During this quarantine, I am baking some form of bread every other day. It keeps me busy, happy and we are well stuffed with carbs. This is #16 and the last of kingarthurflour.com‘s Best Basic Recipes Collection. I have baked this bread twice now and it is wonderful, great texture and flavor. Is there anything better than a big fat end piece off a loaf of homemade bread right out of the oven? I’ll answer that, no! It is the best! My favorite lunch is homemade bread and peanut butter sandwich, yes just peanut butter, my daughters think I’m a little crazy.
3 cups flour
1/2 cup milk (skim, 1%, 2% or whole, your choice)*
1/2 to 2/3 cup hot water, enough to make a soft, smooth dough
4 Tbl melted butter or 1/4 cup oil
2 Tbl sugar
1¼ tsp salt
1 pkt (2¼ tsp) yeast
*Mix cold milk with hot tap water to make a lukewarm liquid before adding to the remainder of the ingredients.
∇ This recipe makes 1 loaf, it is easy to double the batch to make 2 loaves!
To make the dough: In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. Or mix and knead the dough using an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine set to the dough or manual cycle.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise until puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. If you’re using a bread machine, allow the machine to complete its cycle, then leave the dough in the machine until it’s doubled in bulk, perhaps an additional 30 minutes or so.
Gently deflate the dough and transfer it to a lightly oiled work surface. Shape the dough into an 8″ log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 60 minutes, until it’s domed about 1″ above the edge of the pan. A finger pressed into the dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly. Towards the end of the rise, preheat your oven to 350°F.
Bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes, until it’s light golden brown. Test it for doneness by removing it from the pan and thumping it on the bottom (it should sound hollow), or by measuring its interior temperature with a digital thermometer (it should register 190°F at the center of the loaf).
Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.
More Luscious Bread!