Classic White Bread

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I love making bread.  There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a beautiful loaf of freshly baked bread on your counter.  And the smell in your house is just unreal.  I am definitely a fan of quick recipes at times, like my english muffin bread, but when I have more time on the weekends I like to bake bread.  It takes a lot of waiting time, but the end result is so worth it. TheBetterHalf is a huge fan of plain ol’ white bread, so I decided to bake him some last weekend.  Just a classic white sandwich loaf.  This recipe fit the bill perfectly!  It is light and fluffy, but still hearty enough to withstand a giant sandwich. I garnished one with sesame seeds and kept one plain.  If you have some extra time on your hands this weekend, I would definitely recommend making this gorgeous loaf of classic white bread.  It would make a great mother’s day gift!
Happy mother’s day, Mom!

dough

Kneading the dough in the stand mixer.  See how smooth it looks after the kneading is finished?

dough

Risen dough!

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Shape the dough into loaves and put into greased pans.

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If desired, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

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Homemade bread! If you brushed with egg wash, you might have to run a butter knife around the bread to get it out of the pan. The egg wash kind of sticks.

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sliced

So light and fluffy!

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In action

In action

Classic White Bread (recipe from Brown Eyed Baker)
Yield two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaves

Ingredients
4 1/4 cups (19 ounces) unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 large egg, slightly beaten, at room temperature
1/4 cup (2 ounces) butter, at room temperature (can also use vegetable oil)
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature

Optional Ingredients
1 egg, whisked with 1 teaspoon water until frothy, for egg wash
Sesame seeds for garnish

Directions
Stir the flour, salt, sugar and yeast together in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl. Add the egg, butter, and milk and mix until the dough forms a ball. You can do this by hand or on low speed of your mixer with the paddle attachment. If the dough seems very stiff, add in a bit more buttermilk (or water if you are out of buttermilk, like I was!).

Attach the dough hook to your mixer, and knead dough on medium speed for 6 to 8 minutes. You can also do this by hand on a lightly floured counter (for tips on kneading, see this link: http://www.redstaryeast.com/lessons-yeast-baking/baking-steps-guide/kneading) The dough should be soft and smooth, but not too sticky. Add some flour if the dough seems too sticky.

Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer your dough ball to the bowl. Roll to coat the dough with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at warm room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the dough doubles in size.

Lightly oil two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans.

After the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter and divide it in half. I like to weigh each half to ensure that they are even. Shape each half into a loaf. Do this by patting the dough into a rectangle shape. Tightly roll the dough, and then tuck the ends under to seal. Place the loaves into the prepared pans, and cover with plastic wrap sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Let it rise at warm room temperature, about 60 to 90 minutes, until it almost doubles in size.

Preheat the oven to F350°F. If desired, gently brush the risen loaves with egg wash, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. The egg wash gives it a shiny, golden finish.

Bake the loaves for 30 – 40 minutes, until golden brown with an internal temperature of about 190°F. Remove the loaves immediately from the pans and cool on a wire rack.

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