One of my favorite things is fresh baked bread. I can never wait for the loaves to cool before I slice into them and somehow, it always feels like Christmas morning. The anticipation as I’m cutting in, trying not to squish the still hot bread, wondering did it cook all the way through? After a little trial and error and some undercooked loaves that got tossed into the freezer to turn into breadcrumbs later, I FINALLY have a recipe that turns out perfect every time. This recipe has hands down, become my favorite. I’ve even rolled extra dough out and made cinnamon rolls with it, so its a very versatile dough, which is always nice.
Baking our own bread was one of the first steps I took towards living more “old fashioned.” It can be made with ingredients you usually already have & always leaves me feeling productive, like I have accomplished something great for my family. My best advice with bread is don’t overthink it. SO many recipes I tried had very specific steps and I just finally started dumping it all in and mixing my dough, for me it turns out better that way.
This recipe makes 4 loaves and usually lasts our family of 6 for about a week. I use the large 7qt KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook to knead my dough. No need for a bread machine taking up space. If you try it out I’d love to hear how it works for you…
What you’ll need:
2 cups warm water
4 tsp active-dry yeast
4 TBS butter (I honestly just eyeball this)
2 cups milk
4 TBS sugar
2 TBS salt
10 cups all purpose flour
Instructions, more like guidelines…
Warm your water then add the water and 4tsp yeast to your mixing bowl. After a few minutes the yeast should be mostly dissolved.
If your butter has measurements on it then go ahead and cut off 4Tbs. We buy a block of amish butter so I just kinda guess, it works out just fine so don’t panic if you don’t have measurements on your butter. Pour in the remaining ingredients. Yep, all of them.
Now, you need to knead your dough. I use my 7qt KitchenAid mixer. If you have a smaller mixer you might need to 1/2 the recipe, or knead by hand. I set my mixer to the lowest speed, set a 10min timer and let it to the hard work. (If your dough is too wet you can add a little more flour, about 1Tbs at a time)
Once that’s done let the dough rise until doubled, usually an hour. Unless I forget I’m making bread, then it gets a little extra time.
When I finally remember that I’m making bread I put the dough out onto the counter & divide it into 4 sections. I quickly knead them by hand a few times, shape them into something that resembles a loaf and toss them into greased bread pans to rise a 2nd time. (I grease my pans with coconut oil)
Let the dough rise a second time until its close to the top of your bread pan, or just over. This usually takes another 45mins or so. Once they look ready go ahead and pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Once your oven is heated lower it to 375 degrees and put the loaves in. Depending on your oven you’ll need to let them bake for 25-35mins. My upper oven needs longer than my lower oven does, just start at the low end and keep an eye on your bread.
Once they look done I try to let the pans cool for a few minutes before I dump the bread onto a wire cooling rack & start slicing off samples.
I have tried sooooo many recipes for bread and finally just decided to do what felt right. I don’t over think it, don’t do a ton of extra steps, just toss it all together, knead, rise & bake. Its so much easier and has been the best texture bread I’ve ever made.
Now you just have to fight off the kids & husband who are all suddenly starving and neeeeeeed a snack. Slice, serve & enjoy!