Some recipes don't grab you. This was one of those at first. When a friend sent it to me, I never thought I'd make it, because I've never made bread before. I'd always assumed that it was a complex, delicate, impossible process. Then I came home for the holidays and was desperate for something that wasn't meat or cookies. White bread it is, then. (We don't want to be too healthy--it's still the holidays.)
After I made it, I realized how wrong I was. Everyone needs a good basic bread recipe, and this one is wonderful. It dense and moist, and it stands up well to butter and jam. The crust is golden and it's not too crumbly. It's plain and simple and easy. And above all, it's delicious. If you don't consider yourself a baker, or if you have had trouble with bread in the past, this is the recipe for you.
I hope you all had wonderful, relaxing holidays!
1 cup milk
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
1 cup water
2 packets dry yeast
6 cups flour
Scald milk. Add sugar, salt, butter, and water. Cool.
Soften yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water; add to milk mixture.
Put flour in large bowl, and add milk mixture. Mix and then turn dough out on a floured table or counter and knead. (You may add flour as needed until the dough no longer sticks to your hands.)
Grease bowl and put dough in bowl to rise for half an hour (it should be in a warm place). Punch down gently and let rise for another half an hour.
Prepare two loaf pans by greasing them and coating them lightly with flour.
Knead dough, cut into two halves, roll and shape into loaves. Put into loaf pans and let rise for another half an hour.
Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. (This varies a lot from stove to stove, so check after 20 or 30 minutes.) Its usually done with the crust is a medium golden brown. Cool on racks. If you brush a little cold water on the crust when you remove them from the oven, the crust will be crispier.