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Homemade White Bread

homemade white bread

I will admit that it took me a long time to get in to making bread.  Many people don't like the thought of making bread because they think it takes too long and is too much work.  While the rising time is long, the hands on time is very short, and you can literally just go about doing other things while it rises.  Don't let the beginning to end time put you off.  Homemade bread is easy and delicious and completely worth it.

This recipe makes two big loaves and it is made pretty much entirely from pantry staples!  With the bread shelves being empty right now I thought it would be the perfect time to share this simple, yummy bread recipe.  Even if you don't think you can eat two loaves, you can freeze one or why not share one?  Warning, once you start making and eating homemade bread, you aren't going to want that store bought stuff!  Get the kids involved and make it fun!

I know what you are thinking... "but I'm afraid of working with yeast!!"  Don't be!  The biggest thing to remember is not to make the water too hot or you will kill it.  Warm water works best.  Additionally you want to give the yeast, sugar and water at least five minutes to sit by themselves to make sure the mixture becomes beige and frothy before adding the other ingredients.  If it's frothy, the yeast is activated and you are good to go!  If it's not, throw it away and start again.

Some additional tips:
  • Store your yeast in the freezer or refrigerator!  It lasts much longer in there!
  • Let your bread dough rise in a warm place.  I turn the oven on low for a minute then turn it off and let the bread rise in there.
  • If your loaves start to look too brown for your liking while they are baking, just cover them lightly with foil once they have browned.  This will let them keep cooking but stop browning.  (I personally love a nice golden, just slightly crispy crust, so I don't cover mine.)

I suggest reading through the whole recipe first to get familiar with the process and so you can plan out your time.  (I love to spend some me-time while dough is rising.)

(*Note:  If you don't have a mixer with a dough attachment, you can definitely mix this by hand, it will just take a bit more effort and you will need to get down and dirty with your hands to knead it all together for at least ten minutes.)

Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 7-8 cups AP flour, divided
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp melted butter (can use vegetable or canola oil)
  • 2-2/3 cup warm water
  • 3 Tbsp melted butter
Instructions:
  1. Add the yeast, sugar and warm water to your mixing bowl and let sit five minutes to make sure it activates.  (It should be frothy and beige in color.)  
  2. Add 4 cups of the flour, salt, melted butter, (or oil), and the additional water and mix together.
  3. Put your mixer bowl on the mixer with the dough hook and mix on low speed while adding 3-4 additional cups of flour one cup at a time.  (I used about 7-1/2 cups total - you want add just enough to stop it from being sticky.) 
  4. Let the dough knead in your mixer on low speed (2 on my KitchenAid) for 5 minutes.
  5. Spray the bowl under the dough lightly with non-stick cooking spray and then spray the top of the dough, cover with saran wrap and a clean towel, and let the dough rise in a warm space until doubled in size, about an hour.
  6. While the dough is rising, prepare two bread pans by spraying with non-stick spray.
  7. After the hour is up, punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  
  8. Divide the dough in to two equal pieces.  
  9. For each section of dough:  Gently roll out into a square, (mine were about 12 by 12 inches).  Roll up tightly, (as if you were making cinnamon rolls.)  Pinch the ends closed and tuck them under to shape the loaves and place each loaf in one of your prepared pans.
  10. Place a piece of saran wrap lightly over the loaves, (don't seal because they will rise high), and let them rise again in a warm space until doubled in size, about another hour.
  11. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and place the baking rack just below the middle of the oven.
  12. Uncover your loaves and bake for 30 minutes. 
  13. Remove the loaves from the oven, pop them out of the pan and place on a cooling rack.  
  14. Brush with melted butter and let cool before slicing and serving!

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