Ok, I missed it. But to make up for it, here’s a recipe for a basic white bread. This recipe is a great everyday bread recipe. The recipe is not mine, it’s the recipe of S. John Ross, someone who really knows what they’re doing and bakes bread regularly. If you’re interested in a very thorough explanation of this bread, definitely go to his site and read his recipe.
- 1 1/3 cups of warm water
- 1 rounded tbsp. sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp butter
- 4 rounded cups of flour
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
If you’re never worked with active dry yeast before, you first need to wake it up from its dormant state. Pour the water into a mixing bowl, and add the sugar and salt. Mix it up a bit and then sprinkle the yeast on top.
The water hydrates the yeast, the sugar feeds it, and the salt slows it down a bit so it doesn’t get out of control. Go do something else for 10-15 minutes. One thing you can do is make sure your butter is soft for the next step.
When you come back, there should be some action in the bowl. It should look slightly bubbly or foamy. If you are using old yeast, it’s possible that it won’t wake up. If you’re not sure, why not continue and see if it rises?
Add the butter, then start adding the flour about half a cup at a time. I mix it with the handle of a wooden spoon.
Start kneading it, adding the rest of the flour slowly until it is all incorporated. If you haven’t kneaded dough before, you basically fold it in half and push it flat with the ball of your hand. Stop once you have a nice smooth ball of dough.
Once it has doubled, take it from the bowl and punch it down. This means that you mash the dough to burst all of the air bubbles inside of it. Then form it into sort of a rounded rectangle and place it into your greased loaf pan.
I have a wide loaf pan, so it might look a bit different from yours. Next you need to slash it the long way with a sharp knife This will allow the dough to rise without busting through in unexpected ways. Make a quick cut about a half-inch deep. Now put it in the oven and set it to 350°F for 30-45 minutes. After 30 minutes, keep an eye on it. You want it to be a nice golden brown, and it should sound hollow when you tap on it. Remove the loaf from the oven and dump it out of the pan onto a cooling rack. If you like your bread to have a soft crust, rub some oil or butter on the outside.