Basic White Bread

Basic White Bread
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book

Ingredients

  • 5 3/4 – 6 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 ounce active dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups milk or buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Directions
1.  In a large mixing bowl combine 2-1/2 cups of the flour and the yeast; set aside. In a medium saucepan heat and stir milk, sugar, butter, and salt just until warm (120 degree F to 130 degree F) and butter almost melts. Add milk mixture to dry mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double in size (45 to 60 minutes).
3. Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover; let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease two 8x4x2-inch loaf pans.
4. Shape each portion of dough into a loaf by patting or rolling. To shape dough by patting, gently pat and pinch each portion into a loaf shape, tucking edges beneath. To shape dough by rolling, on a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 12×8-inch rectangle. Starting from a short side, roll up into a spiral. Seal with fingertips as you roll.
5. Place the shaped dough in the prepared loaf pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size (30 to 40 minutes).
6. Bake in a 375 degree F oven about 40 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when you tap the top with your fingers. (If necessary, cover loosely with foil the last 10 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning.) Immediately remove bread from pans. Cool on wire racks. Makes 2 loaves (32 servings).

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