I am slowly overcoming my fear of yeast but if something were to go wrong I would just as quickly retreat back into my shell. Thankfully this bread turned out beautifully. Sometimes the most simple foods can taste the best. Every now and then I crave pasta with only butter and salt. The same thing applies to bread cravings. Just a nice, soft warm bread smeared with sweet cream butter and sprinkled with sea salt. So simple yet so fulfilling. Maybe we can learn something about life from food. :)
Julia Child's White Bread
( printer friendly recipe )
* I divided this in half to make one loaf *
- 2 1/2 cups water (105-115 F)
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 7 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/4-1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
Pour 1/2 cup of the water into a bowl and mix with yeast and sugar til foamy. Let it sit for 5 minutes until creamy. Put the yeast mixture, rest of the water and 3 1/2 cups of the flour into the mixer with the dough hook. Mix slowly until blended then add the rest of the flour.
Increase speed and scrape down the sides til the dough comes together. (If it doesn't add a tbsp of flour at a time til it does.) Add salt and mix at medium speed for 10 minutes (or do half in mixer and half kneading) til dough is smooth and elastic.
Back in mixer add butter 1 tbsp at a time (dough may come apart, but mixing will pull it back together). Turn dough out on lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball then place in a large buttered or oiled bowl. Turn dough so it is completely coated in the fat, then cover in plastic for 45 minutes to an hour, til it has doubled in size at room temperature.
Butter 2 loaf pans. Deflate the dough, cut in half and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle.
With the short end facing you, fold the dough into thirds like a sheet of paper to go into an envelope, creating a roll. Pinch the seam closed, and pinch the ends enough so it will fit in the loaf pan. Drop in the loaf pan seem side down, and repeat.
Cover the loaves with buttered plastic wrap and allow to rise again in a warm place (80°F) for 45 minutes, until they double in size.
Preheat the oven to 375°F and put the rack in the center of the oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes til they are honey brown.
Immediately turn out of pans onto a rack to cool.