Traditional White Bread
This recipe from my daughter’s Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook (1996 edition) is my favorite bread recipe. I have made a few variations.
6 to 7 cups all-purpose or bread flour
3 tablespoons sugar (I usually don't add the sugar)
1 tablespoons. Salt
2 packages regular or quick active dry yeast (I use 2 tablespoons yeast)
2 tablespoons shortening (I often don’t use shortening)
2 ¼ cups very warm water (120° to 130°)
Mix 3 ½ cups flour with yeast, sugar, and salt. Add shortening and hot water. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. (I use my Kitchenaid with the bread hook [for kneading] and mix on speed 2, for 5 minutes.) 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.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl and turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in warm place 40 to 60 minutes or until double. Dough is ready if indentions remain when toughed.
With shortening, grease bottoms and sides of 2 loaf pans, 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ½ or 9 x 5 x 3 inches.
Punch down dough and divide in half. Flatten each half with hands or rolling pin into rectangle, 18 x 9 inches, on lightly floured surface. Roll dough up tightly, beginning at 9-inch side, to form loaf. Press with thumbs to seal after each turn. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal. Press each end with side of hand to seal. Fold ends under loaf. Place seam side down in pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place 35 to 40 minutes or until double.
Move oven rack to low position so that the tops of the pans will be in the center of the oven. Heat oven to 425°.
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. 90 calories per slice. (Loaves sliced into 10 slices – 144 calories per slice.)
NOTE: To make my dinner rolls, I divide the dough into 24 pieces – shape into rolls and place in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake on center rack at 350° for 20 minutes. Cover lightly with aluminum foil to prevent tops from burning and bake 15 minutes more.
Cinnamon-Raison Bread: Stir in 1 cup raisins with the second addition of flour. Mix ¼ cup sugar and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. After rolling dough into rectangles, sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon water and half of the sugar mixture.
Fresh Herb Bread: Stir in 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves just before the second addition of flour.
A Child's Grace:
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it:
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit
A Child's Book of Old Verses, 1910
Only 30 days until Thanksgiving Day!