Delicious White Bread
9/16 C Water
9/16 C milk (I use skim)
3 C bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp butter
4 tsp active dry yeast
To start the delicious white bread, combine all ingredients in order in the bread maker vessel. (Make sure the paddle that mixes the dough is in the bottom). Next, set the machine to the dough setting. This is usually about one hour and 40 minutes. If you are not using a bread machine combine all ingredients in a mixer with a dough hook and mix for 5 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes and then mix again for another 4-5 minutes. Take out the dough hook, punch down the dough, smooth out the surface and put a little butter on the top of the dough to prevent it from drying out. (Less than 1/2 tsp, a little goes a long way) Cover the dough in the bowl with a towel and let rest for an hour. When you insert two fingers into the side of the dough and the indentations stay, your dough has risen enough. Or, the dough is double in size.
When the machine is finished or the dough is finished rising in the bowl, remove to a lightly floured surface and punch down. That just means that you take all the air out of the dough and form the dough into a long roll about 2″ in diameter and place in a greased loaf or bread pan. (A heavy metal pan will give the best results. I spray my pans with Pam to grease. If you are going to make a lot of bread, it is worth investing in a good quality pan like Kitchen Aid)
Let the bread rise until it is about 1″ about the top of the pan. Ideally, if you have one of those awesome little “proof” buttons on your stove, like I do on mine (so excited) you can put your bread in the proofing oven! Some ovens have a warming tray, set this to low and put your bread in the warming tray. This speeds up the process to about 15 minutes. Otherwise just leave it in a warm place in your kitchen, like the top of your stove while your oven is preheating with a clean tea towel on top to eliminate drafts.
Put the loaf into a preheated oven at 350F. Bake for 24-25 minutes. Through trial and error, I have discovered that this recipe and with the pans I use, that 24 minutes is just about right. You have to experiment with your oven and pans to get the right time. The bread should come right out of your pan.
Finally, never leave hot bread sitting in a pan. Turn out the bread onto a wire rack immediately. When you tap on the bottom of the loaf, it should sound hollow. (If it doesn’t, you can pop it back in the oven for a couple of moments.)
Let cool before cutting your delicious white bread. Let cool completely, before putting in a plastic bag. Enjoy!