When I first starting making bread, I thought putting shortening on my hands would help in kneading. I was wrong! I wound up kneading the bread in the air. So I read everything about bread making I could, and after using a lot of recipes, I made bread that won the blue ribbon in the State Fair. Although I have written the recipe to use dry yeast, I use compressed yeast, if I can find it. The temperature for compressed yeast is 85 degrees. I also use this basic white bread to make cinnamon-raisin, herb, and sun-dried tomato basil.
This recipe was not intended for use in a bread machine, as it makes 2 loaves. I do sift the flour before measuring, which makes it light.
Since the excitement of the Blue Ribbon Recipes on the Zaar, a lot of people have asked me questions. I am trying to answer them by tweaking my recipe, and adding comments here at the top. Someone asked if they had to use "shortening". I don't think there are too many musts... Today, I made one of the two loaves with about 1/2 cup of Calamata Olives (pitted and cut into small pieces), and about 3 ounces of a shredded three cheese blend (Parmesan, Asiago, & Romano), it was awesome. My 8 year old granddaughter could not get enough! Next time, I will try to use olive oil with this combination.