Basic White Bread
A very basic white bread recipe that produces a very satisfying outcome. Great for sandwiches, your morning toast or shaped into buns to have with any meal.
Make this in bread pans or freeform on a baking sheet. This recipe is developed using grams as the measurements so a digital scale is really recommended. I have converted to cups for those who prefer to work that way. This isn’t as accurate for baking, but there is some flexibility in the flour measurements to go ahead and get started whatever way you prefer.
Before you start, take a look at my post on Basic Breadmaking for some additional information that may help you. Basic white bread is just the starting point for your bread journey. Please leave a comment and enjoy the bake!
- 1120g (9 cups) All purpose flour/bread flour
- 50g/1.8oz Fresh yeast or 17g (4.5 tsps) active dried yeast (2 of the little packets)
- 730ml (3 cups) Warm water or half water/half milk (any kind)
- 65g (1/3cup) Sugar
- 45g (3 tbsps) Butter
- 20g (3 1/4 tsps) Salt
Before you get started - I've put measurements in metric weights and where I can, in cups. I strongly recommend that for baking, you use weight measurements as they are most accurate and that you invest in an inexpensive digital scale. Conversions to cups is approximate only.
This is a very simple bread dough, you can make by hand or with a mixer. This recipe makes two quite large loaves of bread. You can easily halve the amounts for a single loaf or buns. A half recipe makes around 20 50g (2oz) buns (dinner roll sized) or one large loaf.
This bread bakes for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on whether loaves or buns) at 395F or 200C - if you have convection, lower the temp by 25F/15C
To make the dough:
In the bottom of large mixing bowl, combine the water or milk or mixture of
both and the sugar. Add the yeast stirring gently. Now, add the flour and salt. Avoid addinig salt directly onto the yeast.
Whether you are mixing by hand or by machine, use a strong wooden spoon and
stir for a minute or so, just until it comes together and then let it sit for five to ten minutes.
If using a mixer, put in the dough hook and mix on low for two more minutes. By hand, do a similar mix with your spoon. If the dough seems very wet, add more flour a spoonful at a time. There should be no wet dough sticking to the sides of the bowl.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a floured towel and let proof in draft-free place until doubled in size - this will take 45-60 minutes. Cover the bowl with a floured tea towel, plastic wrap or a large inverted bowl. You can sit this near a radiator, in an oven that has only the light on - no heat.
To form loaves:
Lightly coat two standard loaf pans with a nonstick spray and set aside. Or, if you do not have loaf pans, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Gently deflate the dough and turn out onto your work top/counter onto a floured counter and divide and shape into two loaves or buns and set into pans for the second proof. Once again, cover and set in a warm place to proof.
This will take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes depending on how warm or cool your room it. Now is the time to turn on the oven if you haven't already to 395 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Dough is ready to bake when you gently press your finger into it and it bounces back.
Before putting in the oven, brush the loaves/buns with an egg wash - you can use either a whole egg with a little water, I prefer just to use egg whites. This is also the time you can sprinkle sesame or other seeds.
Slashing loaves is not mandatory, but helps control the rise during baking and stops weirdly-shaped bread. Use a sharp razor blade (or actual lame if you have it) or a very sharp chef knife.
Bake for 20-30 minutes - the best way to check to see if the bread if properly cooked is to take it's temperature with a digital thermometer. Baked bread is at a minimum of 190F/88C.
Immediately remove from the pan and set on a wire cooling rack.
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