Best Ever White Bread
3 hrs 55 mins
Servings: 2 Loaves
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp lard or shortening
- 1 pkg. active dry yeast 2 1/4 tsp or 7 grams)
- 1/4 cup warm water Between 110°F - 115°F
- 6 - 61/2 cups sifted all purpose flour sifted before measuring the cups. (Keep 1 cup of flour out of the main batch)
In a small saucepan, gently heat the whole milk, sugar, salt, and lard/shortening until melted or the temperature reaches 180°F.
In a bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and stir to dissolve. Let the yeast "activate". Once you see bubbles forming, the yeast is ready to use.
Add the yeast to the milk mixture. In a separate bowl, add 3 cups of sifted all purpose flour and add the wet ingredients. Beat with a spoon until the batter is smooth and sheets off the spoon.
Add enough of the remaining flour, a little bit at a time. First, mix it in with the spoon, and then with your hands. The dough should start coming off the sides of the bowl.
Turn the dough on to a lightly floured surface. Cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. This should take about 8 - 10 minutes. You know when the dough is ready to proof, when you make a gluten windowpane test and it does not break when you lightly tap it.
If the dough tears before you've fully extended your fingers, the gluten isn't quite ready yet. Knead the dough for another two minutes and try the windowpane test again.
Once the dough is ready to use, round it up into a ball, and place it upside down on to a lightly greased bowl, to lightly grease the top and then flip it back over and place in the center of the bowl.
Cover the dough and place it in a warm place to let it rise until it has doubled in size. This should take about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
When the dough has doubled in size, punch in the middle, and deflate the dough. Then, let it rest for another 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size again.
Once it has doubled in size, round back into a ball and divide the dough into two equal parts. With a rolling pin, flattened the dough into a rectangle the size of the loaf pan you will be using. Flip the dough over so that the smooth side of the dough is upside down.
Begin to roll the dough up into a cylinder. Make sure to keep it tight and even on the sides. Once it has been all rolled up, pinch the seams together. Take the end pieces of the dough, pull them inwards toward the center of the seams, and pinch the seams shut.
Place the bread dough with the seams facing down into a lightly greased loaf pan. Cover the loaf pan with a plastic wrap that has been lightly greased and let it rest for another 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size again.
When the dough has doubled in size, place in the oven and bake at 400°F for 35 minutes, or until deep and golden brown in color. When the bread has cooked, take them out of the pan and place a digital thermometer and take its temperature. The bread should have an internal temperature of 190°F - 205°F.
Place the bread on wire racks and allow to cool completely.