Friday, July 12

Basic White Bread

This is our go-to sandwich/toast/crusty roll bread.  I make a double-batch every 2 or 3 weeks, depending on how much bread we're eating.  It freezes fantastically well.

I got this recipe from a James Beard cookbook.  Since we got back from New England I've been using my new loaf pan that I got at Bennington Potters in Bennington, Vermont.  (Love!)

White Bread (Makes 2-3 loaves)
7 1/2 cups of bread flour (King Arthur is great)
4 tsp. of salt
2 pkgs (or 4 1/2 tsp) of active dry yeast
4 tsp sugar
warm water

Add 4 1/2 teaspoons (or 2 pkgs) of active dry yeast to 1 cup of warm water.  Add 4 teaspoons sugar.  Stir to mix, and let sit for about 5 minutes to proof.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, measure out 7 1/2 cups of flour, add 4 tsp of salt and stir to mix.  

The yeast mixture should be bubbly and foamy by now.  Add to the flour, along with 1 1/2 cups of warm water.  Stir to combine.  Once the liquid is incorporated into the flour and things are a little clumpy, dump it onto a lightly floured bread board, marble, or countertop.  

It's going to look pretty rough at this point, but just gather it into the center and start kneading and folding. Work in a little more flour if needed. Knead about 5-7 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  When you press two fingers into the dough, it should bounce back a little.  

Place in a large, buttered bowl and turn to coat.  Cover and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.  Punch down and turn out onto board, knead to get out the air bubbles and shape into loaves or rolls (or a combo).
Place into buttered loaf pans and let rise 40 minutes.

Glaze the tops with water, and slit the tops.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.  When you remove the bread, tap on the bottom of the loaf.  It should sound hollow.

Allow to cool completely.  I keep one loaf out, and freeze the other(s).  Enjoy!

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