Basic White Bread: A Recipe

I developed this recipe when I first started baking – for a bread machine! If you’ve never made bread, start here. This will make one loaf.

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cups of water (or combination of water, milk, eggs, whey…)
1 tsp yeast
2 tbsp sugar (or honey, but measure honey with the liquid ingredients)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp of melted butter
3 1/3 cups of flour (may not use all of it)

Instructions:

Add yeast to a small amount of warm water and stir to dissolve. Add a little bit of the sugar to yeast water and allow to sit till frothy. Fill measuring cup to 1 ¼ cup line with your choice of liquid ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine 2 ½ cups of flour with the salt and the rest of the sugar. Make a well in the center and add the melted butter and the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined or until you can’t stir anymore.

Use some of the additional flour on your counter or table and turn the dough out onto it. Sprinkle dough with more flour and begin kneading. Continue to knead, adding more flour as needed, until is soft and pliable, but not at all sticky.

Form into a ball and let rise, covered, in an oiled bowl until doubled, about 90 minutes.

Punch dough down and turn back out onto counter. Knead briefly to form a rectangle, then roll the dough into a loaf shape. Place the loaf into a greased pan, cover and let rise until dough reaches top of pan.

Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 30-35 minutes, till loaf is golden.

Immediately remove loaf from pan and allow to cool before cutting. (I know that’s hard, but it’s very difficult to neatly cut a hot loaf!)

Here’s a handy-table of multiplied measurements, so you can make more than one loaf at a time:

Ingredient List – Multiplied
2 loaves 3 loaves 4 loaves 6 loaves 8 loaves
Liquids 2 ½ 3 ¾ 5 7 ½ 10
Yeast 2 tsp 3 tsp 4 tsp 6 tsp 8 tsp
Sugar ¼ cup 1/3 cup ½ cup ¾ cup 1 cup
Salt 2 tsp 3 tsp 4 tsp 6 tsp 8 tsp
Butter ½ stick ¾ stick 1 stick 1 ½ stick 2 sticks
Flour 6 2/3 cups 10 cups 13 1/3 cups 20 cups 26 2/3 cups

Additional Notes:

I prefer Pyrex/Anchor pans because they hold the heat very well and I can see quickly whether or not the bread is done.

You can use this same basic recipe to make a lot of different breads. Try exchanging up to two cups of white flour for whole wheat for more nutrition. Or double the sugar and use milk as the liquid for a sweet dough that can be rolled out for cinnamon buns. For cinnamon raisin bread, add a tsp of cinnamon per loaf and a half cup of raisins.

You can also make a 100% whole wheat loaf, even with coarser home-milled flour! Stir about 2/3 of your flour in and then let it sit for 15 minutes! This simple extra step allows the flour to hydrate better and produces a loaf just as light as one made with white flour. If it’s not as lofty as you like, try adding just a bit more yeast – or let it rise longer!