The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The Best and Easiest Handmade Breads From Start to Finish in 1 and 1/2 Hours

Kathy Summers's picture
Kathy Summers

The Best and Easiest Handmade Breads From Start to Finish in 1 and 1/2 Hours

Dear friends,


I have made handmade bread almost every day for the last thirty-nine years. We raised a family of nine children and they are mostly made of handmade bread. Being so busy with our children as they were growing up and having little money, I figured out a way of making bread that was not only nutritious and delicious, but also easy, fast and economical. I have taught our six daughters and hundreds of other people how to make bread. Many say it is the best bread they have ever eaten and the first time they have been successful making bread. Our twenty-four grandchildren all love our bread and some are now making it themselves. Our family now has three generations of bread makers who all use this method.


I have never seen bread made this way and have read hundreds of bread recipes and bread books. This method is unique and the bread is some of the best bread you will have ever tasted.


The instructions are simple and specific. All the yeast bread recipes are made with instant yeast. The ingredients are rapidly mixed together. There is a short kneading time and no first rising of the dough.  The bread is shaped, raises and then baked. Every recipe can be completed from start to finish within one and one half hours.


I really thought I was done writing bread books. I have written two, but the enthusiasm I have found from many people still wanting to learn to make bread has only increased. Times are hard now for many people. Homemade bread is inexpensive.


I have been blessed to create better and easier recipes, so come along and join me in a new book on handmade breads. You’ll find old friends and new friends and old ways and new ways to guide your bread-making journey.


All you need to do is to read and follow each individual recipe. All the directions are included in the recipe itself of the entire process of making that particular bread.

This book is available on It is called The Best and Easiest Handmade Breads From Start to Finish in 1 and 1/2 hours.


pmccool's picture

Since I enjoy the flavors that come with longer ferments and (full disclosure) since I enjoy fiddling around with the dough to achieve certain results, I'll probably not be a customer. 


ehanner's picture


I think not.

I appreciate the fact you are trying to raise interest in your book by making claims that are not supported by facts. This is a community of bakers who have learned what you have not, it appears. The kindest thing I can say is that you are welcome to join in the forum and discover for yourself what the true secret to nutritious and great tasting bread is. I'll give you a clue. It isn't driving yeast activity by feeding it honey and letting it ferment for an hour and a half. While it may be true that there are people who love your bread, you owe it to yourself and them, to discover the mountain of knowledge left behind by thousands of years of baking.



LindyD's picture

I know this from having tasted “bread” made according to your process and find it quite awful and tasteless.

I could never recommend your book to anyone, let alone buy it, because I know what great bread tastes like and that it can easily be created in the home kitchen.  Yes, it takes more than 90 minutes, but all things that are worth doing well require time and attention.

I do invite you join TFL - not to hawk your misguided book, but to learn how to create  and bake a great loaf of bread that has complexity and richness of  flavor.

After all, quality and flavor are what it’s all about here.

ananda's picture

Good luck and all that Kathy, but I'm with the posters above; the very best bread is made using complex and long fermentation systems.

They taste magnificent, and they don't compromise our digestion systems either

Best wishes


mountaineer cookie company's picture
mountaineer coo...

Good luck Kathy,  I do make most of my breads using wild yeast techniques.  But also appreciate that sometimes you just need bread now.  I have three kids and can only imagine how much bread nine children would eat.  

GAPOMA's picture

I think we should cut Kathy some slack here.  Many of us on this site are "bread snobs" (myself included), but I know I certainly got my start baking loaves similar to those described by Kathy in her book.  Although most of the breads I bake now are more complex (and take considerably longer), there are still times when I turn to a quick and easy recipe like hers when I simply don't have the time and I'm out of bread for the family for the weekend.  In addition, the types of recipes she describes are nearly fool proof so they can be a good starting point for beginers.  I've gotten several novices started using similar recipes, and when they're starting they think this is the "best bread ever".  Once they're hooked on baking their own bread, I can show them how other methods and recipes can benefit their bread making skills.  Eventually they become "bread snobs" too.

I'm not saying that this is or isn't a great book (I've only looked at the sample on Amazon).  I'm just saying that it might be good for some novices or those looking for fool proof recipes that take no time.  Do the recipes make the best bread ever?  No, they don't.  But sometimes even I have to sacrifice bread perfection for expedience. 

It just might not be the best bread recipe book for those of us that are already hooked on the best breads food in the world.

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

Kathy, looks like the reception was blunt and rude.  I'm sorry about that.  I'd love to have a book on Amazon.  That's an accomplishment.

jstreed1476's picture

For my part, while I can appreciate how she's trying to fill a niche, and de gustibus non est disputandem and all that, the great lesson of artisan breadmaking for me has been how time and flavor are intertwined--but not in the way I assumed when I started baking.

Mix up some basic ingredients. Set them aside for a night. Mix in some more basic ingredients. Walk away for a bit. Stretch and fold. Walk away again. Repeat now and then. Watch it rise. Shape. Bake.

The takeaway: there's absolutely no way Kathy's methods require less hands-on time and deliver better flavor than our favorite techniques--the ones that are both new and old in principle. Can't remember where I read it, but someone once said something like, "think like a village baker." 

I don't begrudge Kathy an audience, though, because as we have all learned, the most ambitious bakers often begin their obsession with the most unpromising recipes. May her readers discover Reinhart and Beranbaum and Leader and Hamelman and Lepard and, most importantly, The Fresh Loaf :-)

On a different note, however, boo to her for "joining" a community for the sole purpose of pushing her book. Hang out and participate a bit, Kathy! Let's share ideas, not sell them.

dmsnyder's picture

Kathy's book title makes a claim: Her shortcutted recipes make the "best" bread.

 The very gentle and respectful dissents from this claim were in no way "rude" and were rather kind, in my opinion, given the outrageously false proposition that this method produces the "best" bread.

If a preference for 1) quality in bread and 2) truth telling makes me a "snob," I guess I am a snob.

At least I'm in good company.


ananda's picture

Hi David,

Great to know we are all in such good company [we most certainly are!]

I don't think that makes any of us snobs.   There is much grace to be found here at TFL.   I concur, there was no rudeness intended in any of the dissents posted.   Neither your baseline 1) or 2) makes you, or me, or any other poster a snob.

Best wishes


proth5's picture

Congratulations and, of course, best wishes for your book.

I think the nerve you touched in me is that this is a community of people who freely share ideas, formulas, and techniques for bread baking.  Some in our number have written books, some are even quite famous in the baking world, but mostly we come to share freely, not use the forum simply as advertising.

Your welcome would have been most cordial if you had shared more with us than telling us about your book - but that moment has passed.

To be honest, these mix/shape/proof breads have been around for some time.  The Fleischmann's Yeast Company put out many recipes (many for free)  for "RapidRise breads" when they first started marketing instant yeast. I've even made some myself.  They are, in fact, not the same as even enriched breads that are given more fermentation time - but depending on how they are formulated can taste pretty good. 

What is it that you do that is so unique?  Why wouldn't I just type "Fleishmann's Yeast" into my favorite search engine and get these types of recipes for free.

Now that kind of discussion is really what makes my levain double... (For those who follow the story - I'm STILL in Okinawa - with an insane work schedule - and haven't baked for 3 months - I hope I didn't forget how - more later.)

Oh, and I can almost promise you that becoming credible by being willing to share your "secrets" will make people more likely to buy your book.

Again, best wishes.

Lucy-Sue's picture

Hi Kathy: 

Congrats on your book.  Frankly I am embarrased at some of the comments towards your bread.  As a fairly new baker I have found it less overwhelming to try easier breads.  Once my confidence has increased then I can try some more complicated ones.  I have tried some sourdough breads after growing my own wild yeast and they have not turned out?

To be honest, I have had many questions that I thought are too stupid to ask people here.  I am a bit intimidated.  Not that people here are rude or anything, they have never been rude when I have had questions.  It's just that I am not at the same baking level as everyone else here.  I hope to be at the same level and as talented as the crew here some day.



enaid's picture

I was saddened to read some of these comments on what, usually, is a very friendly site.  I think they were arrogant and rude. Admittedly, Kathy could have been a little more diplomatic and just posted a recipe like many others do (hers is accessible on Ancestry anyway, without buying her book). However, many people promote other cookbooks on this site, so even though she was promoting her own, I can't see that it was a big deal.

All different kinds of bread bakers use this site and who is to say which is the best bread.  I have been baking bread, on and off, for many decades. I stick mainly to whole wheat sandwich bread as we eat very little bread, just occasionally for toast or sandwiches, although I love baking bread which I do by hand.  I admire those who understand the chemistry of bread making and appreciate those who enjoy making different kinds of bread.  I have neither the patience nor the time to wait 2 or 3 days to finish making a loaf of bread, or trying to remember to feed a starter every morning but I find it interesting to learn about all the methods posted on this site. I resent the implication that bread is automatically better if it takes a long time to prepare.  In my younger years I was a fashion designer making custom clothing. I would make a very simple but elegant dress that was flawlessly finished and would stand up against anything coming out of a well known designer house.  It would take me about 3 hours to finish.  I would make a wedding dress that could take me about a month to finish.  Who could say the one that took the longest to make was the better?  They were just different. It is the same with bread. Do not sneer at those who are content with simple loaves that can be made quickly. If they enjoy them and are content then, for them, it is the best bread. 

dlstanf2's picture

Kathy, thanks for the information. I think sometimes the "Chemist" & "Food Scientist" OVER-COMPLICATE the bread making process. Through out history if the "long-ferment", "precise-hydration", "specific-gravity", "precise ratios", methods were used, we would have died out over thousands of years ago.


Your bread was "your" solution to your lifestyle and btw pretty tasty if your family and friends enjoyed it for years. AFM, I needed a hobby and am experimenting with yeast cultures, so I started developing a long-ferment mother starter which I use for pancakes, waffles, Friendship Breads, and the occasional Sour Dough which I have not mastered yet, but I will.


I've tried most of the Artisean Breads and find them either too-perfuming(rosemary, raison,dill,olive,chutney, etc.). I live in a historical town with many bakers, especially a large Mennonite crowd, and have some excellent breads, sweet rolls, desserts, etc. Also, I spent many years outside San Francisco where I ate my weight several times over in their sourdoughs.


Good Bread is not "PREFECT BREAD"! Bakers are sometimes like politicians, never satisfied with someone elses desires to make things "simple".


GOOD JOB!!! I'll buy your book to add with the rest of mine. GOD Bless an American who shares their knowledge and makes a buck from their efforts.

GAPOMA's picture

Yesteday before I responded to this post I went to Amazon and looked at her book.  You can look at the recipe for white bread, so last night I decided to try it to see how well it worked.  I followed the steps as described, with one exception; I used active dry yeast and had to prolong the rise time. 

I have to say that the bread turned out very well.  It took 2:48 from putting the ingredients into the bowl to pulling the bread out of the oven.  Nice looking loaf, soft but tight crumb, fairly crisp crust.  I had a piece for breakfast this morning and it was fine.  A bit sweet for my taste, but I'm not a white bread fan to begin with.  MUCH better than store bought, that's for sure.

I've certainly made better breads, but in the end there is a place for these types of recipes.  I can honestly say I've never made a loaf before that I had in the loaf pan for a final rise within 12 minutes of starting to mix!  Pretty impressive Kathy.

busy lizzy's picture
busy lizzy

Kudo's to you Enaid,  I always enjoyed this site but I DO NOT agree with all of you that think you have to spend two days of you lives making a loaf of bread. I'm 75 years old and have been baking for almost 50 years.  Between raising a family and doing all the chores we had to do my hand years ago my family would have starved if I spent 2 day making a loaf of bread. Are you snobs? Do I really have to answer that.  But I will say this will be my last  post on this site.

giertson's picture

I cannot help but notice that there seems to be a real divide here. Some of us are bakers because for the sake of cost effeciency, or to feed a family. Others because they are obsessed with the process of artisian bread baking and the art of it. And I am sure there are more still somewhere in between.

But is the need for vitriol from either side necessary? Obviously this is a diverse community, and it thrives because of that. We all have our own subjectivity, and carry our own ideas about what the 'best' bread is. Some pursue the Platonic form of crust and crumb, while others seek a balance between taste and time. Or maybe even health. It is not snobbish to spend days crafting a master loaf. It is passionate. Nor is it a bad idea to make quick, non-artisian bread. It's just effective.

More importantly, can we agree that Kathy was clearly just looking for a free ad? Let's stop using her post as an excuse to trade barbs. An advertisement for a bread book from somebody who doesn't even seek to join or participate in our community is hardly worth this much attention.



AnnieT's picture

Nicely put, Seth. I was sad to see the rather harsh comments in reply to Kathy's post. Even if she should have handled it differently there was no need to be so scathing about her bread. Can we please all remember our good manners? A.

weavershouse's picture

But I think "rather harsh" is putting it mildly.


jstreed1476's picture

I think it's worth considering what we mean by "community" here. No, Kathy did not get a very warm reception. And no, she did not solicit our feedback with much insight into TFL or online communities generally.

Communities should welcome a healthy level of dissent. Variety begets richness, I think.

What if her initial post went something like this:

"Hi, my name's Kathy, and I'm looking for people who bake bread with as much passion as I do. TFL certainly seems the right place!

After lurking for a bit, I can tell my approach differs from that of most people here. I like breads of all kinds, but my main criteria are speed and ease. This is probably because I've spent years baking bread daily for my 9 kids. My goal is to put nutritious, tasty bread on the table every day, and to do it while taking care of all the other household duties that come with a large family.

To that end, my method has evolved in quite a different direction than many of the bakers at TFL. While I agree that home bakers should explore every technique, I believe mine would be a help to those with especially busy lives and a lot of mouths to feed.

In fact, I've written a book to that effect. It's called 90 Minutes to Homemade Bread: Techniques for Busy Bakers.

One thing I've learned during lurking is that TFLers have as many opinions as recipes. That's a good thing, and that's why I'd like whoever's so inclined to review and try out the recipe below, which is one of my kids' favorites from the book.

Even if it's not really your cup of tea, I'm sure you'll be both sincere and fair-minded in your feedback. We all come to bake bread the way we do for personal reasons, so context is important. Please keep my goals in mind if you choose to give my method a trial run.

Years ago, baking bread seemed like such an isolated activity. Now, with communities like TFL just a click away, sharing ideas and knowledge is as easy as sharing a loaf with a neighbor.

Happy baking!"

Instead, she cut and pasted copy from the back of her book jacket. If she had taken the approach above, does anyone really think her post would have aroused such ire?

A little digging revealed that her first bread book was inspired by the experience baking with others during her recovery from cancer. I don't think she's a light-minded, arrogant person, but I do think her effort at engaging this community was flawed. 

dmsnyder's picture

She sure came across as a "true believer" though, so I don't know if she would endorse your excellent re-write, jsteed1476.

On the other hand, her post did elicit responses that told us a lot about the diversity present in TFL, which was worthwhile food for thought about how we define "good bread."


giertson's picture

It is often challenges from the outside (and she is and will likely continue to remain an outsider to this community) that bring forth the most vehement definitions of one's identity. I think TFL community has clearly shown that it is more diverse than we realized - logical as we naturally seek out that which pertains most directly to our own goals - and this should be capitalized on. I have always used this site as a resource for (hem) snobbish bread pursuits and advanced techniques. But now I know that I have, if anything, been under-utilizing this site. Should any of us seek to go beyond our comfort zones we should be happy to know we will still find support here. Now lets ground this nonsense. I doubt Kathy even came back to check upon the reception of her post anyhow.




Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

Seth, I think it's been a healthy discussion.