Nothing is more rewarding than making a beautiful perfect loaf of bread.  Other than making two loaves of perfect bread.  This recipe hits the nail on the head.  It’s simple.  It’s delicious.  Fluffy.  Airy.  Flavorful.

Bread and I have always had a great relationship.  I love carbs, grains, baked goods, you name it.  Growing up, my family always judged bread at the county fair.  I looked forward to it all summer, and was always proud my mom was such a bread expert.  But you know how it goes, eventually I had zero interest in what my mom did.  I didn’t ever really have interest in helping out in the kitchen.  I think I only knew how to make grilled cheese when I left for college.

No, it wasn’t until I had my own house, a too-skinny boyfriend, and was missing my momma – I decided to figure out what to do in the kitchen.

My in-laws were over this past weekend to help with ripping out the counters.  I was just finishing up the dough when they walked in.  I laughed when they said something along the lines of “you look like you know what you’re doing!”  I guess I finally do know what I’m doing- and it’s a great feeling.  Almost as good as a feeling as baking two perfect loaves of bread.  And then sending them home with one.  🙂

I’ll cut the nostalgia and give you the recipe now!

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cups Warm Water, 105-110 Degrees
  • 1 package (7g Packet) Active Dry Yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • ¼ cups Sugar, Plus 1 Teaspoon, Divided
  • 1-½ cup Buttermilk
  • 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 4-½ cups All Purpose Or Bread Flour, Plus 1/4 Cup For The Work Surface
  • 2 teaspoons Salt

Proof the yeast:  Combine warm water, yeast and one teaspoon of sugar.  Let sit for 5 minutes until foamy.  (If it does not foam up check the expiration date on your yeast and try again!)

In a small saucepan, pour in buttermilk, butter, and 1/4 cup of sugar.  On medium low heat, warm until 110F.  The butter may not melt completely, which is fine.

In a large mixing bowl mix together 4 1/2 cups flour and salt.  Add in buttermilk mixture and yeast and mix until incorporated.

-If you do not have a stand mixer: Turn dough onto a floured surface, working in the 1/4 cup flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

If you do have a stand mixer: Using a dough hook, slowly add 1/4 cup of flour until dough is not sticky.  Allow dough hook to knead for 10 minutes on medium-low speed.

Grease a large bowl with cooking spray or butter and place the ball of dough in the bowl.  Cover and let rise in a draft-free place until doubled, about an hour.

Punch down the dough and fold in the sides.  Cut (do not tear!) dough in half, shape, and place in two greased bread pans.  Let rise for another hour.

Preheat oven to 375F.  Bake for 25-35 minutes until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.  Allow to cool before slicing.

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