So, I already posted this recipe back when I did the menu board, but I figured since I am making this bread right now...I would walk you through the recipe. :) Just so you all know...I cut corners and do things the easy way - I used a bread maker to do all my mixing for me.
So let's start off with the ingredients:
3 C. All Purpose Flour
1 - 1/4 oz. Pkg. Fast Acting Dry Yeast
1 1/4 tsp. Salt
3 Tbsp. Sugar
4 Tbsp. Butter, Melted
1/4 C. Non-Fat Dry Milk
1/4 C. Mashed Potato Flakes
1 1/8 C. Luke Warm Water
1 1/2 tsp. Vital Wheat Gluten
A Pinch of Sugar
Before I go into how to make this bread, I wanted to take a moment to talk about the ingredients in this recipe and what they do for the bread. First off, I use just regular all-purpose flour. I find it is cheaper than bread flour and works just as good. The non-fat dry milk helps the bread to stay moist. The potato flakes gives that bread a dense texture. I personally am not a fan of light an airy bread such as Wonder bread...I LOVE Grandma Sycomore's bread...and that's actually what I compare my bread to, and I think they are very similar to each other. Finally, the Vital Wheat Gluten teams up with the yeast to help the bread rise faster....I've actually done this recipe without the vital wheat gluten and the bread take 2-3 times as long to rise...so I think this particular ingredient is a must have for this recipe.
Now, lets get on to making this bread.
1. Measure out your 1 1/8 cups of luke warm water and leave in its measuring cup. Add the pinch of sugar to the water and then add the package of dry fast acting yeast, stir together well and then set aside. ***Note, the water needs to be above room temperature. If it is not, the yeast will not dissolve in the water. However, on the flip side, if the water is too hot, it will scald the yeast and render it inactive and useless. Believe me, I've made both of these mistakes.***
2. Combine flour, salt, sugar, non-fat dry milk, potato flakes and vital wheat gluten into your bread machine. I realize every ones bread machines are different. I need to set my bread machine to the bread setting (which is #1 on my settings) then select 1.5 loaves and I prefer a light crust. However, you should all know your bread machines pretty well and know what settings to select.
3. Measure out your 4 tbsp of butter and stick in the microwave for about 20 seconds.
4. While butter is melting, start your machine so it can begin to mix together your dry ingredients.
5. Pour melted butter and water-yeast-sugar mixture into your mixing bread machine.
6. Close lid and allow bread machine to mix dough.
7. When your machine comes to a stop for the first rising time, allow this to happen. Your bread machine will be moist and warm and the bread dough will rise fast in the bread machine than it would out on your counter.
8. While the dough is rising, grease 2 loaf pans with crisco. Do this by spreading the crisco around the loaf pan with a paper towel. This will get it coated on the loaf pan well and keep your hands clean :).
9. When the machine starts to go again after the first rise, stop the machine and remove the bread dough.
10. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and separate into 2 parts.
11. Roll out both dough parts to a little bigger length than your bread pans, then fold in all 4 sides to match the length and width of your loaf pan.
12. Place the dough folded side down in the loaf pan and cover VERY lightly with saran wrap. Then place the loaves in a warm place. This is usually when I start preheating my oven (preheat to 350) then place the loaves on top of the stove. This will create your warm area, especially if your house is air conditioned. Also, another thought that just occurred to me...if you live in a hot place like me (St. George, UT) take your loaves outside and place them in a safe place in the sun. This will probably increase the rising time of the loaves. I think I will try that one today :)
13. After the bread dough has risen to twice its size in the loaf pan, place it in the preheated oven (350 degrees) for 15 minutes.
14. While bread is baking, melt 4-6 tbsp of butter in the microwave. When you remove the bread from the oven, immediately brush the melted butter over the tops of the loaves. (Using a pastry brush) I find that doing this adds the butter flavor to the bread, as well as maintaining a soft and moist crust on the bread the entire span of the bread's life. Also, if you melt just a little bit more butter, this will allow easy spreading of butter on the homemade bread when you are ready to eat it.
15. Allow bread to rest and cool 25-30 minutes after baking before cutting.
16. After your loaves have rested and cooled...cut the loaf in half FIRST. The gradually cut into slices as you want them....do not cut up the entire loaf at once, this will make the bread dry out faster. Also, cutting it in half will help it stay moist longer because afterward you can put the 2 halves together.
17. I usually store them in a 1 gallon zip lock bag...this always helps my bread stay moist and soft. Enjoy!