Saturday, April 16, 2011

Grandma Vaulet's White Bread

This recipe yields the most wonderful springy, softly textured loaf, excellent for toast, cold or grilled sandwiches, or slicing thick to serve with butter or cheese. Slightly sweet, it is a grand all-purpose loaf. Enjoy!
Yield: 4 loaves

11 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 Tablespoon dry yeast
½ cup shortening OR Unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 ½ cups milk, warmed to lukewarm

Mix together the water, milk, sugar, and yeast. Let sit until mixture bubbles, signaling that the yeast is active.

Whisk salt into flour.

Add flour to liquid mixture one cup at a time, whisking well to blend thoroughly. When mixture becomes thick, switch to mixing with a wooden spoon, adding flour until dough becomes thick enough to knead.

Turn dough onto a floured counter top or bread board. Knead well until dough becomes smooth and elastic, not sticky.
**Note** Dough is considered “elastic” when a divot pressed in with your finger springs back quickly.

Place in lightly buttered bowl, turning to coat dough. Cover with a towel, sprinkle the towel with water, and set aside to rise until double in size.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Punch down and knead for a minute or so to remove large air bubbles. Form into loaves and place into 9x5 loaf pans. Let rise again until double in size.

Place on center rack in oven.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees for the remaining 35 minutes.

To test for doneness, tap the top of the loaf. A fully baked bread loaf will sound hollow when tapped.
Immediately turn out of pans onto a towel, cover with another towel to cool.

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