As we’re in the midst of pandemic chaos right now, it’s a good time to prepare some comfort food. This is the first of my Comfort Food Chronicles, just to share with you some of my family’s favorite recipes. This particular one is adapted from the Brown Eyed Baker: www.browneyedbaker.com/white-bread-recipe/ .
Yield: 2 loaves
4 1/2 tsp instant yeast (two .25oz packets)
3/4 cup + 2/3 cups warm water, divided
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted batter, cubed, at room temperature
9-10 cups all purpose flour
3 tbsp unsalted melted butter for brushing
In the bowl of a mixer, stir to dissolve the yeast in 3/4 cup warm water and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 2/3 cups water, sugar, salt, room temp butter, and 5 cups of the flour and stir to combine.
Using a dough hook, mix on low speed and gradually add the remaining flour until the dough is soft and tacky, but not stick (you may not need to use all of the flour). Continue to knead until a soft ball of dough forms and clears the sides of the bowl, about 7-10 minutes.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and turn it over so it is completely coated. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a draft-free place to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Gently press it all over to remove any air pockets. Divide the dough in two and, working one piece at a time, gently pat it into a 9×12 inch rectangle. Roll up the rectangle, starting on the short end, into a very tight cylinder. Pinch to seal the seams and the ends, tuck the ends of the roll into the bread and place into greased 9-inch loaf pans. Cover the loaves loosely and place in a draft-free area until doubled in size, 30-45 minutes.
Position oven rack to lowest setting and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Brush the loaves with some of the melted butter. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating halfway through, until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and immediately brush with more of the melted butter. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing. The bread can be stored in an airtight bag at room temp for up to 4 days or frozen up to 1 month.