Traditional White Bread


Traditional White Bread

2 ¼ cups very warm water (120° to 130°)
6 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons shortening
4 ½ teaspoons quick-acting active dry yeast 

Add warm water to the large bowl of an electric mixer.  Into the water add 3 ½ cups of the flour, the sugar, salt, shortening and yeast.  Beat on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently.  Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently.  Stir in enough remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, to make dough easy to handle. 

Knead about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  To do this either use your mixer or turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead.  Place the dough in greased bowl and turn greased side up.  Cover and let rise in warm place 40 to 60 minutes or until double.  (Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.) 

Grease 2 loaf pans.  Punch down dough and divide in half.  Flatten dough for each loaf with hands or rolling pin into a rectangle, 18x9 inches.  Fold crosswise into thirds, overlapping the two sides.  Flatten or roll into square, 9x9 inches.  Roll dough tightly, beginning at one of the open (unfolded) ends, to form a loaf.  Press with thumbs to seal after each turn.  Pinch edge firmly to seal.  Press each end with side of hand to seal.  Fold ends under loaf.  Place seam side down in pan.  Brush loaves lightly with margarine.  Cover and let rise in warm place 35 to 50 minutes or until double. 

Place oven rack in low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven.  Heat oven to 425°.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped; remove from pans.  Brush loaves with margarine if desired.  Cool on wire rack.  (2 loaves.)  
Tiffany's Notes: This is the white bread recipe I use.  I found it in the Betty Crocker Cookbook.  It has basic ingredients, is low in fat, and dairy- and egg-free.  

I do like the shaping method.  It sounds like a bit of work, but it really isn't too difficult and makes a nicely shaped loaf.  

I usually double the recipe and make 4 loaves.  I've also cut the recipe in half and mixed one loaf worth of dough in a bread maker, pulled the dough out after a dough cycle, shaped it into a loaf, and baked it in the oven.  That's an easy way to make one loaf of bread for a meal!  I've even made the dough into different shapes--hearts, flowers, etc. for special occasions.

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