I make bread almost every week, and have made this particular bread recipe longer than I care to admit. It is soft, light, airy, and tastes wonderful. This recipe never fails me. This recipe can also be made into dinner rolls, but adjust the temperture for rolls to 325 and bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Note: If you do not have powdered milk, you can heat 2 cups of milk, or 1 cup milk and 1 cup water; whichever you prefer, in a small saucepan to 120 degrees on a candy thermometer and omit the 2 cups of water.
- Grease a large mixing bowl and set aside. In another large mixing bowl, add the yeast, salt, sugar, oil, and hot water. With a mixer, mix all those ingredients for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of flour and the powdered milk. Mix for another 2 minutes. With a wooden spoon, stir in 3 cups of bread flour. Remove the dough from the bowl out onto a lightly floured counter top or table.
- Begin to knead the dough. You may need to sprinkle a little flour on your dough or counter top a couple of times as you knead until it doesn’t stick to your surface any more. Knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Take dough & place in the greased bowl; flip the dough over so greased side is up. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap; don’t tighten it down, just lay it over the bowl loosely….or you can use a small tea towel too. But the plastic helps it from drying out too much.
- Let it rise until double in a warm place -- a sunny window or on a warm clothes dryer that is running. It can rise as quickly as 45 minutes in those warm places. Otherwise, it can take up to 1 hour to 1 ½ hours depending on the temperature in your house.
- Lightly grease 2 bread loaf pans with shortening. Divide dough in half & shape into a bread loaf pans. Cover with kitchen towel and let rise until doubled.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 30-40 minute (everyone's oven temperature varies, so keep that in mind) Loaves should be golden brown on top. Remove from oven. Remove loaves from pans onto a wire rack.
- Take a wet paper towel, and it can be really good and wet, and wipe off the tops of the baked loaves of bread. This does not make your bread soggy. It keeps the bread crust soft! But, you can skip this step if you want.
- And….if you insist on cutting a slice of bread before it is cool, use a electric knife or a large serrated bread knife so the loaf don’t get squashed down when you are cutting it. Spread some butter on your slice of bread and enjoy!