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Depression Era Bread – Make Homemade Bread with Only 3 Ingredients!

Sometimes the best foods are not the most complicated. This Depression Era Bread recipe can be made with only 3 ingredients and the end result is a delicious loaf of bread that tastes amazing!

If you are looking for a way to save money, making your own bread is a great place to start. Before you get intimidated and click away, I promise you it isn’t as hard as you think it is.

The best place to start is with this Depression Era Bread.

This bread recipe only has 3 ingredients (with one optional ingredient for extra flavor). It is foolproof. I’m a lazy baker. I only bake things that are fairly straightforward and don’t add any extra stress to my life (no one has time for that). This bread recipe is perfect for that.

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This bread does take a bit of time to make, but in the end, you can make 7 loaves of bread for about $2.50. That’s an awesome way to stretch your food budget! It’s not all hands-on time either so you can work on one task and then get back to your to-do list.

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What is Depression Era Cooking?

During the Great Depression, many families had to cook with basic ingredients and learn to live with less. These families learned some important lessons on frugal living and limiting waste that we can all learn from today.

Read: Use this Free Printable Grocery List to organize your grocery shopping and save.

I love hearing stories from some of the people who lived through the Great Depression. They had to get creative in the kitchen in order to put dinner on the table and what they came up with was often delicious.

I heard some of these stories from my grandmother who put together some of her favorite frugal recipes in a cookbook for us to enjoy. I’ve heard people who lived through the Great Depression say that “Everything was really bad, but the food was good.”

Cost of Depression-Era Bread

Flour: $1.50 (I got it on sale and stocked up.)

Yeast:  about $1.00

Salt:  pennies . . .

Water: pennies…

So for about $2.50, I made 7 loaves of bread.  That’s cheaper than the cost of some single loaves from the grocery store.

Each loaf costs about $0.36, depending on the ingredients you use.

I served this with beef stew and it was amazing.  This goes really well with soups or as basic sandwich bread.

The bread was really good.  It was more of a rustic type of bread, kind of like French bread, and worked well with hot foods.  My family really enjoyed this bread.  I gave several of the loaves away as gifts and they were a huge hit. What a neat inexpensive gift.  They all raved about it as well.

Give this Depression Era Bread a try and get a little taste of history for yourself!

Depression-Era Bread Recipe

You can make this depression-era bread in your own home with only 3 ingredients plus water.

Yield: 7 loaves

Depression Era Bread - 3 Ingredients

Depression Era Bread - 3 Ingredients

Sometimes the best foods are not the most complicated. This Depression Era Bread recipe can be made with only 3 ingredients and the end result is a delicious loaf of bread that tastes amazing!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes


  • 5 lb bag All- purpose flour
  • 5 TBS Yeast (I used Rapid-Rise yeast)
  • 6 Tsp Salt (optional, but I think it added flavor to the bread)
  • 6 cups warm water (more or less depending on your dough)


    1. Pour flour in a large bowl.
    2. Make a well in the center of the flour.
    3. Add yeast to well and then add enough of the water to the well to dissolve the yeast (you can use your hands).

      homemade bread recipe
    4. After yeast is dissolved start adding more water and mixing in flour until you form a dough.
    5. Knead dough in the bowl for a bit.  Let the dough rise in a warm place with a towel loosely covering the top. 
    6. After it has risen double in size, punch down the dough and divide it up into 7 loaves.

    7. Shape the dough loaves and put in loaf pans.  If you do not have 7 pans, use a cookie sheet and the loaves will come out just as nice fine.
    8. Let the dough rise for 60 minutes or until doubled in size.
    9. Make slits in the top of the dough to make it look pretty.
    10. Bake at 350° until it gets brown on top, about 25 minutes (this will vary a bit based on your oven).

    homemade bread recipe

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 241Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 402mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 7g

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Thursday 24th of November 2022

[…] 3 Ingredient Bread […]

Theresa Williamson

Tuesday 31st of May 2022

As much as I love peanut butter, what can I use to replace it? My youngest daughter is "epi-pen" allergic to peanuts.


Friday 9th of October 2020

Wow 5 loaves of bread. I usually make 1 or 2. Looks great though! One note, PLEASE USE SALT IN YOUR BREAD. I don't consider it optional. It really tastes bland if you forget it. Trust me, I made an awesome loaf of french bread 2 days ago. Forgot the salt, and it was quite noticeable. Anyway, rant over. Enjoy your bread baking everyone/

jerome bernstein

Monday 8th of June 2020

If you want to save on yeast here is, obstensibly, the same recipe for one loaf: 2 1/2C flour, 1 1/3C water, 1 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp yeast. Stir until all "wet", cover and let sit on counter overnite. Add to your baker (ceramic, etc) cover and sit for 2 hours. Bake covered at 450 degrees for about 35 minutes, uncover and bake about 10 minutes more - or until browned (200-210 internal degrees). I add 1/2C cranberries in the original mixture - sometimes pecans, etc.


Sunday 2nd of February 2020

A bottle of beer and enough flour stirred in to make a dough. Turn into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 until done.

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