Simple White Bread

Sunday has arrived and with that all of the things that need to be done around the house!
I always bake two loaves of bread every Sunday for the week ahead. The reason I bake my bread rather than picking it up at the grocery store is because of the ingredient list…why does a loaf of bread from the store have 20+ ingredients while homemade bread has a total of 9 ingredients (including the topping!)

I started baking bread from the day I got Leroy and have never looked back!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons butter
2 packages of active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
1 1/2 cups warm water
5 to 6 cups flour
Milk for brushing top of bread
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds (or whatever seed(s) you would like)

1) Place milk, sugar, salt and butter in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool to lukewarm.

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2) Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl.
– I fill my sink up with hot water and put the mixing bowl right in. If you choose to skip this step you will most likely end up with clumps of yeast that, from experience, are hard to dissolve!

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3) Add lukewarm milk mixture and 4 1/2 cups flour to yeast mixture.

4) Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer. Turn to speed 2 and mix about 1 minute (until ingredients are combined)

5) Continuing on speed 2 add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until dough clings to hook and cleans the side of the bowl, about 2 minutes.
– This takes a bit of “intuition” when adding the right amount of flour, but the more you make this dough the easier it becomes, that I can promise šŸ™‚

Here is dough that needs more flour:

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Here is dough that has enough flour:

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6) Kneed dough on speed 2 for another 2 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Dough will be slightly sticky.

7) Place dough in a greased bowl, turning over to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place away from draft for an hour, or until dough doubles in size.
– The best place I have found for dough to rise is in the oven with the light on. This is a trick I actually learned from my brother who happens to make fantastic pizza dough!

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8) Punch dough down and divide in half.

Here is the dough after its first rise:

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9) On a floured surface, roll each half into a 9×14 rectangle.

10) Starting at the short end, roll the dough tightly.

11) Pinch the ends and turn them under. Place the dough seam side down, in a loaf pan.

12) Place loaf pans in a warm place (back in the oven with just the light on) and let rise for another hour or until doubled in size.
– I don’t cover the dough this time around because I find that when you take the towel off you may deflate the dough.

13) Brush milk on the top of each loaf and sprinkle with sesame seeds (or any seed of your choice)

14) Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

15) Remove from pans immediately and let cool on wire racks.

Here is the finished product!

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Hope you enjoy!

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