Ten Kinds of Bread to Make While You Practice Social Distancing
I know we’ve all been watching bread videos over the past few weeks. Whether your friends are posting their failed bread attempts on Instagram or you’ve been watching Jamie Oliver’s “Keep Cooking and Carry On”, I’m sure you’re tempted to make your own bread. Below there are three categories of bread to make: beginner, for all of our first-time bread makers, intermediate for those who have mastered a loaf or two, and expert, for experienced bread makers and the extra bored alike.
No-Knead, simple bread is probably the easiest bread and definitely the best one to start out with. This recipe from IHeartNaptime is super simple with four ingredients: all-purpose flour, active dry yeast, water and salt. That’s it! This specific recipe is great because you don’t need a baking stone, like you would for other bread recipes; an upside-down baking sheet works just fine! Overall, this bread is easy, quick to make, and just a simple crowdpleaser.
Want to make bread fast? Like, super fast in bread terms? Like, do you really not want to wait hours for your bread to rise? Here’s the perfect bread for you! While a lot of the no-knead bread is already incredibly fast-rising, “No-Time” bread is even quicker than that. In this recipe from Kitchn, the fast-rising aspect comes from microwaving the bread in intervals for a few minutes. Although this bread might not have the same flavor as some longer-rising bread, it’s quick and a good place to start for those still working normal hours at home.
Onto more specific types of bread! Focaccia is known to be a great bread for beginner bakers, and it’s incredibly easy to customize. There’s plain focaccia, skillet focaccia, rosemary focaccia, tomato-herb focaccia — any and all kinds of focaccia are possible! A great place to start is with Bon Appétit’s classic focaccia recipe; it only takes about an hour to rise and 30 minutes to bake. Once you master the classic focaccia, you’ve mastered all focaccia.
Basic White Bread
I’ll be honest, I can’t remember the last time I had just basic, white bread. If you’re missing that classic bread perfect for grilled cheese and toast, why not make your own? Now, white bread is probably the most “difficult” on this beginner’s list, just because it’s a little hard to perfect. Your water has to be the perfect temperature, it needs to rise in warm air, and it takes a little longer to make than the other beginner’s recipes. Despite this, I think if you have the time, this is the perfect bread to make. Everyone loves white bread, so it’s definitely worth it to learn how to make your own. MyRecipe’s white bread is a great recipe to follow!
Flatbread is genuinely such an easy bread to make — it’s only 5 ingredients, and you don’t even need to use your oven. You just make your flatbreads and throw those bad boys on your stovetop. Like focaccia, flatbread is also super easy to customize. This garlic herb flatbread recipe from Minimalist Baker is a great example of that. The best part of flatbread is its versatility; you can make personal pizzas, shawarmas, or just dip the flatbread into some hummus!
Because ciabatta is a high-hydration bread, it’s a little harder to make than our beginner bread types. It’s a little more involved, but the pay-off is totally worth it. It might take you a few tries to make the perfect sponge and dough, but Baked by an Introvert has a great, step-by-step recipe (with plenty of pictures!) on how to make the perfect ciabatta. This is definitely not a one-day recipe, so make sure you have at least two days dedicated to this bread!
Brioche bread is 100% my favorite kind of bread. It’s just so fluffy and delicious. It’s a little difficult to make for the same reason as ciabatta: it’s a high-hydration bread. Also, you really should use a stand-mixer when you’re making brioche just because it needs a LOT of kneading. This is also a pretty involved bread because you have to change the temperature of the oven while it’s baking, but c’mon, it’s brioche. I personally really like Fifteen Spatulas’ brioche recipe because of how streamlined it is.
Ah, the baguette. I won’t lie, baguette’s are notorious for being difficult to bake. They have relatively simple ingredients, water, yeast, flour, and salt, but the technique is where the difficulty lies. Scoring specifically is very hard to perfect. It’s a great bread to try if you want something a little more aesthetically challenging! Baking a Moment’s baguette recipe is rather straightforward with more of an emphasis on flavor than looks, so it’s a perfect place to start for the novice baguette baker!
Yes, sourdough is tedious, but it’s also so delicious. Sourdough takes days to make. And by days, I mean, like, five at minimum. It’s intense. This is because you have to have sourdough starter, which has to sit so the yeast can become activated. It’s a great bread to make if you’re up for a challenge, and if you’ve made a few of the other recipes on this page. Tasty’s video on sourdough is super helpful to make sure your sourdough looks like theirs. The best part is if you have any leftover starter, you can use it for your next loaf to speed up the process!
Croissants Is including croissants on a list of breads controversial? Yes. Do I really think croissants are bread? Yes! Do I think they’re pastries? Also yes. Who cares about their classification, they’re super hard to make. I can already promise you that you will not make these properly on your first, second, or third try. This is probably the best time to learn how to make one of the most difficult pastries/breads, though. Why not come out of quarantine as a croissant connoisseur? If you’re up for it, the croissant recipe by Tasting Table is a great one. My one piece of advice: patience is key here.