Fabulously Easy White Bread

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READY IN: 3hrs 30mins
SERVES: 10-12
YIELD: 2 Loaves
UNITS: US

INGREDIENTS

Nutrition
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DIRECTIONS

  • Mix shortening, salt, and sugar in a large bowl for about 2 minutes.
  • Do not worry if the shortening does not completely melt, but make a good attempt.
  • Add the hot milk and water.
  • Let cool to lukewarm.
  • In a small bowl, mix yeast with 1/4 cup water.
  • Let stand 5 minutes.
  • Add 3 cups flour and yeast all at once and mix until well blended.
  • Add 2 more cups of flour, one cup at a time, mixing until blended well.
  • Pour dough onto lightly floured board.
  • (It will not actually"pour," so scrape out remnants with a spatula or potlicker.) Knead for two minutes with floured hands.
  • Let rest for ten minutes.
  • Dough will be very sticky.
  • Adding enough of the remaining flour to keep the dough from sticking, knead the dough until smooth, elastic, and pliable (about 8-10 minutes.) Place the dough in a large, greased bowl, turning once to grease.
  • Cover and allow to rise in a warm spot for about an hour or until doubled in bulk.
  • Punch dough down and let rise to previous size and perhaps a little bigger (about 30-45 minutes.) Split dough into two halves.
  • Place each half in a loaf pan and cover.
  • Allow to rise until doubled in bulk (anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours) Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cover in a cloth.
  • Change oven heat to 375 and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Remove pan from oven and immediately remove from pan.
  • Knock lightly on the bottom of the loaf.
  • If a hollow sound is made, bread is done.
  • If not, return to the pan and bake 5-15 minutes.
  • Allow to cool for 30 minutes before slicing.
  • Notes for great crusts: For a hard, crisp crust, brush the top with cold water three or four times while baking.
  • For a soft crust, brush with cold milk or melted butter before baking.
  • For a shiny crust, brush a mixture of egg yolk and one tbsp milk on bread before baking.
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