For a recipe that uses only basic ingredients, this white bread loaf turned out soft and perfect!
Ever since I learned how to make homemade bread, I had been making it almost once or twice a week. It could either be my favorite One Hour Rosemary Dinner Rolls or Garlic Knots Bread and more. I like those soft and fluffy rolls of the twist breads but having a basic white bread loaf recipe is also a must have for me. Loaf bread are very versatile and it’s the perfect kind of bread when I want to have toast for breakfast or maybe grilled cheese is even better. I love his bread for so many reasons:
- It’s incredibly easy to make, only 2 hours and that includes 2 rise period and baking time already.
- The ingredients are all basic, something that I always have in my pantry
- It’s soft and tall and it holds its shape nicely just like grocery loaf bread.
- The outer shell is crunchy while the interior is soft, so soft!
- The portion is just perfect. It makes 1 large loaf or 2 medium size loaf of 9-inch loaf pan, and only uses 3 1/4 cups of flour, that I call reasonable.
- Last but not the least, no preservatives because it’s homemade.
Tips for a Successful Soft Homemade Bread
- Check Yeast Expiry a Date – you might be wondering how come the bread did not rise when you followed exactly the recipe. Well, first thing first, make sure the yeast is not yet expired.
- Liquid Temperature – Yeast grows in temperature between 110 – 115F, so it is important to have the water that you are using to “proof” it in this range. If you go lower or higher, the yeast might not proof properly. That means the bread will not rise as much, resulting to a flat and tough bread. If you do not have kitchen thermometer, microwave the water (from the faucet) about 15 – 20 seconds. Feel it with your fingers, it sound be lukewarm not hot.
- Amount of Yeast – Just because you want a tall fully bread doesn’t mean you have to put as much yeast in the mixture. Sometimes if you add too much, it will have a tendency to collapse. Just imagine putting more air than what is needed in a balloon, the balloon will explode. The same case with bread.
- Right Type of Yeast – We’ve discussed the 3 types of yeast above. Make sure to use the right one for your recipe, and make necessary adjustments if you want to swap one from another.
- Flour Measurement is not exact all the time, but with only minimal difference. Sometimes it could be plus 2 – 4 tbsp more, this is why I always set aside about 1/4 cup in case I need to add more. If you measure the liquid properly, and still the dough turn out dry, then it could be that the flour moisture is either dryer than usual. Dry flour requires more liquid, and lighter flour requires less liquid. This could depend on the brand of the flour and the age of the flour, and of course flour could vary from country to country. The nearer the flour gets to expiry date, the more that it gets dryer. If you are like me who doesn’t monitor the expiry date, then you just have to feel the dough if it needs additional flour. You want it to be still soft and moist but not too sticky. Moist but enough to form the dough into a ball. My test is a bowl with clean side, while the dough still slightly stick at the bottom. This gives a soft dough.
- Rest Period – Yeast bread needs time to rise. There are bread that uses less yeast but requires more rest time, the likes of No Knead Bread or Artisan Bread which usually require 8- 16 hours rest period to get the volume and to develop the flavor. There are 1 hour bread like my Rosemary Dinner Rolls which used this same bread dough. Resting the dough is imperative to allow the gluten to relax and to allow the dough to rise. A well rested dough will rise better, will created pockets or air, and will make a light and soft bread. Remember, 2 rest period. First at least 1 hour and another 1 hour for the second rest period. It’s worth the wait, promise.
Why is My Dough Too Wet or Too Dry?
Don’t get frustrated if your dough did not turn out immediately as what you see in the photo or video. Most likely It is not because you did not follow the recipe. When it comes to bread making, the amount of flour and liquid is not always 100% precise. This is way often times you will encounter recipes that says, if your dough is dry, add a bit more liquid. If your dough is too wet, add a little bit more flour. This instructions are not meant to confuse you, they are meant to guide you on how to adjust as you work through your dough. The reason for this is that although the measurement of water and flour are specified in the recipe, it still could slightly vary depending on many factors. For instance, all-purpose flour could very from country to country, or even from brand to brand. Don’t be surprise if you find that some brand tends to require a bit more liquid as the others. On top of this, the amount of liquid is also affected by the state of your flour. How old is the flour that you are using? Older flour nearing expiry tends to be drier and this requires more liquid. Bread making requires patience, and practice. Once you learn how to feel the right texture of the dough, everything will be quick and easy. You can instantly tell if you need to add more water or flour to get the dough in right state.
- 2 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast
- 1/2 cup warm Water (110F)
- 4 tablespoon granulated white Sugar, divided (1/2 tsp for yeast, remaining for flour mixture)
- 3/4 cup Milk (any milk will work), warmed to about 80F
- 3 tablespoon Flavorless Oil
- 3/4 tsp Salt
- 3 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour, plus 1/4 on the side ONLY as needed
- Activate Yeast: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer whisk together yeast with water and 1/2 tsp of the granulated sugar. Rest 5 minutes until mixture is foamy. Can also be made manually, use a large bowl to hold the ingredients.
Add Wet Ingredients: Set mixer with paddle attachment and mix in remaining sugar (3 tbsp + 2 1/2 tsp) milk, oil on low-speed.
- Add Dry Ingredients: Add salt and 2 cups of flour and mix on low-speed until combined, then switch to a hook attachment. Set mixer on low speed and slowly add in remaining 1 1/4 cups flour. Allow mixture to knead on medium-low speed until smooth and elastic, adding more flour ONLY as needed, about 8 minutes. If the dough is too sticky add 1 tbsp at a time (up to 1/4 cup as needed) until the dough starts to form and a clean bowl is achieve. If too much flour is added rolls will be dense and heavy. A good measure of correct texture is a clean mixing bowl or if doesn’t stick as much in your hand.
- Rest 30 minutes: Remove the dough and form into a ball. Transfer into a greased bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap or warm towel and allow to rest for 30 minutes in a warm place.
- To help the dough rise better, pre-heat the oven 110F, then turn OFF the oven. Do NOT forget to turn it OFF, you only want the oven to warm up for the dough to rise, you do not want to dough to be baked. Some oven has a proofing setting, mine doesn’t, so this is my trick.
- Shape and Arrange: Lightly push the dough down with the heel of the palm of your hands. Do not knead too much as it will knock out the air that was accumulated during the rest period. If making 2 loaves, divide the dough into 2 equal portion, otherwise work on the entire dough. Pull the sides down and tuck under several times then make into a rectangular shape. Transfer into a loaf pan either 8 or 9-inch works.
- 2nd Rest Period:Allow to rise in a warm place for 40 minutes (using the same trick in step 3). Preheat oven to 375F during last 15 minutes of dough rising. Do NOT forget to remove the dough inside before re-heating the dough.
6. Bake: Bake in preheated 375F oven until tops are golden brown, about 35-40 minutes.
Makes 1 large loaf or 2 medium loaf ( 8 or 9-inch loaf pan)
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