April’s Basic Bread Recipe with Variations

“This is perhaps the most prolific of the recipes I got during my ‘Culinary Delights’ class in the 8th grade. We used it to make the Cinnamon Rolls. From there I took the basic recipe and made breads, rolls and coffee cakes to suit many of the classes in the Santa Cruz County Fair Home Arts “Yeast Breads” division. It was perfect, because one recipe makes so much dough. The Fancy Apple-Hazelnut rolls came about with left over ingredients during one fairtime cooking spree, and became my favorite.” – April Ferre

Aprils Basic Bread Recipe with Variations

Course: Rolls, Yeast Breads


  • 4 Cups Warm Water
  • 1/4 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Yeast
  • 11 to 13 Cups All-Purpose & Bread Flour


Basic Bread Preparation

  • Combine water (105 to 115 degrees), oil, sugar and salt. Soften yeast. Mix well. **Note: the water temperature is extremely important to the success of this bread.**
  • Start adding flour, 1 cup at a time and alternating between all-purpose and bread flour until easy enough to handle. Knead dough, adding more flour if necessary. Grease large bowl. Place dough in center, then flip over. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. Can be placed in refrigerator overnight. Shape for desired purpose:


    White Bread

    • Shape into loaf, place in loaf pan and let rise until double in bulk.

    Plain Rolls

    • Place bits of dough into greased muffin tins or shape any other way desired. Let rise until doubled.

    Cinnamon Bread

    • Roll dough into a rectangle. Spread with butter, then with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Roll tightly and place in loaf pan; let rise until double in bulk.

    Cinnamon-Raisin Bread

    • Boil 1/2 Cup Raisins for 20 minutes. Dry thoroughly. Work as for Cinnamon Bread, but add raisins before rolling up.
    • Be very careful to roll the dough tight so that large air pockets do not form during cooking. Let rise until doubled.

    Cinnamon Rolls

    • Roll dough into rectangle. Brush with butter; then cinnamon-sugar mixture. Top with raisins, chopped apples, sliced maraschino cherries, and chopped walnuts.
    • Roll tightly. Seal edge well with water/flour mixture. Carefully cut into 1-inch slices; place on cookie sheets. Allow to rise to double in bulk.
    • Bake (see below) and when cool, drizzle with powdered sugar glaze.

    Fancy Apple-Hazelnut Rolls

    • Make squares of dough. Brush with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place chopped apple and chopped toasted hazelnuts in center. Fold corners to center and seal tightly.
    • Place on cookie sheets. Allow to rise until double in bulk. Bake (see below) and when cool, drizzle with powdered sugar and sprinkle with sliced almonds.

    Apricot Coffee Cake

    • In 2-quart saucepan, over medium heat, heat 1 8-Ounce Package Dried Apricots and 3/4 cup water to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 30 minutes.
    • In covered blender container at high speed, blend apricots, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon until smooth. If mixture is too tart, add more sugar to taste.
    • Grease large cookie sheet. On lightly floured surface with floured rolling pin, roll dough into 15×12-inch rectangle. Place on baking sheet. Spread apricot mixture in 4-inch strip lengthwise down the center of rectangle. Cut dough on sides of mixture crosswise into 1-inch wide strips. Fold strips, alternately across mixture. Cover; and let rise until doubled.
    • Bake (see below) and when cool drizzle powdered sugar glaze over coffee cake. Sprinkle with sliced almonds.

    Apricot Butterfly Rolls

    • In a 2-quart saucepan, over high heat, heat 1 8-Ounce Package dried apricots and 2 1/2 cups water to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until apricots are tender. Drain.
    • In blender, blend apricots with 3/4 cup sugar and, if desired, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Cool.
    • Roll out dough as for cinnamon rolls. Spread with apricot filling. Roll as for cinnamon rolls. Cut into wedges 2 1/2 inches at wide side and 1 inch at short side.
    • Place wedges, short side up, on cookie sheets. Press top with finger to form butterfly-like wings. Let rise until doubled.
    • Beat 1 egg and brush onto rolls. Bake (see below). No need to frost, rolls are very sweet.

    Orange-Cranberry Macadamia Rolls

    • Make orange filling recipe from Swedish Tea Ring.
    • Form squares of dough. Do not try to form typical "cinnamon" rolls, as orange filling will melt and not stay with dough. Spread orange filling in middle of dough. Sprinkle with dried cranberries and chopped macadamia nuts. Fold corners of dough toward middle and seal. Let rise on cookie sheet until doubled.
    • Bake (see below) and when cool, drizzle with powdered sugar glaze and top with sliced almonds.

    Baking the Bread

    • Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped lightly. As top begins to brown, baste with melted butter for a soft, buttery crust.


    This recipe makes a lot of dough. Several loaves, plus cinnamon rolls and a small tea ring can be made out of one batch.
    Idea: Also try combinations with fresh or dried cranberries.

    1996 Recipe – Jody Jones (White Bread, Plain Rolls, Cinnamon Bread, Cinnamon-Raisin Bread, Cinnamon Rolls)

    1998 Original Recipe – April Ferre (Fancy Apple-Hazelnut Rolls)

    2000 Recipe – April Ferre (Apricot Coffee Cake, Apricot Butterfly Rolls) – From The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook, 1980

    2008 Original Recipe – April Ferre (Orange-Cranberry Macadamia Rolls)

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