe is great for beginners, but also enjoyable for experienced bakers. It's a standard white bread with no fuss, special ingredients, or advanced techniques. Since it’s so easy, it's a great recipe to familiarize yourself with kneading, proofing, shaping, and scoring, even experimenting with different approaches to each." —Diana Rattray

Super Easy Bread for Beginners Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 3/4 cup warm water (95 F to 110 F)

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1/4 ounce/ 7 grams) active dry yeast

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (approximately)

Steps to Make It

Mix the Bread Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for easy homemade bread recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Pour the warm water into a large bowl.

    Water added to a glass bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Slowly stir in the yeast until it is dissolved.

    Yeast and water mixture turning frothy

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Add the salt, sugar, and milk to the bowl. Stir until everything is thoroughly combined.

    Salt, sugar, and milk being stirred into yeast mixture with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Mix in the shortening and the first 2 cups of flour. The shortening will continue to integrate into the dough while kneading, so it may be small lumps at this stage.

    Flour and shortening being stirred into mixture with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. If needed, begin adding more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough chases the spoon around the bowl.

    Dough with added flour detaching from the sides of the bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack 

Prepare and Bake the Bread Dough

Once you have mixed the bread dough, it is time to work it and let it rise (called proofing). This is often the stage that turns many bakers away from homemade bread because it takes time for the bread to rise as well as practice learning how to knead the dough. After making a few loaves though, you'll be a natural.

  1. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead for about 10 minutes. Add small spoonfuls of flour as necessary, until the dough is soft and smooth (not sticky to the touch). You may not need all of the flour, or you may need a little more. Keep the surface floured to prevent the dough from sticking to the board and your hands.

    Dough being kneaded vigorously on a floured wooden board

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Put the dough in a greased or buttered bowl and turn the dough over so the other side is also greased.

    Smooth dough ball in a greased glass bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Cover and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot, such as an oven with the light on, for about 1 hour, or until doubled.

    Risen dough reaching the top of the glass bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Punch down the dough.

    Dough being punched down with the fist

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead for 5 minutes.

    Dough being kneaded on a floured wooden board

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. Form the dough into a loaf (here are some helpful tips) and set it gently into a greased bread pan.

    Dough evenly filling a metal loaf pan

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack 

  7. Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes, or until doubled. If your kitchen is chilly or drafty, place the pan in a cool oven with the light on for this step, or you may not get a proper rise. Preheat the oven to 375 F.

    Risen dough reaching the top of the metal loaf pan

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  8. Score the risen dough by cutting three slashes across the top with a sharp knife. While not essential, this step controls the direction in which the bread expands as it bakes. (If you forget to do it, the bread will taste the same.)

    Dough being scored three times diagonally

    The Spruce Eats /Cara Cormack

  9. Place the bread in the oven and bake for about 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.

    Golden brown baked bread in loaf pan

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  10. Turn out the loaf of bread and let it cool completely on a rack or clean dish towel before slicing.

    Bread cooling on a metal rack

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  11. Serve and enjoy.

    Partially sliced loaf of white bread on a cutting board with a jar of jam

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Recipe Variations

  • Brush loaves with milk before baking to produce a dark, shiny crust.
  • Brush loaves with egg white before baking to produce a shiny crust.
  • Spraying loaves with water while they bake will produce a crispy crust.
  • Brush loaves with butter immediately after baking to produce a soft crust.
  • Add flavor with herbs and spices, such as caraway, garlic, rosemary, and sesame seeds. Use about 3 tablespoons total and mix them in with the flour and shortening.
  • If you'd like to include dried fruit or nuts, stir them in with the initial flour as well. To avoid overwhelming a loaf, start with 1 cup total and increase that on the next loaf if desired.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Store cooled homemade bread at room temperature in a well-sealed plastic bag for 3 to 4 days.
  • To freeze, wrap the cooled bread—sliced or whole loaf—in plastic wrap and then wrap it in foil. Label it with name and date and use it within 6 months. For short-term freezer storage of 1 month or less, it's fine to freeze it in a plastic bag or container.

Why Didn't My Bread Rise?

There are many variables in baking bread. The most likely culprit for a loaf that doesn't rise is bad yeast. It can even happen before the package's expiration date, especially if it's open and not refrigerated. If you're not buying yeast frequently, you can test yeast by proofing it with water and sugar.

Which Flour Is the Best for Bread?

This recipe uses all-purpose flour because it's the most common type stocked in the average kitchen. However, if you enjoy baking bread, you'll want to switch to bread flour. It has more gluten and creates a better tasting bread that rises just a little more. The two types of flour can be substituted in equal measurements in most bread recipes.

Can Butter Be Used as a Substitute for Vegetable Shortening?

Butter is used in many bread recipes and can be used in this one. The general recommendation for substituting butter for shortening is to add a little more butter for each cup of shortening. However, since this bread only requires 1 tablespoon, your butter substitute should be just fine with that amount. If you want to be safe, cut the butter stick a tiny bit bigger than indicated.

How Do I Store Bread to Keep it Fresh?

Homemade bread does not have the preservatives of store-bought bread. Generally, a loaf will stay fresh when stored at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. The refrigerator will dry the bread out and should be avoided. The better option is to freeze loaves that you won't use right away. The bread will thaw perfectly at room temperature in a couple of hours.