This is from the Tasha Tudor cookbook, and I'll be writing more about her soon...she's someone whose life I greatly admired. This is a basic white bread -- I'm wanting to try some of her other breads, too. I started with this one, which yielded a slightly sweet basic white bread loaf. The one extra rising made the difference in texture.
I wrestled with the dough while kneading it the first two times, but after the second rising, it was beautiful to handle. Hope you like it as much as we do :)
White Bread, from The Tasha Tudor Cookbook
2 cups milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick)butter
1/4 cup sugar, or 1 cup honey (sugar gives a crusty crust, honey gives a soft crust)
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups water
11 cups unbleached flour, approximately
2 packages active dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water, 110 degrees F
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
Grease or oil four 5" x 9" loaf pans.
In a saucepan, heat milk, butter, sugar or honey, and salt till all are liquid (don't boil), then remove from heat. Put the mixture in a very large bowl and add the water. Then add 1 cup of flour. When the mixture is lukewarm, dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of water with just a pinch of sugar or honey. Let sit for 5 minutes to proof. When the yeast is foamy, add it to the milk mixture.
Add enough flour to make a nice workable dough (you'll be using most of the flour), and knead for 10 minutes (on a floured surface).
Place into a very large, well-buttered bowl. Turn dough once to coat the top, cover with a warm towel, and allow to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until double in bulk.
When the dough has risen the first time, punch it down and repeat the process.
At the end of the second rising, punch down the dough and divide it into 4 loaves, making sure to smooth out any air bubbles. Place the loaves in prepared pans, cover them with towels, and allow them to rise until nearly double, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
When the dough has almost doubled bake the loaves in the preheated oven for approximately 1 hour, until they are a crusty brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove loaves from pans and cool them on racks.
The cookbook notes that if you wish to make whole wheat bread using this recipe, you can use half whole wheat flour and half unbleached white flour, allowing just one rising in the bowl instead of two.
I made mine into 3 loaves and a great batch of rolls. I hope this recipe works for you...it did for me, and I'm NO breadmaking expert. Enjoy!