• Prep Time:
  • Cooking Time:
  • Serves: 1 Loaf

Basic White Bread

  • Recipe Submitted by on

Category: Breads

 Ingredients List

  • 1 pk Yeast; active, dry
  • 1/4 c Water; warm (110-115 degs)
  • 2 ts Sugar
  • 1 c Milk
  • 3 ts Salt
  • 3 tb Butter
  • 3 3/4 c Flour; All-purpose


1 md Egg White; beaten slightly
-in 1 tbspn warm water.

James Beard's Basic White Bread Makes 1 large loaf or 2 small loaves *
Making basic white bread dough * In a small bowl mix the yeast and the 1/4
cup warm water; add the sugar, stir well, and set aside until proofed. It
is proofed when fermentation is apparent: the mixture will swell and small
bubbles appear on the surface. (If it doesn't proof at all, it means the
yeast is not fresh.) In a small saucepan heat the milk with the salt and
stir in the butter until it melts. Set aside to cool until it is no warmer
than the yeast mixture. Put 2 cups of the flour in a large mixing bowl and
stir in the milk mixture. Beat well with a wooden spatula, add the yeast
mixture, and continue beating the dough until it is smooth, adding an
additional cup of flour to make a firm dough. Turn the dough out onto a
floured work surface and begin the kneading process, which evenly
distributes the fermenting yeast cells through the dough. * Kneading
Instructions * There are several kneading methods, but the basic one is to
flour the dough and your hand lightly, then push the heel of your hand down
into the dough and away from you. Fold the dough over, give it a quarter
turn, and push down again. Repeat pushing, folding and turning until the
motion becomes rhythmic. Knead for about 10 minutes, kneading in additional
flour as necessary, until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky, and
blisters form on the surface. To test whether the dough has been kneaded
enough make an indention in it with your fingers; it should spring back. If
blisters form on the surface of the dough and break, this is another sign
that the kneading is sufficient. * Note: If you have a heavy-duty electric
mixer with a dough-hook attachment, knead the dough with the hook and
finish it off on the board. Butter a large bowl, transfer the dough to it,
and turn the bowl until the dough is well coated with butter on all sides.
Cover the dough with a dish towel and let it rise in a warm, draft-free
place for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until it is doubled in bulk. A good, warm,
draft-free place is inside your room temperature oven. To test further if
the dough has risen properly, make an indentation in it with two fingers:
if the dough does not spring back, then it is ready. * Baking Preparations
* Butter a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan, or two pans that are about 8x4x2 inches.
Punch the dough down with your fist to deflate it; transfer it to a floured
board and knead it well for about 3 minutes. Pat it into a smooth round or
oval shape and let it rest for 4 to 5 minutes. Then form into 1 large or
two small loaves, by shaping the dough into an oval the length of your
bread pan, then gently stretching, rounding, and plumping it in the palms
of your hands, tucking the edges underneath and pinching them together.
Lift carefully; drop the dough into the pan or pans and smooth out. Cover
the dough with a towel and let it rise again in a warm draft-free place for
about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until it is double in bulk. Preheat the oven to
400dF. Brush the egg wash over the top of the dough. Bake in the center of
the oven for 20 minutes; reduce the heat to 350dF and bake for 20 to 25
minutes longer, until the crust is well browned and the bread sounds hollow
when removed from the pan and tapped on the bottom with the knuckles. If
you like a crusty loaf, remove it from the pan about 5 to 10 minutes before
the end of the baking time and let it finish baking on the oven rack. It
will get brown and crusty all over. Remove the bread from the oven and let
it cool on a rack before slicing. The bread may be stored in a plastic bag
in the refrigerator after it has cooled. If you seal it in a bag before it
is completely cooled, the crust will become soft. Stored bread will keep
about 1 week. It also freezes well if wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and
sealed in a plastic bag and can be kept for up to 3 months.

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