Easy Peasy FAST Homemade Bread

There are places in my house that require my attention.

My little boys’ room, for example, is just begging for some quality time.

So I had to really put on my thinking cap to find a way — any way at all — to avoid the mess.

And that’s where homemade bread comes in. The perfect solution! Fall is in the air. Baking must be done. OK, so maybe we can’t actually walk in our house without tripping, but it finally smells terrific around here, and I think we can all agree that’s a stunning victory.

In case you need a way to avoid the mess, too, I’ll share the bread recipe with you here, adapted from my Easy Peasy FAST Homemade Cinnamon Rolls. Adaption and repeating successes wherever and whenever possible are some of the best keys to raising millions of children.

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Easy Peasy FAST Homemade Bread
or Focaccia or Pizza or Rolls – you pick!

 Here’s what you’ll need for the dough:

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cups flour

Step 1: Dissolve 1 tablespoon of sugar in 2 cups of warm water. You can tell the water’s the right temperature if you’d stick a baby in it. (Please note: sticking an actual baby in water you’re going to use for bread is generally frowned upon in the culinary community. Make sure no one’s looking is what I’m saying.)

Step 2: After the baby’s out of the water, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of active dry yeast on top. Let it sit for 5 minutes until it gets foamy and stinky. There’s another baby joke here, but I’m going to rise above it. (Rise above it. Yeast. Bread rising. Get it? Har har.) (Sorry.)

Step 3: Dump remaining ingredients (5 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil) into a mixer with a bread hook.* Add the yeasty sugar water to the bowl and mix until it’s all blended into a lump.

*If you don’t have a mixer or are without a bread hook, just dump all of this into a bowl and mix it by hand. No need for fancy equipment. Just blend it all up ’til it pulls like this.

Step 4: Dump your dough lump into an oiled bowl.

 Cover with a towel, and set it in a warm spot to rise for 20 minutes.

It’s critical at this stage to distract yourself by reading a book or skimming a magazine or refereeing a fight between your children; anything to keep your mind off of cleaning your boys’ room. If you’re not very, very careful, you might try to convince yourself that cleaning for just a few minutes couldn’t hurt, but we all know where that thinking gets us, right? To more cleaning. And, friends? I don’t want that for any of us. Trust me on this. Learn from my poor choices. Cleaning begets cleaning begets cleaning. Stop the madness, mamas. WE CAN OVERCOME.

Step 5: Squish your dough into an oiled pan. You can choose: 2 9×13 casserole dishes OR 2 large cast iron skillets for focaccia bread. Or you can make 2 loaves using bread pans. Or 2 rounded loaves on baking stones. Or lots of little rounds for rolls. That’s probably what I love most about this recipe. Versatility!

This time, I made one focaccia loaf and one round bread loaf. I squished my focaccia into a cast iron skillet thusly.

And I drizzled it with olive oil.

For my round loaf (pictured finished here),

I punched down the other half of the dough, made it into a sphere, and put it in another oiled cast iron skillet.

Step 6: Cover and let rise 10 minutes.

Step 7: Add toppings if you like. For focaccia, I suggest 1/2 cup of shredded cheese or thinly sliced onions or 1 tablespoon of the herb-of-your-choice (fresh basil? yum!). I put leeks on 1/2 of our focaccia this time. Highly recommend!

Step 8: Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes until golden brown.

And oh, man. Is there anything better than fresh, homemade, just-out-of-the-oven bread?

Sure, we may live in squalor, but we’re eating fresh, homemade bread while we do it. I say those things cancel each other out, don’t you?

In fact, the only real downside to this entire plan is the fact that this bread only takes an hour from start to finish. Which means I’m going to have to find a lot more baking to do.

……….

Easy Peasy FAST Homemade Bread
Ingredients and Directions: The Concise, Boring Version

Dough:

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cups flour

Directions:

  1. Dissolve 1 tablespoon sugar in 2 cups warm water.
  2. Sprinkle yeast on top of sugar-water and let sit for 5 minutes ’til yeast is foaming.
  3. Dump remaining ingredients (5 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil) in a mixer. Add the yeasty sugar water. Mix with a dough hook ’til everything is combined and sticky.
  4. Put sticky dough into an oiled bowl. Cover. Let rise 20 minutes.
  5. Squash dough into oiled pans: choose 2 9×13 casserole dishes OR 2 large cast iron skillets for focaccia bread. You can make 2 loaves using bread pans. Or 2 rounded loaves on baking stones. Or lots of little rounds for rolls.
  6. Let rise 10 minutes.
  7. Consider adding toppings like:
    • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
    • 1 Tbsp herbs
    • 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp crunchy, coarse-ground salt
    • Thin-sliced leeks, onions, or mushrooms
  8. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes until golden.

Eat it hot! Or at room temperature. Or cold. Whatever floats your boat.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
22 comments
  1. Does this work with whole wheat flour too? Could I also throw some flax or sunflower seeds in it too?

  2. I love this recipe! Thank you…have made it several times now!

  3. You’re my new favorite! I just made this tonight, and it was great! I brushed olive oil on it, sprinkled onion powder and italian seasoning on, then poked in thin onion slices. It was so good. I hardly ever make bread because I live in the mountains, and it never turns out right. However, this was perfect. Also, I resisted the urge to clean, as directed. I caved during that one long spell while it was rising the first time, and started sorting out my recipe binder. But it doesn’t count because, A. I didn’t finish, so it’s actually less tidy than when I started, and B. I left the myriad other chores that actually need to be done, undone. Ta da! Mission accomplished–no cleaning, but yes, lovely bread. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.

  4. One batch lasts one meal for our family of 7 with some left over (sometimes). So depending on how much you want for each student, 2-3 batches would be about right. I love bread, so I’d say 3, but 2 would give everyone a sample 🙂

  5. I wanted to try making this with my class tomorrow, how many kids do you think this would serve cause I have about 18 and I need to see how many batches we will need.

  6. Thank you! Because it’s 90′ and humid here in Minnesota, and I desperately needed bread to go with my split pea soup, and, well, I didn’t start the meal until 4:00pm. I just turned the air conditioning down a few degrees to compensate for my mid-January supper for hubby & 7 kids. No one will notice the messy house as long as bellies are full, right?

  7. […]  Easy Peasy FAST Homemade Bread by Five Kids is A Lot of […]

  8. Sounds so good, mmmm. bread. I like to avoid cleaning too…if only I knew how to could cook to avoid it. I love that you have a Nemo stuffy in their room, even though you don’t like that movie!

    1. It sounds like some alternative avoidance techniques are in order. I’ll see what I can do.

  9. Saturday morning my daughter’s room looked like that, so I cleaned it. (A travesty I know!) Saturday night, my daughter’s room looked like that..again. I went to bed defeated. If only I had this recipe to keep me occupied! 🙂

    1. Hehehe. Thanks for the laugh, Jessica — and the solidarity. 🙂

  10. Love it! My sons room looks pretty similar to this right now! And just for the record, so does my daughters! On with the baking! Not sure how I found ya, but ur definitely a keeper!

  11. I could use something fast in my life – i’m gonna try it!

  12. Love this post – and how timely! Yesterday, across the world in sunny Berkshire, England – where the sky was blue and the trees were golden and both were beckoning me to go and kick up leaves in the woods with my Boys – I “took” option A and tackled our boys’ room. Wish I’d baked bread instead.
    But…moving into our new home in 5 weeks and some serious tidying and de-cluttering is required. Not entirely sure why, as when we moved out of it 8 months ago (before our demolition and build started) there was some “serious tidying and de-cluttering” done. But there have been several summer fetes since then, so someone else’s “reject” toys and inflatables (inevitably full of holes) have found their way into our home despite my best efforts.
    Am suffering today from 1. sore feet – from “Lego on floor” inflicted injuries (“How many times have I told you to wear slippers?!”) 2. sore back – from crawling under the beds to retrieve said reject toys. 3. Asthma – from crawling under the beds to retrieve said reject toys etc etc.
    I will obviously be baking your cinnamon rolls and bread (they both look great!) once we are in our new – dust and clutter free – eco-house (featuring a laundry matrix just like your own (FAB!)) – but for today, there is another boys’ room to be tackled so… once more unto the breach dear friends – once more….!

    1. Oh, no! Lego Foot is excruciating! Here’s wishing you a swift recovery. 🙂

      I hope your move goes well, Heather. A dust- and clutter-free home sure whould worth it!

  13. If it wasn’t almost 11 pm here, I would totally make your cinnamon rolls again for a quick easy breakfast before church tomorrow. I’ve been craving them for some time now and just haven’t made the time to make them. Thanks for another easy sounding recipe!

  14. Ok, so that bread looks delicious and I will have to try it, BUT more importantly I was scared when in the first picture I saw what I thought was a hand peeking out of the toys on the floor… It wasn’t until the second pic that I realised it was the legs of the little white horse.

    And I had to hop over and read your recipe for the cinnamon rolls, I need to make them as soon as possible, I’m almost drooling right now…

    1. Ha! It DOES look like someone didn’t make it out of the rubble. Probably appropriate, given the state of the disaster.

      Let me know how the cinnamon rolls turn out.

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