Bread, What’s better: Easy or Delicious?

Why not both?!

When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with soft, white Wonder bread. I guess most kids are really. I used to like to squish it flat, tear it apart, and eat it plain. Now that I’m an adult, I can’t help but wonder why kids love that stuff so much. Sure, it’s soft and fluffy, but it’s really flavorless. I suppose, though, when presented with the choice of soft, flavorless white bread, and tough, cardboard-like wheat bread…well, it makes a little more sense that way.

As an adult, I rarely eat white bread. When I do, I prefer homemade bread, like dinner rolls, because it has so much more to offer. But really, how often do you really want to devote the time and energy into making fresh, homemade bread just so you get to have white bread?

Well, good news! This is a delicious, soft, fast, and easy white bread recipe! Excluding the hour and half or so of rise time, this recipe only takes about 15 minutes to mix and shape, and another 40 minutes in the oven!

You only need a few ingredients for this, including instant (active dry) yeast, unsalted butter, honey or agave nectar (I used the agave and loved it, but I hate honey), cool water, all-purpose flour, salt and milk.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer with the dough hook attached, combine the flour, salt, and yeast; mix on low until combined.

In a small saucepan, or in a small bowl in the microwave, heat the milk until it is very warm, but not quite hot. If using the stovetop, transfer the warm milk to a small bowl. Add the butter and stir to melt, then add the water and honey.

Slowly add the milk mixture to the flour mixture while mixing slowly. Continue mixing until the dough comes together. If mixing by hand, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If using, a mixer, continue mixing at medium high speed for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and barely sticks to the bottom of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise until double, about 45 minutes to and hour.

While the dough is doubling, cut two strips of parchment to line the loaf pan with. One will fit across it width wise and come up the sides, while the other lines it lengthwise and comes up the ends. This will make it easier to remove the bread from the pan while it’s still hot, and it is reusable. I continue to use my liners until they become too brittle.

Once the dough is doubled, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and flatten it into a square-ish shape, about nine inches long.

Tightly roll the dough into a loaf shape, tucking the ends under as needed to keep it at around nine inches long. Place the dough in the lined loaf pan, cover with a clean, dry towel and allow to double, about 40 minutes.

Once doubled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place another, empty loaf pan on the bottom rack of the oven.

Once the oven is preheated, quickly, but carefully, pour 2 cups of boiling water into the extra loaf pan. Place the risen dough on the top rack and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.

The interior of the bread should be right around 195 degrees,

Use the parchment liner to gently lift the bread from the pan. Remove the parchment from the bread, place the hot bread on a wire cooling rack, and allow to cool completely.

This bread only lasts about a day in my house. Not because it doesn’t stay fresh, but because it gets eaten so fast, so I have to be honest, I have no idea how long this stays good! It just doesn’t stick around long enough!

We slice it thick, too, so that’s part of the problem. Maybe if we had smaller, thinner slices, it’d go a little farther, but where’s the fun in that?

This is super tasty plain or slathered with butter, but it’s also excellent for sandwiches, and makes unbelievable cinnamon toast!

Classic White Bread
Make 1 loaf

Ingredients

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup very warm milk
1/3 cup cool water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
2 teaspoons instant yeast

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer with the dough hook attached, combine the flour, and yeast; mix on low until combined.

In a small saucepan, or in a small bowl in the microwave, heat the milk until it is very warm, but not quite hot. If using the stovetop, transfer the warm milk to a small bowl. Add the butter and stir to melt, then add the water and honey.

Slowly add the milk mixture to the flour mixture while mixing slowly. Continue mixing until the dough comes together. If mixing by hand, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If using, a mixer, continue mixing at medium high speed for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and barely sticks to the bottom of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise until double, about 45 minutes to and hour.

Once the dough is doubled, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and flatten it into a square-ish shape, about nine inches long. Tightly roll the dough into a loaf shape, tucking the ends under as needed to keep it at around nine inches long. Place the dough in the lined loaf pan, cover with a clean, dry towel and allow to double, about 40 minutes.

Once doubled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place another, empty loaf pan on the bottom rack of the oven. When the oven is preheated, quickly, but carefully, pour 2 cups of boiling water into the extra loaf pan. Place the risen dough on the top rack and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the interior measures 195 degrees.

Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely before serving.

 

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Comments

  1. Tree says

    Trying this recipe this morning, and I noticed that my bread never seems to rise as much as what is pictured (for most recipes, not just this one). Any advice?

  2. Sugarbear says

    @Tree – there could be several reasons that your rise isn't as good as you're hoping for.

    The first thing you should look to is your yeast. Active dry needs to be proofed first. Be careful not to add water over 110 F, that would kill growth. Instant yeast doesn't need proofing and that is what I use in all my recipes. If your using packets of yeast, check the expiration date.

    Second, if you're getting some rise, perhaps your not waiting long enough. The dough should be about 75-78F F after mixing. Try pre-heating your oven to 200 F and holding it there for 10 minutes. Turn the oven off and proof the dough in the warm oven.

    Third, humidity effects dough very much. Soft doughs rise better than dry doughs. The dough should be tacky after the kneading.

    I hope this helps! Please let me know if you need anything else.

    • says

      I think you could probably sub wheat flour, but I’ve never done it, so I’m not 100% sure how it will turn out. If you want to experiment a little before making the full jump, you could try adding half wheat flour, half all-purpose.

      I think it will be pretty good…maybe a little dry. If this recipe used bread flour, I’d say no, but since it’s all-purpose, it might be great!

  3. says

    I love making homemade bread, and I have done so since I got married a year ago, but my bread never seems to get as high as I’d like. I’m going to try this recipe next time (I have bread baking right now!) and follow all your directions and advice and see if it does the trick. :) Thank you!

  4. says

    I noticed in the photo with all your ingredients, there is a dish with white granules of some kind. Is there supposed to be salt in this recipe? It’s not listed in the ingredients.

  5. says

    Yum! So I started making this then I realised I was out of flout! So I subbed the last 3/4 C of flour with oat flour, s looks like ill be having honey oat bread, which turns out you have a recipe of lol. I’m in the first rise, hope it turns out well! :)

  6. Brenna says

    Hey just thought you should know that your recipe says to add salt, but its not listed with ingredients. I didn’t even think of it till I made the bread and it tasted weird… I added it the next time and it was fine. Might want to add it to ingredient list for anyone else who hasn’t made bread before!! Otherwise this is a great recipe!!

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