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© Paden Reich
Restaurants do it, so why not put a basket of fresh bread on the table with dinner? Not with every meal, of course, but on those occasions when the craving strikes, this elicits an immensely satisfying response: fresh white bread warm from the oven. It’s a throwback, and that’s the point. With a spread of rich, salted butter melting into the soft bread, it’s like treating your soul to a hug. In other words, this is pure comfort food. This simple recipe is similar to my grandmother’s bread recipe except she made them into little rolls and I prefer to make it as a loaf. It’s almost mistake-proof, and its crunchy crust and pillowy interior will be a hit whether you serve it plain for dinner, as French toast for breakfast, or sliced for sandwiches at lunchtime. On the slight chance you end up with days-old leftovers, make bread pudding. This is happy food.
1. Stir together the water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
2. Stir together the salt and 3 cups of the flour. Gradually add to the yeast mixture, stirring just until combined. Stir in the melted butter.
3. Add the remaining 3 cups flour, and stir just until combined. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until the dough is slightly tacky and elastic, about 10 minutes.
4. Brush the dough with the oil; place in a large bowl, cover with a clean towel, and place in a warm place (80° to 85°F), free from drafts, until the dough doubles in size, about 45 minutes.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; punch the dough down. Divide the dough in half; shape each half into an 11- x 7-inch rectangle. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet; cover and let rise for 25 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Knead 1 dough half lightly, and roll into a tight log, about 12 inches long. Pinch together the ends, and tuck under the log to form a smooth top. Fit the dough log into a lightly greased 9- x 5-inch loaf pan. Repeat with the second dough half.
7. Bake until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 190°F or when the bread sounds hollow when tapped, about 40 minutes
You will need two loaf pans for this recipe or, if you have only one, roll the second half of dough into 12 equal balls and bake.
2 cups lukewarm water (about 105°F) 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast 2 teaspoons kosher salt
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
5 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1 teaspoon olive oil
Hands on time
2 Hours, 50 Minutes