Monday, February 24, 2014

White Bread

Pretty much perfect white bread!

*Makes 2 loaves

INGREDIENTS
3 cups luke-warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoon yeast
1/3 cup oil
1 Tablespoon salt
6 - 7 cups unbleached ground white wheat flour (you can use regular all-purpose bleached flour with success as well. It will make a softer, less-coarse bread. You will need more all-purpose flour... closer to 8 cups.)
*opt. 1 Tbsp. vital wheat gluten (if using whole white wheat flour, to aid the dough in rising, and not falling when baked.)

DIRECTIONS
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and sugar. Let sit 10 minutes. Add the oil. Add the salt and flour starting with 6 cups of flour. Mix all together. Knead the dough thoroughly until all ingredients are incorporated, and dough is smooth, elastic, very slightly sticky, and pulls away from the bowl (6-10 minutes). As you knead the dough, you may add more flour as needed, and repeat the process until dough reaches the desired consistency.

Cover the bowl of dough with a dish towel or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled (an hour or more depending on how warm your kitchen is.) You may speed up this process by placing the covered bowl inside the oven with the oven light on, and another bowl of warm water sitting on the lower rack.

Punch the dough down, divide and and form into 2 loaves. Place the dough in 2 greased bread pans. (I use 9" pans.) Cover and let rise until the top of the dough is an inch or two higher than the bread pans.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove the baked loaves from their pans immediately, and place on a cooling rack. Slice, and serve warm with butter and honey.

Store in an air-tight bag. Baked loaves AND bread dough freeze well.

NOTES:

  • Source  (Thanks to Donna S. for her very high recommendation!)
  • I tried the all white flour version and it was pretty excellent.  Soft enough for sandwiches even!
  • It rose way quicker than expected (especially on the 2nd rising) so my loaves were amazonian.  No picture this time, but even with that the texture was excellent.

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