I grew up on white bread. (Wonder Bread to be exact). The first time I ever tried wheat bread was Thanksgiving during Second Grade. We were having a cowboys and Indians meal. (It was the 80’s — in other words, it was a time before we began re-writing history to make it more politically correct.) I’m not sure why a loaf of wheat bread was incorporated into the meal or if it was the cowboys or the Indians who brought it, but a loaf of Butter-Top Wheat Bread was at the table. We ate it sans butter or anything else, and I remembered liking it very much. Now that I think of it, maybe it wasn’t wheat bread at all.
However, I continued eating white bread growing up until I realized white bread was making me fat. Just kidding. I guess I just grew out of my Wonder Bread phase. Though I haven’t bought a package of Wonder Bread in years, I can’t resist homemade white bread. So of course I had to try this recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.
- 3 c. lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 T. instant yeast
- 1 1/2 T. Kosher salt
- 2 T. sugar
- 1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for brushing the top crust
- 7 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- softened butter to grease the pan
- Mix the yeast, salt, sugar, and melted butter with the water in a mixing bowl.
- Mix in the flour using a spoon, food processor or heavy-duty stand mixer.
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately two hours.
- The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise or refrigerated in a lidded container and used within 7 days.
- When you’re ready to bake, dust the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a hunk of dough approximately the size of large orange or grapefruit. Dust the chunk of dough with flour and quickly shape the dough into a ball. Stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the dough a quarter of a turn. Elongate the ball into an oval and drop into the prepared loaf pan, you want the pan to be more than half full, allowing to rest and rise for one hour and 40 minutes.
- Place an empty broiling pan on the rack below the stone. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Dust the loaf with flour and slash the top using a sharp knife. Brush the top surface with the melted butter.
- Set the loaf pan on a rack near the center of the oven and quickly pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiling pan beneath the stone. Close the oven door as quick as possible. Bake for about 45 minutes, until golden brown.
- Cool before cutting or eating.