January 17, 2011

Basic White Bread Recipe

 by Nick Pfaff

There are few things in this crazy, complicated world that are as simple and pleasing as a warm loaf of bread. The smell of homemade bread conjures thoughts of simpler times- with Mom or Grandma wearing a flour dusted apron, working so diligently to create such a wonderful and wholesome food.   
Besides the amazing smells fresh bread will create in your household, homemade bread is much cheaper, has more flavor, will not contain preservatives, and is all-together much healthier than most store bought loaves. A quality loaf of bread can be a good source of iron, vitamins, calcium, and protein.

Reading the list of ingredients on an average loaf of bread at the grocery store is enough to drive a person to spend way too much money, or simply settle for an unhealthy, plasticized concoction.  There should not be a short novel of tongue-twisting ingredients on the back of  basic white bread.  High fructose corn syrup, dicalcium phosphate, and diglycerides have no place in baking. 

The following recipe is from the outstanding cookbook “Joy of Cooking.”   This loaf is great for sandwiches, toast, or sliced thick with a slab of butter.  The recipe calls for minimal ingredients, including shortening or lard, which I substituted with unsalted butter.  Also, I recommend almond milk in place of the cow’s milk.  For cheesy bread simply add a cup of cheddar to the dough prior to kneading.  Enjoy!

Homemade White Bread

1 cup milk

1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt

In a separate large bowl, combine:
¼ cup water (105-115 degrees)
1 package active dry yeast

Allow yeast to dissolve, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the lukewarm milk mixture to the dissolved yeast.

Have ready:
6 ½ cups sifted all-purpose or bread flour (I prefer bread flour).

Stir in 3 cups flour, beat 1 minute, then stir or work in remaining four by tossing the dough on a floured board and kneading well until it is smooth, elastic and full of bubbles.  Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn the dough over once and cover with a cloth (plastic wrap works as well).  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, at least 1 hour.  Punch dough down to its original size and allow the dough to rise again. Otherwise, skip the second rising, shape the dough into 2 loaves, and place them in greased pans.  Cover and let them rise again until almost doubled in bulk. 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Bake the bread for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake about 30 minutes longer.  Test for doneness (loaves will often pull away from the pans).  Remove loaves from pan and allow to cool on a rack.

Nick Pfaff is a proud native of  Oregon. He enjoys cooking, eating, and drinking all the wonderful things the Northwest has to offer.

Sliced white bread.

1 comment:

  1. That you really look completely adorable recipe and don’t need to change a thing.


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