Basic Bread Baking

Bread

I don’t make all our family’s bread from scratch. I just don’t have time. However, it isn’t something that I do constantly. Additionally, when it comes to freshly baked bread I have zero willpower, so I would probably weigh about 500 pounds if I baked bread all of the time.

Today, though, is a bread baking day. This is just a basic white bread. Of course, sometimes, I add extras to make the texture more interesting and the flavors complex. However, today, I was in a hurry, so it was just a basic white bread recipe.

Basic White Bread

Makes 2 loaves.

  • 5-6 cups of white flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

In a large bowl, mix 2 cups of flour, the salt, the sugar, and the yeast together. Add the warm water and the butter, mixing well. Next, add 2-3 cups of flour and stir until the mixture forms a dough that kind of cleans the sides of the bowl. Using an electric mixer with a dough hook or by kneading on a floured surface, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes. Pull the dough back from the bottom of the bowl and drizzle about a tablespoon of oil into the mixing bowl. Roll the dough around until it is completely coated in oil. Cover it with a clean dishtowel and leave it to rise in a warm place for about 45-60 minutes.

When the dough has doubled in size, removed the towel and punch it down. Turn it out onto a clean countertop and cut it in half with a knife, shaping each half into an oblong loaf, tucking it under itself to create a smooth top surface.

Lightly grease two 8 by 4 inch loaf pans. I have a glass pan and one from a sturdy metal. They both make great bread. Place the dough in the pans and press the dough to fill the corners. Cover the dough with a clean towel and let it rise again for about 30-35 minutes, or until doubled.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake loaves in the center of the oven for about 40-50 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped lightly. Remove from oven and immediately turn the loaves out onto a wire rack to cool. Rub the hot loaves with a lump of butter to give the bread a softer, shinier, tastier crust. Cool for an hour and then serve.

Store tightly wrapped for a few days. Keep in mind that homemade bread, lacking in preservatives that most store breads have, will often mold more quickly than commercial loaves.

Photo Credit: (because my family gobbled the bread up before I made a picture!)

Bart Everson–Bread via Flikr

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