One thing I’ve realised over the last few weeks of limiting our trips out to the supermarket is how much bread we eat in our house.
We don’t have room in our freezer to stash extra loaves, so the obvious solution for us was to start baking our own fresh bread at home.
I spent quite a bit of time searching online for easy but reliable recipes for homemade bread before finding this easiest homemade bread recipe ever from le coin de Mel.
It turned out to be the perfect jumping off point for me to play around with, until I ended up with this really easy never-ending bread recipe.
The real beauty of this bread recipe, and what makes it basically never-ending, is that you only need enough yeast to make the first loaf.
At the moment yeast can be pretty hard to get hold of, so this is such a great recipe to use if you only have a sachet or two hiding in the cupboard.
What you do is make up the dough, then before you bake it you pinch off a piece about the size of a walnut. Then you put that in a bowl with a cup of flour and a cup of water and stir it all up together. This can then sit on your worktop for a day or two until you’re ready to make your next loaf.
When that time comes, you use this ‘saved yeast’ instead of a fresh sachet of the stuff, and adjust the recipe for the cup of flour and cup of water that you put in it.
It’s a similar concept to creating a sourdough starter, but much easier as far as I’m concerned!
I first heard about this idea of saving some yeast from one dough to use in the next from Glen and friends on YouTube, and he calls it a levain, so that’s what I’m going with in this recipe.
So, enough explaining and on with the recipe.
Don’t be put off by the number of steps in the recipe, it really is the most ridiculously easy bread I’ve ever made, I’ve just broken it down into quite a few steps!
Ingredients (for the first time you make it)
- 4 cups of flour (plain or strong bread flour)
- 1 teaspoon of easy yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
- 2 cups of water
You’ll also need
- A big bowl to mix the dough up in
- A handful of flour to dust your worksurface/tray
- A 2lb loaf tin
- Oil to grease the tin
- Cling film (or a tea towel) to cover overnight
- A small bowl for your levain/saved yeast to go into
What you need to do
1. Put the flour, yeast and salt in a big bowl and stir to combine.
2. Add the water and stir well for a few minutes to bring the dough together. It’ll look really wet and sticky – that’s good!
3. Cover the bowl with clingfilm (or a clean tea towel) and leave the dough to rise, ideally somewhere warm, for about 12 hours.
4. After the 12 hours is up and you’re ready to bake the bread, turn your oven on to 230 degrees.
5. Flour your worktop, or for easier clean up flour a big baking tray, then tip the sticky dough out of the bowl onto the floured surface. I say ‘tip’, but it’s more a case of scraping it out of the bowl with a spoon.
6. Turn the dough to make sure it’s all nicely covered in flour. It’ll be a really loose dough that’ll spread across the worktop/baking tray a bit.
7. Leave it there for about 30 minutes.
This is where the magic of the never-ending bread happens.
- While you’re waiting, pinch off a piece of the dough, about the size of a walnut.
- Pop the small piece of dough into a bowl.
- Add in a cup of flour and a cup of water and mix it all up together. This is your levain, or ‘saved yeast’. Loosely cover the bowl and leave out on the worktop, ready to use in a day or two for your next loaf.
8. Next you need to oil your loaf tin. Just pour a small amount in the tin and spread it around with a bit of kitchen roll so the bottom and sides are lightly covered.
9. After the 30 minutes is up scoop the dough up and plop it into the loaf tin. You’ll need to be quite quick with this as the dough is really loose, not the firm sort of bread dough you might be expecting! Once it’s in the tin gently prod it around so it fills the tin as evenly as possible.
10. Put the tin in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
11. Check it’s done by tipping the bread out of the tin and gently tapping the base. It should sound hollow.
12. Leave to cool and then enjoy!
Now you’ve made your first loaf and have your saved yeast/levain ready on the side, you can whip up another loaf so easily in a day or two.
Here’s what you need to do when you have that levain ready and waiting:
Ingredients for all the other times
- Levain from the last time you made the bread
- 3 cups of flour (plain or strong bread flour)
- 1 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup of water
What you need to do
1. Mix together the flour and salt in a big bowl.
2. Stir in the water and the levain (you might need to give the levain a quick stir first it is looks like it’s separated a bit.
3. Mix it all together well until it forms a sticky dough, like before.
4. Cover and leave somewhere warm for 12 hours to rise.
5. After the 12 hours is up and you’re ready to bake the bread, turn your oven on to 230 degrees.
6. Flour your worktop, or for easier clean up flour a big baking tray, then tip the sticky dough out of the bowl onto the floured surface.
7. Turn the dough to make sure it’s all nicely covered in flour. It’ll be a really loose dough that’ll spread across the worktop/baking tray.
8. Leave it there for about 30 minutes.
9. Make your levain for your next loaf – pinch off a piece of dough about the size of a walnut and mix it in a bowl with a cup of flour and a cup of water.
10. Oil your loaf tin.
11. After the 30 minutes is up scoop the dough up and quickly plop it into the loaf tin. Once it’s in the tin gently prod it around so it fills the tin as evenly as possible.
12. Put the tin in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
13. Check it’s done by tipping the bread out of the tin and gently tapping the base. It should sound hollow.
14. Leave to cool and then enjoy!
So there you have it.
Possibly the easiest way ever to make absolutely delicious fresh bread at home.
With the added benefit of being able to keep on making it again and again without needing to track down more yeast. As long as you can find some flour you’re laughing!
Have you been making bread at home lately?
Leave me a comment if you try this recipe and let me know how you get on with it!
Really easy never-ending bread
The easiest bread you'll ever make, that you can make over and over again without needing more yeast.
2lb loaf tin
Large mixing bowl
- 4 cups flour (plain or strong bread flour)
- 1 tsp easy dried yeast
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 2 cups water
Mix the flour, salt and yeast together in a big bowl
Add the water and mix well for a few minutes
Cover the bowl with clingfilm or a tea towel and leave in a warm spot for 12 hours
After about 12 hours, preheat your oven to 230 degrees
Flour your worktop, or a big baking tray, then scrape the sticky dough out onto the floured surface
Turn the dough a bit to get it all covered in the flour and then leave for 30 minutes
Here's the magic step that makes this never-ending bread - making a levain (or saved yeast) to use for your next loaf instead of new yeast. Pinch off a piece of the dough and mix it with a cup of flour and a cup of water in a bowl. Cover this loosely and leave on the worktop to use in a day or two.
Oil the loaf tin
After 30 minutes scoop the dough up and put it in the loaf tin. You'll have to be quick because the dough is really loose, not the firm dough you might expect for bread.
Cook in the oven for 45 minutes
Check it's done by tipping the bread out of the tin and tapping the bottom gently, it should sound hollow
Leave to cool and then enjoy!
This recipe is for the first time you make the never-ending bread.
The next time you make it you'll use the levain (saved yeast) that you made from the small piece of dough, cup of flour and cup of water.
The method of making the bread is exactly the same, but you need to adjust the ingredient amounts to:
3 cups of flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
I cup of water
Mix these with the bowl of levain, instead of using new yeast.
Then make the bread just like you did before, remembering to make a new levain ready for the next loaf in a few days!
This post is linked up with KCACOLS.