Monday, October 31, 2011

Handmade Homestyle White Bread Recipe

My second attempt at making bread turned out much better than the first. This bread was so tasty and light. We ate the entire loaf in two days! I kept catching my husband in the kitchen stealing slices of it! Since I don't have a stand mixer I had to hand need the dough  for 45 minutes, so I was not excited to have to make it again just two days later. This recipe is great and I highly recommend you give it a try. Let me know how it turns out if you do.


1/4 cup of warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup of warm milk (110-115 degrees F)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 cups bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons of traditional oats (for bread topping)

Yields 1 loaf

Time: 3 1/2 hours prep (mostly letting dough rise) and 40 minutes cook time


Place the water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl, whisk to blend. Allow mixture to sit for 10 minutes or until the yeast is activated (foamy and bubbly). In medium bowl whisk together warm milk and melted butter.

In a large bowl mix flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture and butter mixture. Hand knead until it comes together, about 8-10 minutes (until dough is firm, elastic, and smooth. Let dough rest for 20 minutes in lightly oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap or damp lint free towel. 

Turn dough out on a clean, lightly floured surface. Knead for approximately 30-45 minutes or until you are able to pull a gluten windowpane (see below).

For gluten windowpane- Pinch off a small piece of dough and stretch it between your fingers slowly and consistently, turning it for an even full. If the gluten is fully developed you should be able to stretch it a couple inches thin and have a translucent membrane. If its tears easily, you will need to knead longer.

Place dough in lightly oiled bowl. Make sure that the outside of the dough is lightly covered with oil as well (this helps the dough expand). Cover with plastic wrap or damp lint free towel. Let rest for 60 minutes or until the dough has doubled. 

Turn dough out on a clean, lightly floured surface. Punch down to remove excess air bubbles. Shape to form bread shape you desire. Be sure not to knead again. 
I shaped mine into a loaf and place it in a greased 9x5 loaf pan.
Lightly oil top of loaf and cover with plastic wrap or damp lint-free towel. Let proof (rise) for 45-60 minutes or until dough is 1/2 to 1 inch above the rim of the pan.  

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F 30 minutes before dough is ready. 10 minutes before placing bread in oven, place an empty baking sheet on the bottom oven rack and position the middle rack to get ready for the bread. Lightly brush beaten egg on top of loaf and sprinkle with oats. When oven is hot place bread on middle rack and throw a handful of ice cubes on to the hot baking sheet (this produces steam to keep the bread soft).

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and it reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. If the top is too hard for your liking you can spread some butter on top and it will soften it. 

Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Cut with a serrated knife.

Store in air tight container on counter for up to 3 days or keep in airtight container in fridge for about a week. To freeze, double wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for up to one month.
 To defrost, set on counter for 1 1/2 hours (or until room temperature), then bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes until the crust is crusty and the insides are soft. 

Serve with homemade butter and homemade jam (recipes available on this blog).

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