Basic White Bread

 

When talking to my coworkers this week about what I should bake next, we all kind of agreed that I needed to try something savory. I have a serious sweet tooth, and I think baking with sugar is the best kind of baking. But, they were right, sometimes you just need to do something a bit more everyday.

This week I tried my hand at baking sandwich bread. Plain ol’ white bread. I’d made bread before, but never anything in a loaf pan. And with so few ingredients, white bread is a true test of bread-making. It’s pretty easy, but you just have to make sure you knead it correctly.

The Kitchn has a great recipe and a great tutorial on how to shape a bread loaf so that it turns out beautifully. I’d recommend following their technique if you want a uniform loaf.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 5 1/2 cups flour (plus extra for kneading)

Directions

1. Pour the warm water into the bowl of your mixture. Make sure it’s warm, not hot. Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the water and let it sit for 5 minutes, until the yeast dissolves.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter, sugar, salt, and milk. Add this mixture along with 1 cup flour into the bowl with your yeast and stir until it comes together in a loose, lumpy batter.

3. Gradually add in another 4 1/2 cups flour as you are mixing sot that the dough begins to form. At this point, switch to the dough hook on your mixture to knead for 6-8 minutes. Or, if you’d prefer, knead it by hand until the dough is smooth, yet slightly tacky. If you poke it, the dough should spring back a bit. If the dough is too sticky as you’re kneading, just add a dusting of flour.

4. Coat a large bowl with a bit of oil, then place in your dough. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place it in a warm place to rise for about an hour until it doubles in size.

5. Dust your countertop with a bit of flour and turn out your dough. Divide this into two even balls and let them rest for 10 minutes.

6. Grease two loaf pans, then shape each ball into a loaf and place in the pans, making sure the tops are taught to help them rise. Let them rise a second time for 30-40 minutes, until the dough starts to dome up over the edges of the pan.

7. Preheat your oven to 425°F (215°C) halfway through the second rise. Once you’re ready to bake your loaves, slice the top of the loaf down the length, then place into the oven. Immediately turn the oven down to 375°F (190°C).

8. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. The loaves are done when they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove them from their loaf pans and let them cool completely on wire racks.

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