About the Recipe
½ cup dry powdered milk (or 2 cups fresh milk)
1 tablespoon salt
½ cup + 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
1 cube butter (1 cube margarine, or a ½ cup oil can be substituted)
4 cups water (or 2 cups of water, if you used the 2 cups of fresh milk above)
1 tablespoon yeast (Tip: Store your yeast in the freezer)
6-8+ cups all-purpose bleached or unbleached white flour
Heat one cup of water over medium heat and add powdered milk, sugar, salt, and butter, and stir until everything is dissolved.
Turn off heat and add the three remaining cups of cold water to the hot mixture.
Put some flour (anywhere from four to six cups to start) in a large bowl (or mixer) and mix in the dry yeast granules (I use the kind that you don’t have to start ahead of time).
Add the warm liquid to the flour and mix.
Continue adding flour a little at a time until it starts to pull away from the bowl. If you are mixing by hand, pour out contents onto counter and continue kneading and adding more flour a little at a time until it feels right – just trust yourself. You’ll get this with practice.
After making it a couple times you will begin to know what density you prefer (more flour=denser, less flour=lighter). If you are mixing it with a mixer, just keep adding the flour a little at a time until it pulls away from the bowl and is somewhat self-contained and not sticky to the touch.
Spread a little oil on the dough surface and cover with a cloth. Let it raise to at least double.
Punch down, knead a little more, and divide into four pieces for loaves (*6-8 for bread bowls, and **24 for rolls).
Form into loaves, put in well greased bread pans, spread a little more oil on the dough and let raise again until it is the size you loaf you want.
Bake at 400°F degrees for 18-20 minutes.
When you remove bread from the oven, immediately tip the bread out of the pan and place the loaves on a cooling rack. You can spread butter on the crust while it is warm (making the crust softer), or leave it unbuttered (leaving the crust crustier) - your preference.
The process may look like it takes a long time, but in reality, it isn't long or difficult. You can get the dough mixed up and raising the first time in less than 10 minutes, and formed into loaves and raising the second time in less than 5 minutes. Just remember that the more you practice the better you will become, and your family will love being your test subjects.
*Bread bowls: Depending on how big you want the bread bowls, divide into six or eight pieces, and place on a greased cookie pan. Spread a little oil on the dough surface, cover and let raise. Make sure that you place them far enough apart that when they are fully raised and baked, they don't touch each other. Bake the same as the bread loves.
**Rolls: Divide into 24 dough pieces and knead with a little flour until they are nice and round. Place four across on a greased cookie sheet, until the cookie sheet is filled. Spread a little oil on the dough surface, cover and let raise until the space between the rolls are gone. Bake the same as the bread loaves.
Depending on what size loaf pan you have, this recipe will make either three (2 quart) or four (1.5 quart) loaves. I prefer the glass 1.5 quart size. Use whatever you prefer.
Both the dough and/or the baked bread freeze well. If you are freezing the baked bread or rolls, make sure they are cooled down completely before freezing. If you freeze the formed bread dough loaves (see *** below for frozen rolls), set it out on the counter covered in a greased bread pan, after spreading a thin layer of oil on the frozen dough, let it thaw and raise. Don't try to rush the thawing process by putting it near something warm. The outside will thaw and raise before the inside can thaw, and that will be problematic.
***You can also freeze the roll size dough and take it out the night before and let it thaw overnight in the fridge, and then flatten it out and fry it up for breakfast as a scone. Absolute family favorite!