Nothing compares to the heart-fluttering happiness of smelling fresh baked bread. Well, okay, there’s one thing: the scent of fresh-baked, from-scratch bread you’ve made.
There’s a reason baking bread is its own kind of ritual. Because homemade bread is a mix between science and magic, where simple flour, salt, and water transform into crusty-edged, fluffy-centered goodness. It’s empowering, a project that warms your home and satisfies deeply.
Whether you love pillowy focaccia, craggy soda bread, simple sweet banana loaves, or a tangy sourdough, there’s a bread recipe waiting for you. And to prove it (eh?), we’ve combed through Food52's near-decade-old recipe box for the most baked, most favorited bread recipes, ever. It wasn’t easy—we focused on actual loaves and rolls (so sorry, Cinnamon Sugar Breakfast Puffs! You are still loved!). But we narrowed it down to the upper crust, the breadwinners, if you will. Give them a look, below, then break out the flour and get kneading.
We promise that with Rivka's instructions, you’re up for the challenge of challah braiding. The first time our test kitchen made it in 2010, it emerged from the oven grand and poofed with an airy crumb, begging to be buttered and devoured.
Monkeymom's supple, rich rolls have just a hint of sweetness to them—they're chewy and tender and full of deep flavor from the molasses, but versatile enough to complement (rather than overwhelm) a variety of main dishes.
This naan is not only simple to bake, but adaptable—make it in the oven, on a pizza stone, in a cast iron skillet, or your stovetop. No matter what, it still cooks up beautifully.
It’s no secret longtime F52er Mrslarkin loves a good scone (just check out her Instagram), but this loaf takes that love to a whole new level.
A classic family favorite from our very own Merrill Stubbs. “Tender, with a crisp, brown crust and really intense banana flavor, it's perfect for breakfast, or thickly buttered with a hot cup of tea,” she writes.
Oh? You wanted a twist? This beauty has three: dark chocolate, olive oil, and is served in a sizzling skillet.
If you’re looking for a starter bread (sans starter), here’s your loaf. “This recipe is the aggressive, no-more-excuses shove that you need to start baking your own bread,” says Genius Leader Kristen Miglore. “It will only take you 4 hours of intermittent attention, and won't require a starter nor any equipment you don't already own—and it will rival your favorite bakery's.”
Lauded as the most addictive bread you’ll ever eat, Kindred’s Milk Bread can do it all. “It can be used as sandwich bread, French toast, burger buns, doughnuts, and more,” writes Catherine Margaret O’Donnell. “This is a bread that merges utility and taste, seamlessly.”
Hearty, healthful, moist, with just a touch of sweetness, this loaf was inspired by a recipe in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. One very important note from recipe author Marian Bull: “Let the bread cool before you slice it. Yes, I'm serious.”
If you're a baking novice, let us introduce to your new best friend: focaccia. It’s baking-sheet friendly, needs no kneading, and goes from oven to table like a star.
What's your favorite bread recipe of all time? Break it out in the comments below!