Mommy Bread (that's what Julianna calls it)
Recipe makes 2 loaves
2 cups warm water
1 packet quick rise yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 tablespoon salt
5 cups all-purpose flour + 1/4 cup for kneading
Put water, sugar & yeast in a bowl and whisk together. Tip: yeast that's kept in the fridge will rise better than yeast kept at room temperature.
Wait for the yeast to proof (I usually wait about 15-20 minutes). It's ready when it has a nice thick foam on top.
At this point I literally just dump my flour, salt & butter into the bowl. I use my mixer with a dough hook to mix my dough, although if you wanted, you could mix it by hand. The dough is mixed well enough when it forms a ball. There should be very little dough on the dough hook or stuck to the bowl.
At this point I cover the bowl with a clean dish towel & set it on my front porch. It needs to be set somewhere warm to rise & with our AC on it just doesn't rise well inside. Let the dough rise for about an hour. It should double in size.
After the first rising it's time to take out your frustrations! Punch down the dough. Seriously, just punch it a few times to get the air out.
Use the extra flour & sprinkle it on the surface you're going to work on. I put it right on my counter. Knead the dough by hand and then form it into a ball. Cut the ball in half. Each half will become a loaf.
Knead each half for a few more minutes & form it into a small loaf. Place each loaf into a greased bread pan.
Cover your pans (I use the same towel from above) and place in a warm spot for a second rise (I put them on my porch again). This time let them rise about an hour & a half, depending on how big you want them to get (I like to let mine rise longer since we use our bread for sandwiches).
When you're loaves are almost risen enough, turn your oven on to 350 degrees to preheat. Bake bread for 35-40 minutes depending on your oven (mine takes exactly 40 minutes). The bread is done when it's a golden color on top.
Let the bread cool in the pan for a few minutes then turn it out onto a wire rack (or the same dish towel used during rising...this is what I do. If you use the towel, be sure to turn your loaves every few minutes so they don't get soggy in one spot).
Although I LOVE yummy warm bread, if you cut bread while it's warm it can sometimes make the rest of the loaf a little gummy (or so I've read), so I always wait until it's completely cooled before slicing into it. The bread will keep for several days in an air tight container (we use gallon size ziploc bags, that I re-use for the loaves). I end up making bread about every 3-4 days.
I plan on trying this recipe with half the all-purpose flour replaced with wheat flour (another trick I've read about). If you make this bread let me know how it turns out! And if you make any changes that make it better, let me know that too!
**The original recipe I used was from The Hungry Mouse, but I have not been able to get back on the website since the day I found the recipe. I made a few changes to the volume of the ingredients (amount of flour & salt) from the original recipe I copied down.**