I think I have shared with you all before about how intimidating bread- baking is for me. The tantalising aroma of bread being baked wafting from the bakeries as I pass by, have made me flip through many a bread recipe only to put them all back as quickly as I had reached out for them. The many hours of rising, the kneading, the uncertainty of relying on the abilities of another living organism apart from myself (yes, I don’t do well while working in groups! ) are all sufficient reasons for me to chuck them.
But in my defence, I had sometime back made a couple of perfectly unpalatable breads. They were hard as rocks and capable of putting a few stitches on anybody’s head.
This recipe had so many , and I mean SO MANY raving reviews that I felt confident enough to have a go at it. And I’m so glad that I haven’t stopped patting myself on the back ever since these loaves of perfect white bread cooled down just in time for a cuppa.
They have a buttery crust , plush soft interiors and you simply cannot stop at only one slice. For me, a fruit jam went perfectly well with it.
If you are a beginner like me , I encourage you to try this magical fail-proof recipe.
PS I made only half the recipe the first time I tried this, and it yielded one perfect tall loaf.
4½ teaspoons instant yeast
¾ cup + 2⅔ cups warm water, divided
¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon salt
3 (43 grams) tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
9 (1.3 kg) to 10 (1.4 kg) cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
1. In the bowl of a mixer, stir to dissolve the yeast in ¾ cup of the warm water, and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2⅔ cups water, sugar, salt, room temperature butter, and 5 cups of the flour and stir to combine.
2. Using a dough hook, mix on low speed and gradually add the remaining flour until the dough is soft and tacky, but not sticky (you may not need to use all of the flour). Continue to knead until a soft ball of dough forms and clears the sides of the bowl, about 7 to 10 minutes.
3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and turn it over so it is completely coated. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a draft-free place to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
4. Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Gently press it all over to remove any air pockets. Divide the dough in two and, working with one piece at a time, gently pat it into a 9×12-inch rectangle. Roll up the rectangle, starting on the short end, into a very tight cylinder. Pinch to seal the seams and the ends, tuck the ends of the roll until the bread, and place into greased 9-inch loaf pans. Cover the loaves loosely and place in a draft-free area until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.
5. Position an oven rack on the lowest setting and preheat the oven to 200 C.
6. Brush the loaves with some of the melted butter. Bake the loaves for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating halfway through, until golden brown (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 195 degrees F).
7. Remove from the oven and immediately brush with more of the melted butter. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and cool completely before slicing.
The bread can be stored in an airtight bread bag or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 4 days. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month.
Adapted from Brown eyed baker