An easy, basic white yeast bread recipe, with just 6 simple ingredients. Makes two loaves.
2 1/4tspactive dry yeast(one small package)
2cupsmilk or waterlukewarm (105-110F)
3Tbspvegetable oil or melted butter, slightly cooled
1Tbspfine sea salta bit less for regular fine table salt
2Tbspwhite sugaror 2 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
5-6cupsall purpose flourapproximately
Add the 1/4 cup lukewarm water to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a kneading hook or a large bowl. Sprinkle yeast over-top. Give it a quick stir, then let stand 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, the yeast should look foamy.
Add the lukewarm milk (or water), the vegetable oil (or melted butter), salt and sugar. Mix to combine. Add 2 cups of the flour and mix to combine. You dough mixture will be batter-like at this point. Add the 3rd and 4th cups of flour, one cup at a time, mixing in between adding. At this point, begin adding additional flour in small increments, adding and kneading, adding only as much flour as needed to create a moist, smooth but not sticky dough.
Remove dough to a floured work surface. Knead by hand for about 1 minute, then form the dough into a ball. Grease a bowl or large measuring cup. Drop the dough ball into the greased bowl, top side down, then flip it back over so the now oiled top is facing up again (this will help keep the dough moist). Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until it has doubled in size, about 60-90 minutes. Test that the dough has risen enough by poking it with your baby finger. If the indentation remains (doesn't fill back in), it's ready.
Grease two 8x4-inch loaf pans and set aside.
Remove the dough to a floured work surface and press down on it with the palms of your hands to deflate it. Divide the dough into 2 equal sized pieces. Take one piece of dough and shape it into a rough oval, about as long as your loaf pan. Flip the oval over the use your thumb and middle finger to pinch from the outside edges in towards the centre all the way down the dough. As you near the short ends, work them into the pinching as well (see Step by Step photos above the recipe card to see how this looks if it isn't clear). Flip the dough back over and then place into prepared loaf pan. Repeat with the other piece of dough.
Cover the loaf pans with a clean tea towel and let rise at room temperature until doubled again, about 30-45 minutes. Again, check the dough by poking it. If the indentation remains, it's ready to bake.
Preheat oven to 375F (350F for glass pans). Not convection/fan-assisted.
Bake loaves on the centre rack of the preheated 375F oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until the loaf tests at least 190F when tested with a thermometer. If you don't have a thermometer, the loaf should be golden, will have pulled away from the sides of the pan and if you stick a skewer in the side and into the centre, it should come out clean and dry.
Remove loaves from the oven and immediately remove from the pans and onto a cooling rack to cool to at least just warm. Avoid cutting into a hot loaf, as it can cause the loaf to get gummy inside. I sometimes like to dust the top of the baked loaves lightly with flour, for a rustic loaf. You can also rub with butter, for a nice soft crust.
Nutritional information based on using 2% milk and vegetable oil.Be sure to read the notes and have a look at the step-by-step photos above the recipe card, for more tips on making this bread.Store your baked bread at room temperature, wrapping the cut end with plastic wrap. I like to store it on a cutting board, wrapped, but cut side down, to keep the plastic secure against the cut end, to keep the moisture in the bread.Baked and cooled bread can be tightly wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months, though it will be best if used within the first month after freezing.