Fresh Baked Bread

Yup, I did it… I made bread. First time this season – and it was WHITE bread – not whole wheat. 
The kind when my girls walked in from school they said ‘you made bread’ just by the smell in the house. 
The kind you eat with melted butter right when it is cool enough to slice. 
The kind you toast the next morning with butter and strawberry preserves because you can. 
The kind that has so many points on Weight Watchers you just don’t write it down

I forget how easy and how little time it really takes to to make this from scratch. I this recipe it has never failed me.  It uses milk, so I can use Lactaid.

White Bread
Makes 1 loaf

3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tsp salt
1 C warm milk (110º F)
1/3 C warm water (110º F)
2 tbsp butter, melted
3 tbsp honey
2 1/4 tsp rapid-rise yeast (1 package)

1. Adjust oven rack to low position and heat oven to 200ºF. Once oven reaches temperature, maintain heat 10 minutes, then turn off oven.

2. Mix flour and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook. 
Mix milk, water, butter, honey, and yeast in a liquid measuring cup. (We use Lactaid Milk)
Turn machine on and slowly add liquid.  
When dough comes together, increase speed to medium and mix until dough is smooth and satiny, about 10 minutes.
Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface; knead to form smooth, round ball, about 15 seconds.

3. Place dough in a very lightly oiled bowl, rubbing dough around bowl to lightly coat. Cover with plastic wrap; place in warm oven until dough doubles in size, 40 to 50 minutes.

4. Gently press dough into rectangle 1 inch thick and no longer than the length of your loaf pan. With a long side facing you, roll dough firmly into cylinder, pressing with your fingers to make sure dough sticks to itself. Turn dough seam side up and pinch it closed. Place dough in greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan and press it gently so it touches all four sides of pan.

5. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot until dough almost doubles in size, 20 to 30 minutes.
 Heat oven to 350º F (remove first if rising in oven) and place an empty loaf pan on bottom rack. Bring 2 cups water to boil.

6. Remove plastic wrap, and place loaf pan with dough into oven. Immediately pour heated water into empty loaf pan; close oven door. Bake until instant-read thermometer inserted at an angle from short end just above pan rim into center of loaf reads 195º F, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove bread from pan, transfer to a wire rack, and cool to room temperature. Slice and serve.

It does not last long here…. but it is SO GOOD!

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