Generally, I watch my bread intake and keep it to a minimum. Therefore, when I’m going to have some bread, I want some BREAD! This is the good stuff- the wonderful bread that I knew from my grandma’s home, passed to her daughters’ homes, then later to their children’s homes, and then to THEIR children’s homes, and so on and so on…
Grandma Margie's White Bread
2 1/2 cups hot water (divided)
3 TBS. Yeast (or 3 pkts)
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine (melted)
1 TBS. salt
over 6 cups flour (no exact amt.)
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup hot water in a large bowl (I use a kitchen aid mixer bowl because I’ll be using the k.a. mixer for this) sprinkle in sugar and 1/2 cup of the flour. Let rest 5 minutes til bubbly. (During this time, grease a large bowl that you will put your finished dough in. Set it aside) Add 6 cups flour, melted butter and 1 TBS. salt to the yeast mixture. Attach to mixing stand and attach dough hook. Run mixer on low speed (1) while pouring 2 cups remaining water in. When it has mixed up well, turn up speed to (2) and sprinkle in more flour in small portions until the dough has all pulled away from the sides. Yes, this is the tricky part. You don’t want to add too much flour, but it can’t be too sticky either. You will eventually be able to eyeball this and get a feel for what you are doing. Trial and error my friend, trial and error. Don’t get discouraged. When all your dough is pulling away from the sides, keep the mixer on (2) and let it knead for 2 minutes.
Grease your hands and get all your dough out of the mixing bowl and form it into a nice ball. Put it into the greased bowl you have prepared and make sure your dough ball is nicely greased on all sides. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for an hour until doubled.
Punch dough down and let it rest on the counter for a few minutes. Divide dough into 3 equal parts and form into loaves. (If you’re using 9 inch pans for bigger loaves, divide dough into 2 equal parts.) This involves working the bread in your hands to get out air bubbles. If you are new to this, another method is to roll out each section and then roll it up tightly, pinching length of the roll to seal. Press ends to seal and fold under loaf. Don’t stress over this! Work it into what looks like a loaf to you and lay it in the bread pan. I then take a fork and make 7 pokes into each loaf (going from top to bottom) My mother told me recently that it was not necessary and she had stopped doing it, but my grandma always did it and so I always do it too. I feel like it is her “mark” and I like to see it there. It stands for 7 words for me: “Give us this day our daily bread” so I like that aspect also. It came to me one day, so I feel I’m meant to do it, but you do whatever you’re comfortable with (umm, but if you don’t do it, your bread just might not be as blessed, so…) I’m totally kidding here–of course your bread will be blessed!!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and let your bread rise in the pans for about a half hour or until it is slightly up over the edges. When it has risen, bake at 350 for 35 minutes until brown and hollow sounding when tapped. ( bake 5 minutes or so longer for 9 inch loaves) Remove from oven and grease top of each loaf with butter. Remove from pans and let cool on rack.