This is not going to be impressive to you bread aficionados. Who can’t make simple white bread, you ask? Me. That’s who. Well, until now. Feast your eyes on my first decent loaf of white bread.
I have only recently begun to feel more comfortable using yeast. Pizza dough really gave me my initial confidence with trusting something to rise, and I haven’t been too afraid of it for a good while now.
However, after my first trial with making some simple white sandwich bread this past week I was yet again fooled by that tricky micro organism! I guess I knew it was going to be a flop before I even started. I bought a jar of yeast at the store because they were out of packets. I thought, “Well, this is nice. A big jar I can measure from instead of cutting open those pesky packets.” I first opened and used the yeast a week ago in pizza dough which rose beautifully. Then guess what I did. I put it in the cabinet. Because that’s where I always keep yeast. I pulled it out this past week to make this bread and noticed a little, ok fine, a rather large, note on top of the jar that gave a simple instruction. “Refrigerate after Opening” Oops. So what did I do? I kept on working. Mixing everything together thinking that by some miracle it would work. Well, it didn’t. I plopped the unrisen dough ball into the trash. It was sad. I hate throwing food away.
The next day I tried again with new yeast from a package. It still didn’t rise to double its original size each time like the recipe stated it should, but the end result was a nice, slightly dense white bread of which half a loaf is gone a mere 24 hours later. So I think I am going to work on perfecting this bread. It is simple and yummy. Nothing too complex about it. It is just good white bread. This morning we made cinnamon toast with it and it was breakfast bliss. I think this would make excellent grilled cheese sandwiches and spectacular turkey or ham and cheese, or just simple toast with butter and jam.
This recipe comes from a Houston Junior League cookbook that my friend Megan gave me. Thanks, Megan! This cookbook is a lot of fun to browse through since it was originally printed in 1968. This recipe caught my eye with its title “Old Fashioned White Bread”. Some recipes don’t get better or improve tremendously over time, and I think basic bread it one of them. I only changed one ingredient, I used butter instead of shortening, and I changed the instructions a bit since I have the luxury of owning a stand mixer.
If you have any great recipes for white bread, please share them! While I loved this bread, I always love to try recipes others swear by and also would love any tips you have for bread baking. I am just a beginner and I know that good bread bakers are made, not born.
Old Fashioned White Bread
Houston Junior League Cookbook
- 1 package dry yeast
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 6 cups bread flour
- Egg Wash: 1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon of water or milk
- Dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup warm water.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine sugar, butter, salt and 2 cups lukewarm water. Add yeast and mix.
- Mix in flour and run the mixer on slow speed for 2 minutes, then on medium speed for 4-5 minutes. Dough will be sticky.
- Oil a large bowl and turn dough out into the bowl, turn to coat with oil. Cover and let rise for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.
- Sprinkle hands with flour, punch down dough and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Cut dough in half and shape into 2 loaves.
- Place dough into 2 greased loaf pans, cover and let rise for 45 minutes, until doubled in size.
- Brush loaves lightly with egg wash. (You will not use it all.)
- Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes until tops are lightly browned.
- Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, and then completely on wire racks before cutting.