"Bread, Love and Dreams" covers the life of Kim Tak-Gu from the 1970's until the late 1980's as he becomes one of the most successful bakers in all of Korea.
The president of Geosung baking company Koo Il-joong (Jeon Kwang-Leol) loved Kim Mi-soon (Jeon Mi-Seon), but Koo Il-joong's mother was against their relationship. Because of this, and as a marriage of convenience, Koo Il-Joong instead married Suh In-sook (Jeon In-Hwa). They had two daughters, Ja-kyung and Ja-rim, but no sons. Sometime later, Il-joong has an extra-marital affair with his true love Mi-Soon and they conceive a son, who will later be named Tak-gu.
Meanwhile, In-sook is afraid that Tak-gu may one day become the heir to the Geosung baking company, In-Sook then seduces the company's Chief Secretary Han Seung-jae (Jeong Seong-Mo) and they conceive a son who will later be named Ma-joon (Ju Won).
Years later, on a rainy evening, Koo Il-joong's mother overhears a conversation between Han Seung-Jae and In-sook. She collapses and dies. During this time In-sook loses her bracelet and her son Ma-joon is there to retrieve it. Ma-Joon now knows who his real father is.
Meanwhile to protect Kim Mi-Soon and Tak-gu, Koo Il-Joong orders a man named Jin-Goo (Park Seong-Woong) to kidnap them. Seo In-Suk and Han Seung-Jae attempts to kill Tak-gu, but he is fortunate enough to escape. Tak-gu then meets his lifelong mentor Pal-Bong (Jang Hang-Seon) , who runs Palbong Bakery.
Tak-gu first met Yoo-kyung (Yu Jin) when they were children. She lived through a difficult childhood, with an abusive father and having little money. Yoo-kyung learned to smile for the first time when they met, but when Tak-gu goes to Koo Il-joong's house as the first son they separated. 12 years later they meet again and their love is rekindled.
Nevertheless, Yoo-kyung now believes that love is nothing when compared to money and power and because of this she leaves Tak-gu to marry Ma-joon instead.