Must-Have Recipe: Grandma’s White Bread

GrandmasWhiteN-270x270Grandma’s White Bread
Learning how to bake Grandma’s white bread will give you a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, even though the recipe is quite simple.You only need five ingredients to find baking bliss and master a delicious, wholesome recipe. Just five! Can you imagine looking at the label on a loaf of store-bought bread and seeing just five ingredients listed? Yet with this bread, which we also call “the old standard,” simplicity is the key to its versatility and wide appeal.

For the optimum flavor, always try to purchase the finest quality ingredients possible, starting with the right flour. High-protein unbleached bread flour is the best choice, as the lack of protein in all-purpose flour will result in a short, squatty loaf.

This recipe will make one large loaf using the approximate 9 x 5 x 3 inch pan, or two smaller loaves, using the approximate 8 x 4 x 2.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups of warm water (approximately 100 degrees)
  • 2 packages or one and 3/4 tablespoons of active dry yeast
  • 4 cups of unbleached flour (approximately a pound)
  • ¼ cup of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of salt

First, test the yeast to make sure it is still active. To do this, place the yeast in a large mixing bowl, and the required warm water amount until the yeast dissolves. Add the honey to the mixture and within a few minutes small bubbles will appear as the yeast ferments. Place the salt into a large mixing bowl and then slowly add the flour.

HAND KNEADING: Stir the mixture with your hand or a wooden spoon until the ingredients are thoroughly blended and tend to form a ball that breaks away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough feels sticky, then add more flour. If the dough feels stiff and doesn’t stick at all, then add a teaspoon of water at a time until the dough feels good. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured flat surface. Begin the kneading the dough, using a process of pushing, folding and turning, until the dough has a smooth, satiny elastic texture. Again, add more flour if the dough feels very sticky. Expect to knead for approximately 8-10 minutes.

MIXER KNEADING: Start with mixer on low for one minute and then increase the speed to the medium setting for approximately 4-6 minutes. With your bare hand, feel the dough; add a tablespoon of flour if it is sticky. If the dough feels tough and not sticky at all, mix a couple of minutes longer.

After kneading, place the dough back in the mixer bowl, cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for approximately 1½ hours or until the dough doubles in bulk. Punch the dough down with your fist. Place on a flat floured surface, shape as desired.

Place the dough in thoroughly sprayed pans and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Once the dough has risen slightly above the pans, place them in the middle of the oven for 30-35 minutes. Check to see if the loaf has baked long enough by tapping the bottom of the loaf. It should be somewhat firm and sound hollow.

Place on a wire rack and cool for a couple of hours before slicing – if you can stand the wait!

Grandma’s White Bread Recipe is an excerpt from “House of Bread Made Easy,” by House of Bread Bakery Cafe founder Sheila McCann. The book is a collection of recipes and stories, and features tips on technique and ingredients.

Contact Sheila to get your own copy of the Recipe Book at http://houseofbread.com/contact/