You GUYS, last week I posted a photo of this loaf on Instagram and I’m still in disbelief that I can say, “I have mastered white bread! FINALLY!” I couldn’t be more excited!
To those who bake with yeast on a regular, I tip my hat off to you as this is something I’ve tried to accomplish for quite some time. Granted, I did not spend each weekend or even once a month trying to succeed at this recipe but the few attempts I had, were failed attempts and it became increasingly more discouraging to continue at every try. The mere thought of wasting ingredients and time kept clouding my mind and I couldn’t think straight as to where I went wrong in my past. I would buy all types of new yeast, new thermometers, new everything to ensure I had my basis covered. Still didn’t work. You can imagine how frustrating this became and sadly, it started to put a damper on my self-confidence as a baker.
After months of giving up on the idea of baking with yeast, I decided to give it one last shot. I mustered any remaining faith and tried again. FINALLY! I got it. As corny as it may sound, I almost had tears of joy. The amount of pressure I placed on myself to not give up was intense. Believe me when I tell you, when that oven timer went off, I jumped, hooted and hollered with excitement because what I saw was real EDIBLE bread. I stress edible because you should have seen the monstrous creations that resulted in my past.
Of course naturally, the typical food blogger that I am, I took phone pics of each loaf- in every angle, annoyed friends and family with my picture texts, and who ever walked through my front door, I shoved a loaf in their face and said, “Look what I made! Now smell it.” Ha! Today, I feel I can say with confidence, I am a baker. Now if only I can master pastry then, I’ll be set.
PS: I realize it’s much easier and convenient to purchase sliced bread and avoid the tedious baking process, but if only you could smell the aromatic scent that I smelled! Not kidding, the yeast as it bakes will enrapture you. There’s no going back. It’s one of the most euphoric senses to experience.
Don’t go too far. I’ve already made several incredible recipes using this Homemade Classic!
- 6-7 cups bread flour
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, softened
- 2 packets (4 ½ teaspoons) regular active yeast or fast acting dry yeast
- 2 ½ cups warm water (120°F to 130°F)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (optional)
- Grease one (1) large bowl and two (2) 8x4-inch or 9x5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray or shortening; set aside.
- In another large bowl using an electric mixer on low speed, mix 3 ½ cups of flour, sugar, salt, 2 tablespoons shortening, yeast and water for 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl frequently. Increase speed to medium and beat mixture for another minute. Add more flour a cup at a time if needed to make dough easier to handle.
- Lightly flour a clean dry surface. Knead* dough 10 times or until smooth and springy. Place dough in the large pre-greased bowl; flip and rotate to cover all side with grease. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Set over a warm surface for 40-60 minutes or until dough has doubled in size**.
- Gently push fist into the dough to deflate; transfer onto a re-floured surface and cut in half. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough into an 18x9-inch rectangle. At the 9-inch side of the rectangle, begin to tightly roll flattened dough toward you. Be sure to use your fingers to seal each roll toward you and to pinch each end of the roll to seal.
- Place loaf seam-side-down in prepared pans. Lightly coated with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow loaves to rise a second time over a warm surface for 35 to 50 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to the lowest position to give loaves ample room to bloom. Heat oven to 425°F. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until loaves are deep golden brown. Ready when bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pans and allow loaves to cool over a wire rack. Brush coat the top of loaves with remaining 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Slice and ENJOY!
*Kneading: To knead, fold dough toward you and use the heels of your hands to press and push the dough away from you. It should feel like a short rocking motion. Rotate dough a quarter turn and repeat. Dough should feel smooth and springy when kneading is completed.
**Indentation: Dough is ready when the imprint of fingertips pressed ½ inch into dough remain. This should be done when dough has doubled in size.
Have you made any of my recipes? I would love to see them. Snap a pic and use the #urbanbakes on your public Instagram and Twitter.
Recipe adapted from (p. 114) Betty Crocker Cookbook.