Basic White Bread

SAM_0592

Author: Cassie Stevens
Makes 2 loaves

2 1/2 cups warm water

4 1/2 tsp yeast or two packages

3 Tbsp sugar

3 Tbsp shortening or lard

3/4 Tbsp salt

6 cups flour

There is nothing like fresh bread. Especially when the smells fill your home.  I love, making homemade bread.  There is a certain sense of accomplishment to a good rise and that fresh taste.  Plus, I don’t use a mixer or a bread machine to mix my dough, I like to mix and knead my bread by hand so, it acts as a stress reliever too.

I start with the first three ingredients; mix the yeast, sugar, and water.  Let it sit about ten minutes until it froths up a little.  Then I add the lard, salt, and two cups of flour.  Mix well, add remaining flour one cup at a time, until you reach the last cup. Sprinkle a little of the last cup of flour on top of the dough in your bowl, and the rest onto the counter.  Roll the dough out of your bowl onto the floured surface and knead in the flour that you spread out on the counter. The dough should be soft but not sticky. I usually knead the dough about 8 to 10 minutes by hand. I will work in more flour if the dough is still too soft.  You will feel the dough stiffen up slightly when your kneading it.  That is when you can tell when to stop.  Once you make this recipe a few times you will get the hang of how it should look and feel for you. Every recipe gets better the more you make it.

Once you have the right consistency of your dough, spray a large bowl with cooking spray. and put it in the greased bowl upside down.  Flip it once to coat the top, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let rise for about an hour. If you don’t have a large bowl (cause it gets big) cut your dough ball in half and place in two bowls to rise.

After an hour or so, and your bread has doubled in size turn out onto a floured surface.  Immediately cut the dough in half and place one half back in the bowl. If you are making two loaves of bread (you could make dinner rolls, buns, or whatever you like), knead both halves for a minute or two, to work out all the air bubbles.  and place in two loaf pans.

Now, its time for the second rise. Turn your oven on to its lowest setting (mine is 170 degrees), just until it reaches it’s temp, then turn it off.  Place your loaf pans in to proof until it doubles and fills the loaf pans evenly. This won’t take long in a warm oven. You don’t want your dough to flow over the edges they will brown faster than the rest of the bread.  When your dough has risen a second time to your liking, pull your dough out and turn on your oven to 350 degrees.  Whip up an egg wash (one egg and a Tbsp water) and brush the top of each loaf (this adds beautiful color). You could even add some seeds, or a garlic Parmesan topping to your bread or rolls. Bake until golden brown.  Keep an eye on it because everyone’s oven cooks differently so time varies. I bake mine about 15 minutes.

Hope you enjoy! Happy Baking

SAM_0590

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