The PERFECT bread recipe for the beginning baker! Think Wonder Bread!
First, I want to mention I'm not talented enough to be able to claim I created this recipe. I found it on another forum and I really don't know who the original author is, but whoever it is, created a WINNER! This bread has a soft crust and interior (somewhat like store bought white but much tastier with a nicer texture) so for those of you who only want to tackle a crusty bread, this one is not for you. The crust also does not get very dark, but you could probably mist it with a bit of water if you want it darker.
But, if you're even a little like me in that you desperately want to be successful in making ANY kind of bread, you will LOVE this recipe! After I struggle for days to get a more complicated recipe to work for me, this one is a RELIEF to work on. I have never had a failure, even when I threw it together in a hurry. And EVERYONE here loves it! My grandson, who never asks for seconds of anything, asked me for a second slice of this tasty bread. My husband, who is difficult to please to say the least, is very happy when I use it to make his sandwiches to take with him to work in the morning. He's actually so proud that I can make it that he shares his sandwiches from time to time so his associates can sample it.
This is the recipe:
Combine in the slightly preheated bowl from your stand mixer (you can also do this entirely by hand, but it's a lot more work):
2 cups of 110-112 degree water
1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon instant yeast (a total of 4 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon sugar
Cover and let rise in a warm place for 5 minutes (to create warm place, I put my oven on 350 degrees for about 10 seconds and shut it off)
Add to the yeast mixture:
¼ cup oil
5 cups bread flour (I find the best way to measure flour for this recipe is to scoop it, as recommended by the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. I have tried weighing it--which really should work--and spooning into the measuring cup, as recommended by the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion, but with both methods the dough was too slack and I had to add flour.)
2 teaspoons salt
Knead until smooth and elastic. I use the dough hook to combine it for a couple of minutes (while scraping down the sides to help combine the ingredients) and knead for at least an additional 5 minutes on speed 2.
Place the dough (sometimes you have to aid it with a scraper to release it from the bottom of the mixer bowl as it doesn't seem to hold the ball shape on the hook each and every time) in a greased bowl, turn it, and cover it with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with a nonstick coating, such as Pam.
Cover and let rise in a warm place for 20-25 minutes. I use the minimum time for both the first and second rise. Punch the dough down and divide it into two equal portions. Then roll each piece into two rectangles that each measure approximately 10" by 14". Starting from the long end, roll each rectangle up in jelly roll fashion and tuck in the ends slightly. Pinch the seam together and place each loaf with the seam to the bottom on a greased 12" by 16" (or similar size) cookie sheet or shallow baking pan. I find the two loaves work fine on one pan. Diagonally slash each loaf about 3 times with a sharp, floured knife.
Lightly spray the loaves with nonstick spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let the loaves rise for 20-25 minutes in a warm place. Since I will have to preheat my oven while these loaves are rising, I cannot let the loaves rise in there and I turn on my toaster oven and leave it on for several minutes. After I shut if off, I check to see how hot the top has become and layer the appropriate amount of kitchen towels on top of it so that the bottom of the cookie sheet I will be placing on it doesn't get too hot. I then place the loaves on top of the towels on the toaster oven, making sure they are situated to the back (under the cabinets), where I believe the most heat would be trapped. Your situation may be different so I am only offering this as a suggestion.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the bread for 20-25 minutes. I use the maximum time as this bread does not get a very dark crust. Let the bread cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing--it will still be warm.
ENJOY! (Bread is pictured below)