Easy, basic and adaptable. I use this recipe for everyday bread, cinnamon swirl bread, hamburger/hot dog buns, and add a little more sugar to make cinnamon rolls. There is nothing like hot bread from the oven!
1/2 cup warm water (about 110°)
4 ½ tsp dry yeast
3 Tbl sugar
1 ¾ cups warm water
1 Tbl salt
2 Tbl (heaping) shortening
6 cups flour
In small bowl, sprinkle yeast into the 1/2 cup warm water and sprinkle sugar over yeast. In large bowl (I use a Kitchen Aid mixer), combine the 1¾ cups warm water, salt, shortening (I softened shortening in microwave a few seconds) and 2 cups of the flour. Mix until smooth. Add the yeast, mix well. Add remaining flour. Knead. Turn into greased bowl, cover and let rise until double about 1 hour. Punch down, shape into loaves. Cover and let rise about 1/2 hour. Bake in preheated 375° oven for 35 minutes. I cover with foil for the remaining cook time when the loaves are golden brown.
For the cinnamon swirl bread, I mix 1/4 cup softened butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon (this is for one loaf, double if making both loaves cinnamon bread. Rolled out dough into 8×14 inch rectangle, spread cinnamon sugar mixture and roll up starting at a short side. Pinch seam at bottom and at sides. Bake the same as above.