10 easy bread recipes that don't require a sourdough starter

James Ransom/Food52Even if you don’t have a sourdough starter, you can still make delicious bread at home.
  • While sourdough baking seems to be everywhere, there are plenty of easy bread recipes that don’t require a starter.
  • Even if you’ve only baked with boxed mixes in the past, you can still make bread from scratch.
  • Quickbreads like Whole Wheat Banana Bread and Beer Bread can also be made without instant yeast.
  • Here are 10 beginner-friendly bread recipes that don’t require specialty equipment or ingredients.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

With at-home baking on the rise, it seems like everyone has a jar of starter on their counter, just waiting to be turned into Instagram-worthy loaves.

While sourdough baking is certainly a rewarding endeavour, it requires commitment and a baseline level of skill that can intimidate even avid bakers.

Fortunately, you don’t need a sourdough starter in order to make bread. Even if your experience is limited to boxed cake mixes, you can still experience the unparalleled joys of eating a slice of bread fresh from your own oven.

We’ve rounded up 10 great bread recipes that don’t require any special equipment or ingredients, although a dutch oven and a kitchen scale will often come in handy if you want to achieve the best results.

At its core, bread is just a combination of flour, water, yeast, and salt, so don’t overthink it. You, too, can make beautiful, mouthwatering bread: no countertop jars required.


No-Knead Peasant Bread

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No-knead peasant bread is ready in just 2 hours.

The hardest part of breadmaking, as any seasoned baker knows, is not sourcing heritage grains or fussing with elaborate shaping methods: it’s waiting. We wait for our bread to rise at least two times, then we wait for it to bake, then we wait an absolute eternity until it’s cool enough to eat.

Not so with Alexandra Stafford’s No-Knead Peasant Bread from Food52, which can be baked in the same bowl it’s mixed in, and eaten just over two hours after the dough is mixed. If you’re an absolute beginner, start with this recipe.


Whole Wheat Banana Bread

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This healthy-ish bread makes a perfect breakfast.

Is it cake? Is it bread? Does it matter? Banana bread is often one of the first bread recipes people learn to make, and for good reason. This whole wheat version from Sally’s Baking Addiction takes only 15 minutes of prep work, so you could mix it while your coffee brews and enjoy a warm slice for breakfast while you WFH.

With healthy ingredient swaps like honey, applesauce, and whole wheat flour, you can snack on this loaf all day without feeling the tiniest bit guilty.


No-Knead Bread

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A foolproof artisan loaf, perfect for beginner bakers who can exercise a little patience.

The OG beginner-friendly bread, this recipe by New York Times columnist Mark Bittman is the gold standard for foolproof artisan loaves. Stir together flour, water, salt, and yeast, wait an agonizingly long time, then pop it in a dutch oven and reap the rewards of your patience.

Be warned, this bread must be left to cool for at least an hour after baking. If you don’t let it cool properly, you could end up with a gummy interior.


Soft Dinner Rolls

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These pillowy homemade rolls will make even the most basic dinner feel like a special occasion.

Soft, buttery dinner rolls are like the fuzzy slippers of the bread world. They instantly make you feel cosy, and can turn even a basic dinner into one that feels special – because there’s homemade bread! This is a great beginner recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, with only seven ingredients and two minutes of kneading. You can bake these rolls in just about any pan, but a square Pyrex baking dish will work best.


Challah Bread

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This show-stopping loaf doesn’t require special skills or fancy baking pans.

This classic braided loaf from Food52 might seem fussy, but it’s actually very straightforward. This dough, enriched with egg, butter, and sugar, takes only three hours in total to rise. Even a simple three-strand braid will turn this loaf into a show-stopper, and a quick brush with egg white before tossing it in the oven will lend your loaf an impressive shine.


No-Knead Sandwich Bread

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The secret to the perfect sandwich is homemade bread

All no-knead bread recipes follow the same basic formula: mix together some combination of flour, water, salt, and yeast – and wait. This recipe from Food52 has a totally reasonable five-hour rise time before getting shaped into a loaf pan and left to proof for another hour. If you want to start the night before you bake, extend the first rise by letting the dough sit in the refrigerator overnight.


Homemade No-Yeast Soda Bread

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A versatile, yeast-free soda bread recipe.

When you want bread as soon as humanly possible, this should be your new go-to recipe. Soda breads often get a bad rap for being over-stuffed with raisins and skewing a little too sweet, but this is a different kind of loaf. Nutty, complex, and ready in just one hour, this soda bread from Sally’s Baking Addiction is closer to what you might find in a typical Irish household.


Homemade Beer Bread

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The natural yeasts in your favourite beer will help give this quick bread a lift.

If you, like many others, cannot find instant yeast right now, you can still make beer bread! Like other quick-breads, this one from Tasting Table requires no kneading and no rising: just mix the ingredients together, pour them into a pan, and you’re good to go.

The beer you use will have a big impact on the overall flavour of this loaf, so be sure to choose something you love. It’s also a great way to use up leftover seasonal beers like winter lagers or anything with “pumpkin” in its name.


‘Life-Changing’ Loaf of Bread

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A grain-studded bread for the health-conscious baker.

While some “health breads” are more cardboard than bread, this “My New Roots’ Life-Changing Loaf of Bread” from Food52 is packed full of nuts and seeds to add protein and flavour.

This bread doesn’t require any special skills other than the ability to toss ingredients into a bowl, mix, and bake. It tastes best if you let it sit overnight to cure after baking, which might just be the most challenging part of this recipe.


Garlic Rosemary Herb Focaccia

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Focaccia is best eaten straight from the oven.

One of the best things about focaccia is that you’re supposed to eat it warm from the oven, no cooling required. This recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction provides a great base that anyone can riff on. No rosemary? Use a different herb, or simply garnish it with cracked black pepper and salt. You could also get creative and add cheese, olives, sundried tomatoes, or any other topping you might have on hand.

Shaped and baked on the same sheet tray, this simple-but-impressive recipe will quickly become a household staple.

Read more:

I made Alton Brown’s beer bread after seeing it all over social media and found it surprisingly easy to do at home

A ‘Chopped’ judge taught me how to make bread rolls for free online, but it was harder than I thought

I’ve been a vegan for 7 years – these are my 6 go-to recipes using only cupboard staples

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