Hello friends, hope you are all eager and ready to go Easter egg hunting with your family. Here in Canada it’s a long weekend for kids. Schools are closed on Friday and Monday. I thought this is the right time to post a simple white bread recipe. With kids around what’s more fun than baking? Let’s create sweet childhood memories by getting our hands dirty.
I have always had yeast-o-phobia. Couple of years back, when I started baking, one of the first recipes I had tried was making Naan at home. I gathered all ingredients with so much excitement and prepared everything as listed in the recipe, put the naan inside the oven and was eagerly waiting to taste it and all my excitement shut down once I tasted it. It smelled “yeasty”, tasted “yeasty” and nothing like what I had expected. So my experiment with yeast stopped way back in 2006. Somehow I didn’t feel like baking with yeast again until Jan 2012. On 1st of January this year, I decided that I’m going to overcome this yeast fear and decided to bake a simple white bread. I Googled and picked this recipe because it looked pretty easy to follow and I had the Rapid Rise Yeast or Instant Yeast and not the Active Dry Yeast some of the other white bread recipes called for. I followed everything in the recipe with utmost reverence and I was so serious like I was doing some religious rites or something. I didn’t let my husband to photograph the steps involved because I didn’t want to jinx anything. All the craziness was well worth it because the bread turned out AWESOME!
Beginner’s White Bread Recipe
Beginner’s White Bread Recipe4.5 from 6 reviews
Do not fear handling yeast because it’s not as bad as you think it is, especially the quick rise ones. I assure you that, once you bake this bread you will definitely not like the store-bought, packaged stuff which is being called bread.
Combine 2 cups flour, sugar, undissolved yeast and salt in a large bowl.
In a medium saucepan, heat water, milk and butter until very warm. Use a candy thermometer to see if the temperature is between 120F-130F (approximately 48C-54C).
Stir the milk mixture into the flour/yeast mix.
Use an electric mixer at medium speed and beat for about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally.
Stir in another cup of flour, beat again for 2 minutes at high speed, scraping bowl as needed.
Stir in enough of the remaining flour (2 and 1/2 to 3 cups) to make a soft dough. I used about 2 and 3/4 cups of flour. (See My Notes)
Lightly flour the surface you will be working on and knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.
Cover; let rise 10 minutes.
Divide dough in half. Roll each half to 12×7 inch rectangle. Beginning at short end of each rectangle, roll up tightly. Pinch seams and ends to seal completely.
Grease two 8×4 inch loaf pans and place the dough seam sides down.
Cover using plastic wrap; let rise in warm, draft free place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. (See My Notes)
Meanwhile around the 30th minute or so, preheat the oven at 400F/200C for about 15 minutes.
When the dough has doubled in size, bake it for 25-30 minutes or until done. Remove from pans; cool on wire rack.
Like always you have to wait for the bread to come to room temperature before you can cut it into slices. If you prefer eating warm bread then just apply some butter and tear it off and enjoy.
The bread looked exactly like bakery breads at least on the inside. The texture was perfect; light, airy and fluffy. I hadn’t done a neat job on sealing the edges after rolling the dough, so my ends were not perfect. The bread tasted great too. It’s been a while since I tasted freshly baked bread and God does it taste fantastic. It’s the best! How did we end up liking the factory made bread? I realized that bread baking is one of the “if I can do it you can do it too” stuff. So no more excuses, gather all the ingredients and bake a fresh loaf this weekend. You just have to just check the expiry date on the yeast and you are good. Also a pick a candy thermometer while you are at the dollar store.
The quantity of flour you end up adding depends on the type of flour you are using, the moisture content etc. So add it in small increments until you feel it’s right.
I read elsewhere that, when a bread recipe or any yeast recipe mentions to wait until the batter rises double in size or for a specific amount of time, look for the size and not the time. Sometimes the dough may need more time to double in size than mentioned in the recipe and you may not get the desired result if it does not double. After baking this bread, I did try my hands on dinner rolls and I just waited for the time mentioned in the recipe rather than for it to double in size and the dinner rolls came out look pathetic. The taste and texture was quite good but not as perfect as the bread. That’s when I looked for a reason and found that the time does not matter. I’m just a beginner baker and this is my understanding. Experts please share your tips and opinion.
I also read that, to get neat slices, you have to put the bread on either side and then slice it rather than the usual top to bottom slicing. I didn’t know it while slicing my first loaf and did the top to bottom slicing. For the second loaf I followed the trick and it really worked.
If all you have is Active Dry Yeast, then follow the instructions given for using it. The original recipe is here.
To make it vegan use non-dairy milk and margarine (I don’t recommend this for health reasons, organic coconut oil/avocado oil is a better option).
The recipe also suggests that you can use up to 2 cups of whole wheat flour in place of all purpose flour, though I have not tried this yet.