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It’s time for a homesteader’s confession. Homemade bread is hard to make! I’ve attempted to make it a dozen times, only to have it come out hard as a brick. Literally, one batch I tried to make in a bread machine (foolproof, right??) was so hard and dense, the dog had a hard time breaking into it.
I felt down-right foolish. My husband took me out to a very fancy dinner for our anniversary one year, and when the owner came out to say hello I complimented him on the bread they served. He went on and on about how easy the recipe is, and how anyone could do it. I went home that night and tried, but it turned out HORRIBLY. Clearly I was missing something important that everyone else seemed to know!
Then, I found the perfect recipe! It was light, fluffy, froze well, and was so delicious we ate it up within days. A few days passed and I lost the recipe! I was so hesitant to try again after that failure, however I’ve succeeded in finding another fantastic recipe!
This one is foolproof! It makes two loafs, and I accidentally let one loaf raise all night. (I signed up for an Ancestry.com account and got very sidetracked.) But once I baked it the next morning it was still delicious!
Now I bake two loaves every Sunday. The smell of freshly cooked bread is heavenly, the bread itself gives me a sense of pride, and I know exactly what ingredients went into it! Can’t beat that!
BONUS: Reader Melinda modified this recipe and made cinnamon buns! Try her version too:
“I made the bread recipe, let it rise once, flattened it out on the counter, spread a teaspoon or so of soft butter on the dough, then sprinkled on probably a cup of the cinnamon/sugar mix that I added a tablespoon of cocoa powder to (for color…you don’t taste it), rolled up the dough and sliced into roll size pieces. I used a buttered 9×13 pan and put it in the refrigerator to rise overnight and took them out in the morning and baked in a 350* oven for 1/2 hour or so? I made a simple icing with powered sugar and milk and added a splash of vanilla and drizzled it over the top. Viola’ warm cinnamon rolls for breakfast. They disappeared quickly!”
- 2 teaspoons active-dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 5 1/2 – 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- Add warm water and yeast to the mixing bowl and stir to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes or so, until it begins bubbling.
- Melt the butter, then add to the water with the milk, sugar, and salt.
- Add one cup of flour at a time and stir to combine until a floury, lumpy dough is formed.
- If you’re using a standing mixer, switch out the mixing paddle for the dough hook now. If you’re making this by hand, turn the dough out onto a floured surface.
- Knead until the dough is smooth, elastic and springs back when poked with your fingertip.
- Clean the mixing bowl you were previously using and coat in oil. Add the dough and cover in a warm spot until dough has doubled in size, or about an hour.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface again, and knead gently. Separate into two.
- Grease loaf pans and transfer dough balls into them.
- Cover and let rise again for 30-40 more minutes
- Preheat the oven to 425°F, but immediately turn the heat down to 375°F when you add the loaves and bake for 30 minutes.
- Once finished, remove from pan and let cool on a rack.