We always have homemade bread at our house.
Mostly, I make whole wheat bread and use a bit of a variation of the recipe that came with my Bosch mixer.
Sometimes, only white bread will do, especially when making grilled cheese sandwiches with fresh tomato soup!
Here's the recipe for my favorite white bread.
2 cups warm water
2/3 cup white sugar
1-1/2 T. dry yeast
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
6 cups flour
In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Stir in yeast and let sit for 5 minutes.
Mix salt and oil/butter into the yeast. Add flour, one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface ‘til smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, turn dough to coat. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap. Allow to rise ‘til doubled .. about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes and divide in half. Shape into two loaves and placed in two well oiled 9" x 5" loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes or ‘til dough has risen 1" above sides of pan.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
A few tips for those who have not made bread or need help.
Make sure your water isn't too hot to kill the yeast or too cool to activate it. Get yourself an instant read thermometer or any good kitchen thermometer will do. The water should be between 105 degrees and 112 degrees when adding directly to the yeast.
It's best to use salt that does NOT contain iodine.
When making bread, after a bit of experience, you will know how bread dough needs to feel. Adding too much flour may result in a loaf that is too dry and the bread will be hard and crumbly. Adding too little flour will result in a loaf that will not hold its shape and will tear easily when sliced.
There's a big difference in the flour available. I've had success using all times of flour, though my favorite is Wheat Montana Prairie Gold, which may be available to most only through mail order. Bread flour is available in pretty much every store and it's fine.
Treat your recipe as a "guide." It doesn't have to be followed exactly! Once you have a recipe that has worked for someone you trust, keep working with that one recipe. Don't jump from recipe to recipe. The first time you make your bread, it may not be the best but pay close attention to everything you do. Next time you make it, if you want different results, try changing one thing. If you change several things at once, you won't know what worked or what didn't so maybe try adding less or more flour, or kneading longer or less time.
Depending on the size pan, the size of your oven, and whether or not your thermostat is exactly correct, you may need to adjust your baking time. What takes 30 minutes for me might take 25 or 35 for you. My favorite bread pans are the Norpro dimpled pans.
Bread making isn't something that will work for one and not for another. If you want homemade bread, you can have it but like everything else, it may take a little practice and a bit of patience.
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