Free Formed Bread

  • Yield : 4 -5 Loaves
  • Prep Time : 3:10 h
  • Cook Time : 30m

For $5 you can make several loaves of some of the greatest bread you’ve had.  And don’t be fooled by the ‘easy’ skill level – it’s easier than that.

Please don’t be thrown off by the prep time.  A large majority of that is simply waiting for the dough to rise while you do whatever else you want.  It barely counts.

The other thing I love about this recipe is that it makes a bunch of dough, which you throw in a freezer bag, put in the fridge and when you want some bread, you can cut off a chunk and in a little over an hour, you have a fresh loaf.

Seriously, try this.  I did and I can’t stop eating it.


  • 3 Cups Lukewarm Water
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Granulated Yeast (about 2 packets - any brand/style will do)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Coarse Salt
  • 6 1/2 Cups of Unbleached All-Purpose Flour


Step 1

Add the YEAST and the SALT to the WATER (about 100 degrees F) in a large bowl. You don't need to mix it or wait for it to dissolve.

Step 2

Add the FLOUR. No need to sift or pack the flour. Simply scoop it up, sweep level, and add all of it to the WATER mixture

Step 3

Use a wooden spoon or your (very wet) hands to mix in the FLOUR. Its not necessary to knead the dough. Just mix it together until its uniformly moist.

Step 4

Cover the bowl and allow to rise in a warm spot until its about twice its size. I cover it with a hand towel and put it in the sun. This will take about 2 hours.

Step 5

Its recommended that you allow the dough to then sit in the fridge for a few hours, but if you're like me, you're ready to eat. Cut off a grapefruit sized chunk of dough and with floured hands, stretch and mold it into a ball. Again, no need to kneed - this shouldn't take more than 60 seconds.

Step 6

Place the ball of dough onto a heavily floured surface you can later use to slide the dough into the oven (like a pizza peel). Flour the top of the ball and use a knife to cut a couple of slices into the top. Allow the dough to sit and rise for 40 MINUTES. After 20 MINUTES, turn the oven on to 450 degrees F and place a baking surface on the middle rack (a baking stone works best but a cookie sheet will work).

Step 7

After 40 MINUTES, slide the dough on to the baking surface. The trick is to add a pan with 1 CUP of WATER to the bottom rack, which will help bake the bread with STEAM, making it soft in the middle. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Step 8

Keep the rest of the dough covered or in a freezer bag in the fridge until you're ready for another loaf (it will keep for well over a week). The initial dough making is the tedious part. However, when you're ready for a loaf, cut off a chunk of dough, spend 60 seconds to roll the dough into a ball, let rise for 40 minutes and cook for 30. You'll have fresh bread for 60 seconds of work.

Jake switched to a plant based diet in 1996 and quickly realized he had no idea how to cook. All these years later and he's still trying to figure it out...

More From This Chef »
Average Member Rating

(4.8 / 5)

4.8 5 24
Rate this recipe

24 people rated this recipe

Related Recipes:
  • ‘Cheesy’ Roasted Tahini Brussel Sprouts

  • Easy Cheesy Vegan Mac

  • Light, filling, delicious Quinoa Salad!

    Quinoa Salad

  • Garlicky-Ginger Tofu Triangles

  • Mirepoix

Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.

  • Cholesterol


Comments (21)

  1. posted by Gianna on May 19, 2012

    Would this work with other types of flours?

    • posted by Jake on May 19, 2012

      Its my understanding that bleached flours as well as bread flours will throw off the recipe and cause the bread to come out too wet or chewy. However, whole wheat, rye and semolina flours should work. Unbleached white is what is recommended, but if you experiment – let us know the results!

  2. posted by Stefan on May 20, 2012

    The big difference in flours is their gluten levels – bread flour’s basically just A-P flour with more gluten, and it usually just gives you a little more rise and stretch in your dough (which is generally a good thing). If you wanted to sub in whole wheat, rye, or other flours, I’d recommend adding a tablespoon or two of vital wheat gluten, which most supermarkets carry. Rye’s a really hard flour, though, and I’ve never had much luck making bread using only rye. Best to mix it with wheat, A-P, or bread.

  3. posted by Courtney Howell on May 21, 2012

    What are the instructions for out of the freezer? How long do you let it defrost? When it is defrost, then what?

  4. posted by Nicole on June 4, 2012

    This was so easy and sooo good! I added a little bit of Wisconsin sharp white cheddar and some cracked black pepper to the top. mmm!!

  5. posted by Brian B. on June 11, 2012

    When using non-wheat flours (rye, oat, rice, etc.) use at most a 50-50 mixture of wheat flour and your other flour. Non-wheat flours contain little to no gluten, which holds the bread together. With some hardier flours (like rye), you’ll want to use a 25-75 (rye-wheat) flour mixture so that your bread is a loaf and not a crumbly mess.

  6. posted by Toni on October 28, 2012

    I just made my second loaf from the dough I prepared last week. So tasty!

  7. posted by Crystalyn Kirkpatrick on April 20, 2013

    Thank you. This bread was so easy and great! Mine ended up quite salty, but I think that may be my fault for using table salt because I didn’t want to grind a tablespoon and a half of coarse salt, so for future readers, if you’re using table salt, I’d suggest a little less than a tablespoon!

    My husband suggested we add some flax seeds next time for something a little extra.

    Thanks again!

  8. posted by Michelle on April 24, 2013

    Can I try this recipe using a gluten free flour blend?

    • posted by Jake on April 24, 2013

      I haven’t tried it with gluten free flour, nor have I cooked with it that often. But if you give it a shot, please let us know how it turned out!

  9. posted by Megan G on July 13, 2013

    In Step 6, after you slice the top of the loaf, where does it sit for the 40 mins? on the counter uncovered? And has anyone done quick, tiny loaves in a convection toaster oven?

    Once my juice-only fast is done, I’m gonna try this. Thanks!

  10. posted by jody on August 30, 2013

    LOVE this page SOO much!!! yaay — go vegan.
    Question for this bread — every bread recipe / recipe with yeast that i’ve seen has needed a sweetener for the yeast to ferment. This one is fine without? thanks again for this great site!!

    • posted by Toni on August 30, 2013

      Thanks for the kind words! 🙂 I’ve made this bread a number of times and it is absolutely delicious. Let us know how you like it.

  11. posted by kdeezy on October 8, 2013

    Is it possible to freeze the dough, or is it best kept in the fridge? I love me some bread. If I don’t restrain myself a little, I’ll end up baking it all off WAY too quickly.

  12. posted by kathryn newberry on January 23, 2015

    Omg… I have failed at bread so many times but this one seemed more simple to me. Tried it… Loved it. Awesomeness. It is perfect. I can’t believe it actually worked.

  13. posted by kathryn newberry on January 31, 2015

    My dough went bad in a week…. can I freeze it?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *