1 cup scalded milk (90 seconds at full power in the microwave)
When you use milk to make bread it needs to be scalded. That means heated to just below the boil, or the protease enzyme in it slows down the yeast production and causes breakdown of the protein in the flour making the dough sticky. This enzyme is deactivated by the heat.
While the milk is cooling to room temperature, drop
1 tablespoon of cold butter into the milk.
It will melt and be perfect for mixing.
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast and
1 teaspoon raw sugar in
1/2 cup baby-bath warm water
Measure the dry ingredients
3 cups all purpose white flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
into the mixer bowl and, using the dough hook, swirl them together.
When both liquids are baby-bath warm, or comfortable to the sensitive skin on the inside of your wrist, simply dump both into the flour mixture and begin to mix, using the dough hook. (Be sure the liquids are not too warm or the heat will kill the yeast and your bread won’t rise.)
Slowly sprinkle about
1/2 to 3/4 cup of additional flour
over the dough as it kneads.
When it cleans the sides of the mixer bowl and begins to climb the hook it is ready to be placed in a warm place (70 to 90 degrees F.) to raise the first time. (we put it in the oven, with the light left on)
Turn it out on a lightly floured surface, knead by hand a few times to form a nice round ball, drizzle about a teaspoon of oil in a big bowl, turn the bread over to lightly oil the top, cover with a damp cloth and leave it alone for about 30 to 45 minutes. When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down and knead it slightly, forming it back into a nice round ball, cover it and return to the warm place until it doubles in bulk a second time…usually another 30 to 45 minutes.
Note: rising times depend on a number of variables – temp and/or humidity, yeast age, and so forth. Watch your dough as it rises. If you allow it to wait too long after it reaches the “doubled in bulk” stage it will cause the whole batch of bread to “flop”…in other words it will not rise right and have a heavy unappealing texture.
Now turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface, divide it into two equal loaves and place them in buttered pans. If you melt about 1/2 tablespoon of butter in the bottom of the bowl and turn the loaves over in it before putting them in the pans the tops will stay soft and brown evenly.
Return the loaves to the warm place and allow it to raise until it fills the pan and looks like a “loaf of bread.”
When the loaves look right turn on the oven and heat it to between 360 and 400 degrees. Bake your bread until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom with a wooden spoon.