Basic White Bread
In this recipe, you can replace the 1 3⁄4 cups water with potato water. Save the water in which you boil potatoes to use in making white bread. Potato water improves the action of yeast. It also adds a subtle flavor and keeps home-baked bread moist longer.
Serves: 24Hands-on: 30 minutesTotal: 4 hours 30 minutesDifficulty: Medium
- 6 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1⁄4 cup warm water
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 1 3⁄4 cups warm water
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
- Place about one-third of the flour in a large bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the yeast with 1⁄4 cup warm water, stirring well.
- Add the sugar, salt, and 1 3⁄4 cups water to the yeast. Add the mixture to the flour in the bowl and stir well. Cut in the shortening, using a pastry cutter or your hands. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as possible.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead 8 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding flour as necessary.
- Transfer the dough to a large well-greased bowl, turning to coat both sides. Cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm, draft-free area. Allow to rise until double in volume, about 1 1⁄2 hours.
- Punch the dough down and let rise a second time until almost doubled in bulk. Grease 2 bread pans (9 by 5 inches). Punch dough down a second time and divide into 2 loaves. Shape loaves and place into prepared bread pans. Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans and allow to cool on a rack.