There are few things as amazing as fresh baked bread – the simplicity, and the smell that fills the kitchen are just two of the reasons why it’s the perfect treat for a cold day – or any day really!
Oh, and it’s easy to make – that helps too!
There’s the dough making…
And the kneading…
And the rising…
And the baking…
And then there’s the best part – the EATING!
6 to 7 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour* or Better for Bread® bread flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons shortening
2 packages regular or quick active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
2 1/4 cups very warm water (120° to 130°F)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted, if desired
1. In large bowl, stir 3 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt, shortening and yeast until well mixed. Add warm water. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, to make dough easy to handle.
2. Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy. Grease large bowl with shortening. Place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 40 to 60 minutes or until dough has doubled in size. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
3. Grease bottoms and sides of two 8×4-inch or 9×5-inch loaf pans with shortening or spray with cooking spray.
4. Gently push fist into dough to deflate. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half with hands or rolling pin into 18×9-inch rectangle on lightly floured surface. Roll dough up tightly, beginning at 9-inch side. Press with thumbs to seal after each turn. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal. Pinch each end of roll to seal. Fold ends under loaf. Place seam side down in pan. Brush loaves lightly with butter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 35 to 50 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.
5. Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 425°F.
6. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to wire rack. Brush loaves with butter; cool.
Makes 2 loaves, 16 slices each
It was the perfect addition to our Thanksgiving feast, and was amazing as French toast too! You likely have almost all of these ingredients on hand, so go ahead and give bread making a try – it’s worth the effort, and goes great with everything from soup to peanut butter and jelly!