Midwinter has me longing for simple, satisfying foods—the kind my nana’s nana made for her family to stave off the cold Russian winters. Since old world soups like Russian borscht and cabbage soup are practically in my DNA, they’re frequently simmering on my stove. Unfortunately, what’s not in my DNA is the home-baked bread those soups demand, and this winter, I decided it was time for a change. So I set about searching for a great recipe for home-baked bread that wouldn’t take all day to make. Joanna Gaines—a shortcut queen—had just the recipe for me. Plus, it changed the way I baked.
The Life-Changing Magic of a Bread Maker
Joanna writes in her blog post, “the thought of homemade fresh bread used to overwhelm me.” Same, Joanna! Proofing the yeast, kneading the bread, letting it rise—it all seems pretty daunting. But Joanna reminded me of the kitchen gadget that was so popular a decade ago: the bread maker.
If a breadmaker could deliver homemade fresh bread with only a few minutes of hands-on time, it was likely worth the investment. So I invested in this Hamilton Beach model and never looked back.
Joanna’s Super-Fast Bread Recipe
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1 cup warm water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) bread machine yeast
To make this bread, it’s as easy as dump and go—just like these dinner recipes. Simply add all the ingredients to the bread maker, set the machine to “basic” and push start. Yep, it’s really that easy!
Pro tip: Many bread makers recommend adding all the liquids first, then salt and the flour, and finally sugar and yeast (which you don’t have to proof for this recipe).
After three hours, my house smelled like a bakery. I removed my bread from the machine and cut into a softly crusted loaf of sweet bread. It was tasty but a bit too sweet for your tuna sandwich. I decided that I’d alter the recipe a bit to make a less sweet bread. This loaf, though, was great for breakfast and would be amazing as French toast.
Make It Your Own
- A Little Less Sweet: For a non-sweet bread, Joanna recommends reducing the sugar to a quarter cup. This makes for one heck of a tuna melt.
- A Savory Loaf: Add minced onion and poppy seeds between the first and second kneading cycles. When the machine pauses before the baking cycle, brush the dough with a beaten egg and sprinkle on more poppy seeds. An hour later, you’ll be in onion-poppy bread heaven. If you feel like making this one by hand, we’ve got the non-breadmaker recipe right here.
Thank you, Joanna Gaines, for your infinite kitchen wisdom. Next up: we try making Joanna’s biscuits, and spoiler alert: yum.