Homemade bread – just saying it makes me happy, making it calms me and eating it puts me in a state of bliss.
I dream about bread. I could eat it for every meal. I can’t think of many things I love more than bread. It amazes me how, with just a few ingredients, I can make something so heavenly.
I love the beautiful rising dough – I love to shape it; I love to knead it; I love the golden-brown color it turns. And I love how it fills my house with an aroma that no candle can touch.
I realize this sounds like a love song (hence the name of the recipe), but I am okay with that. I am excited to share my favorite bread recipe with you. This recipe is foolproof and perfect. You might even find yourself chucking your current bread recipes after you try this.
By the way, don’t be ashamed if you find yourself sneaking into the pantry to have your way with this delicious loaf of fluffy goodness. I have, and I don’t care who knows it.
2 cups warm water
2/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
5 1/2 cups bread flour
In a glass dish with a lid, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then cover with yeast. Place lid on dish. After about 15 minutes it will resemble a creamy foam.
Pour yeast mixture into large bowl and mix in salt and oil. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth; or you can do it the easy way and put it in an electric mixer with dough hooks. Place in a well-oiled bowl and turn dough to coat. Cover with plastic wrap. (Covering your rising dough with plastic wrap will give you soft bread crust!) Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Building your loafs.
(Step 1) Divide your dough in half and you are ready to shape into loaves. To shape, place one half of dough on counter and (Step 2) punch and knead it into a big square shape, getting rid of air pockets. (Step 3) Try to leave the center a little thicker. (Step 4) Roll up like you would cinnamon rolls, (Step 5) Pinch the ends so it doesn’t separate . (Step 6) In one swift motion grab the ends of the roll and tuck the ends under to form your loaf. (Step 7) Pat the loaf to shape it to fit the length of your pan and then (Step 8 &9) place into two well-oiled 9×5-inch loaf pans. Cover pans with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
(Step 10) Remove wrap. With a bread knife, barely slice the top of dough from end to end. This will allow it to rise evenly in your oven. (Step 11) Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. (Step 12) Cover with tin foil for last 10 minutes. (Step 13) Remove from pans immediately and allow to cool on wire rack.