This is not only a very frugal bread, but it tastes amazing and is a family favorite. We make several loaves a week. Perfect flavor, perfect crumb and perfect recipe!
cups warm water
Tbs. dry active yeast
cups all purpose flour
Tbs. butter, softened (we've used margarine, but you will have better results with pure butter)
Take the time to proof your yeast first. In a bowl, pour the water and the sugar. Mix until dissolved. Add the yeast. Again, mix until dissolved. Set it aside for 10 minutes. When you come back it should have bubbles formed all over the top of it. This is how you know it’s “alive” and ready to go.
Next, throw in the flour and the salt. Then, slice up the butter into smaller pieces and add it. This just makes it easier for it to blend when you’re mixing.
Now comes the fun part. Knead the ingredients together for about 10 minutes by hand, about 5 minutes with a mixer. You can usually tell it’s done when it feels slightly elastic, smooth and isn’t sticking to anything.
Knead the dough into a ball and place it in a clean bowl. Cover it with some plastic wrap that you have sprayed with cooking spray or rubbed with some oil. Set the bowl in a warm place. I actually just cover mine with two kitchen towels and put it on the counter in the back out of the way. Allow it to rise for one hour.
After an hour uncover the dough. It should be pretty big and poofy at this point. Take your hand and punch into it once or twice to get it to push all the air out of it.
Knead it again (you don’t have to take it out of the bowl, I do it right in the bowl) for about a minute or so, forming it into a ball.
Sprinkle flour onto your table or other wooden work surface.
Put the ball in the middle of the work surface.
Cut the ball into two equal pieces using a bencher, or I just use a kitchen knife.
Taking one half of the dough, knead it a little folding it over itself over and over. Create a sort of ovalish shape with it and then place it into your lightly greased loaf dish.
Now repeat everything with the second wedge of dough.
Put both pans back where you had the bowl for the first rise, but leave them uncovered. For one hour.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. When your dough has risen the second time and doubled in size, it’s time to put them in the oven.
Just put ‘em in there for 35-40 minutes. I’m pretty faithful with my 35 minute timing, but it could take more in your neck of the woods.
When they’re done, pull ‘em out of the oven and allow them to sit in the pans for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes, using a potholder or towel, turn the bread out onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool the rest of the way. Since you’re aiming for sandwich bread, it is better not to cut them until they are completely cooled, otherwise they get a little crumbly.
Once cooled, trim into slices and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (if it lasts that long!)