Monday, October 10, 2011

McCall's Basic White Bread

McCall’s Basic White Bread                                                                       
Makes 2 Loaves

2 cups milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
¼ cup butter or margarine
¼ cup warm water (105 to 115 F)
2 packages active dry yeast
6 ½ to 7 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

1.                In small saucepan, heat milk just until bubbles form around edge of pan.  Remove from heat.  Add sugar, salt, and ¼ cup butter, stirring until butter is melted.  Let cool to lukewarm (a drop sprinkle on wrist will not feel warm).

2.                If possible, check temperature of warm water with thermometer.  Sprinkle yeast over water in large bowl, stirring until dissolved.  Stir in milk mixture.

3.                Add half the flour; beat, with wooden spoon, until smooth – about 2 minutes.  Gradually add remaining flour, mixing it in with hand until dough is stiff enough to leave side of bowl.

4.                Turn out dough onto lightly floured board.  Cover with the bowl; let rest 10 minutes.  Knead by folding dough toward you, then pushing down and away from you, with heel of hand.  Give dough a quarter turn; repeat kneading, developing a rocking rhythm.  Continue kneading and turning 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic and blisters appear on surface.

5.                Place lightly greased large bowl; turn dough to bring up greased side.  Cover with towel; let rise in warm place (85 F), free from drafts, about 1 hour, or until double in bulk.  When two fingers poked into dough leave indentations, rising is sufficient.  Punch down dough with fist; turn out onto lightly floured pastry cloth.  Divide in half; shape each half into smooth ball.  Cover with towel; let rest 10 minutes.  Shape each portion into loaf, and place in pan, according to the shaping directions.

6.                Brush top of each loaf with 1 tablespoon melted butter.  Cover with towel; let rise in warm place (85F), free from drafts, until double in bulk, or until sides of dough reach tops of pan about 1 hour.

7.               Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F.

8.               Bake loaves 40 to 50 minutes – tops should be well browned and sound hollow when rapped with knuckle.  Remove from pans immediately; cool well on wire rack, away from drafts.

Note:  If a lighter-color crust is desire, cover top of loaves with brown paper or aluminium foil after bread has baked 25 minutes.

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