White Bread Recipe
Makes two loaves. Total time about 3–4 hours.
- 3 cups (700 g) warm water
- 2 packages (4½ tsp) yeast
- ¾ cup honey (255 g), or 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ cup (50 g) oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 8 cups flour (approximately)
- Sprinkle the yeast over water. Let it sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast. It should get a little foam on top.
- Mix in honey, oil, salt, and 3 cups flour.
- Add flour 1 cup at a time while mixing to make a stiff dough.
- Knead 8–10 minutes, until it's smooth and elastic, and it's not very sticky.
- Rise in a covered, greased bowl until doubled in size. Set it somewhere that's a cozy temperature, not drafty or cold. This usually takes about an hour.
- Punch down, divide into two greased loaf pans, cover them, and rise again.
- Bake at 350 °F for about 50 minutes. It's done when the is golden brown, and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap on it. If you have a temperature probe, check for an internal temperature of 180 °F.
- While it's still hot, take it out of the bread pan. Let it cool a little bit on a wire rack before cutting.
- If there's any leftover bread, let it cool completely, then wrap it in foil and store it on the counter.
Bread flour has more gluten (the protein that makes bread dough stretchy) but all purpose flour works just fine too. Using the honey gives it a better flavor that sugar does.
While it's rising, I usually cover the bread with Saran wrap (to keep the moisture in) and a towel over that (to keep the warmth in). Some people use a damp towel instead — if you do, make sure your bowl is big enough that the towel won't stick to the bread after it rises.
Instead of letting it rise twice in a row, you can let it rise once and put it in the pans, cover it with plastic wrap and then put it in the fridge. It will rise slowly overnight, and you can leave it in the fridge for a few days. Before baking, leave it on the counter for 30 minutes or so, until it doesn't feel cold anymore.
If your bread has an uneven top like the picture below, or one side looks "blown out", that usually means it wasn't done rising in the pan before you baked it.