Basic Homemade Bread

Although my body is happy and healthy when I'm not eating flour in any form, especially store bought bread (!), I do find that I can eat homemade bread without the bloating and pain that store bought bread brings.  I've done research into this, and I think I know why, but that is a post for another day.   Today, I mention it because this week I was craving homemade bread so I made a couple loaves.

Usually I make my normal, regular, tried and true recipe that I've posted more than a few times on An American Housewife and uses dry powdered milk.  However, this time I used one almost exactly similar except you use liquid milk.  I didn't bother to take a bunch of new photos because really, how many times can you take the same pictures of homemade bread?

I like to add about 1/2 cup whole wheat flour to my white flours so you can see a bit of grain in the photos I've posted.  You don't have to though - regular bread flour is just fine.

Basic Homemade Bread
Makes 2 - 9-by-5-inch loaves

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (about 110°F to 115°F)
2 T unsalted butter
1 c milk
2 T granulated sugar
1 T salt
4 1/2 to 6 1/2 c bread flour

In a bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast and warm water. Let sit 5 minutes until yeast is dissolved.

Heat the butter and milk until the butter melts and it's just warm (about 110 degrees). Stir in sugar and salt.

Add milk mixture to bowl along with 2 cups flour. Using the dough hook attachment, stir mixture to form a dough, adding enough of remaining flour as needed to form a smooth, soft, elastic and only slightly sticky dough.  Knead about 5 minutes with the dough hook.

Shape dough into a ball. Lightly grease a bowl with oil, then transfer dough to bowl. Turn dough once to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place 1 to 1 1/2 hours until doubled.

Deflate doubled dough and divide in two pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and place on a lightly floured surface. Rest 10 minutes. Shape dough into two equal loaves. Carefully transfer to two greased loaf pans. Cover pans with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour until dough begins to rise above tops of pans.

Heat oven to 375°F. Place loaf pans on center rack about 3 inches apart. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Remove loaves from pans and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.  You can brush the tops with butter while hot to keep a soft crust top or let them cool as they are for a hard top.

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