I love to bake and with a big family we eat a lot of bread. I started making our bread a number of years ago and have tried a few recipes and methods and have settled on this one. For me baking loaves of bread is super cheap, easy and very enjoyable. I promise it’s easier than you think. Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh baked bread?!?!? This just might be your gateway to homemade pizza & cinnamon rolls. 😉
If you are a regular reader you know I am an Aldi shopper. They sell yeast packets which make this super easy. I buy my bread flour in bulk at Sam’s club but it’s also sold at Walmart in large bags. (I have found the cheapest price is at Sam’s though) Aldi also carries sugar, salt and shortening. You can find bread pans at your local thrift store or buy them new at your favorite store. I find the thrift stores have nicer pans and a good selection of size. If you are really ambitious you can order larger bread pans & bread bags online. I have 4 larger pans myself but don’t order bags anymore. (They were great, I’m just too cheap)
Traditional White Bread
What you need:
Bread Flour (If you are curious as to why bread flour here you go: Baking 101)
Lard/Crisco/Shortening (you may substitute with butter or vegetable oil)
#2 9×5 pans
clear wrap or a light cloth
I like to start by measuring out all of my ingredients. I use small custard cups and a couple pyrex liquid measuring cups to hold the ingredients. I also like to line them up in order of use.
- 2 packets of active dry yeast
- 2 1/2 Cups warm water (110 degrees F )
- 3 Tablespoons of white sugar
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 3 Tablespoons shortening melted
- 6 1/2 Cups of Bread Flour
1. Measure out your ingredients
2. Spray the inside of the large mixing bowl
3. Attach a dough hook to your stand mixer (you can use a wooden spoon but I assure you the stand mixer will make this much easier)
4. Empty the 2 packets of yeast into a stand mixing bowl (or large mixing bowl)
5. Pour in the sugar
6. Pour in the warm water.
7. Start the mixer on ‘stir’ or the lowest setting. Let it mix/stir until the yeast and sugar dissolve.
8. Add the shortening and salt
9. Add the flour 2 cups at a time until it reaches a ‘dough’ consistency.
10. It takes roughly 6 minutes to kneed in the stand mixer.
11. Turn it out onto a floured surface. (I use a large cutting board (18×20 3/4″) I found at Ikea).
12. Kneed it by hand until smooth and elastic. (I tend to do about 4 turns and it’s ready; however, if you are not using a stand mixer you will need to kneed it by hand for about 8 minutes or so)
*You want to be able to push on it with a finger and it bounces back rather than leaving an indent.
13. Make the dough into a ball and place it in the greased bowl.
14. Cover with clear wrap or a light towel. Let it sit for an hour. It will double in size.
15. Spray your bread pans with cooking spray (be thorough so the bread doesn’t get stuck)
16. Punch down the dough.
17. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.
18. Cut the dough in half and place one piece in each of the bread pans.
*You can roll it up, tuck it under or just drop it in. The appearance is up to you. I used to make 2 batches (1 white and 1 wheat) and then make a swirled loaf but my kids prefer the plain white bread.
19. Cover the loaves with loosely clear wrap or with a light cloth (you want it to have the space to rise so don’t let the clear wrap get too tight)
20. Let the loaves rise for 45 minutes
21. Move your oven racks down to allow for room for the bread to rise and then preheat the oven to 425 degrees F
22. Remove the clear wrap or light cloth and place in the oven. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.
23. Remove from the oven and place them on their sides. As they cool remove the bread from the pan and then place on the other side to cool. (This is so it doesn’t get too moist on the sides)
24. Slice and enjoy!
This may seem like a long process based on how I laid it out here but I assure you that it gets faster and easier each and every time you make it. I started out taking my time and needing to read everything step by step but now I don’t need a recipe anymore and it goes so fast. Give it a whirl!