Old Fashioned White Bread



Old Fashioned White Bread
Yield: 2 loaves of bread
(Adapted from Williams Sonoma Bread)

Ingredients

1/4 cup (60 ml) warm water (105-115 F, 40-46 C)
2 cups (500 ml) warm whole milk (105-115 F, 40-46 C) - divided
4 tsp (19 g) active dry yeast
2 tbsp (24 g) brown sugar (plus a pinch)
2 tbsp (28 g) melted unsalted butter
1 tbsp (18 g) salt
6 cups (940 g) bread flour (plus some on reserve)
Butter for greasing the pans
Oil for greasing the bowl. (I use light tasting olive oil)

Directions

1. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup each (60 g) of the warm water and warm milk. Sprinkle in the yeast and a pinch of brown sugar. Stir well with a fork, making sure there are no clumps. Cover with cling film and let sit for 10 minutes in a warm spot until the yeast mixture is foamy. (If your yeast mixture is not foamy, it is likely your yeast is no good - best to start over with new yeast!)

2. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the warm milk, the butter, brown sugar and salt. Add 2 cups (260 g) of the bread flour and mix until creamy. Add the yeast mixture and 1 cup (130 g) of the bread flour and mix well.

3. Add the remaining bread flour, one scoop at a time and mix well. When it gets too hard to mix, pour out the contents of the bowl with the remaining flour (if any) and start to mix with your hands.

4. Knead for 10-15 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add minimal flour when needed.

5. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and place in a warm spot for about 90 minutes or until doubled.

6. Grease your loaf pans.

7. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and divide in two. Pat each down into a long rectangle. Fold each loaf like you would fold a letter, press to flatten a little bit then roll into a log. Roll the dough back and forth until it's just longer than the length of your pan. Tuck in the ends, and pinch the seams. Place seam side down into your loaf pan and repeat with the second loaf. Cover and let rise 1 hour or until the dough rises about 1 inch above the rim of the pans.

8. Preheat your oven to 375 F (190 C, gas mark 5). Bake the loaves about 40 minutes until golden brown and the bread pulls away from the sides of the loaf pans.

9. Turn onto cooling racks and cool completely.

These loaves are best eaten within a few days. They also freeze very well!

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