- 2¼ to 2¾ cups very warm water (105° to 115° F.)
- ¼ cup sugar
- Two ¼-ounce packages active dry yeast
- 8 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
- ½ cup nonfat dry milk powder
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ cup firmly packed vegetable shortening or ½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut into pats
You will surely love this bread recipe.
- Place ½ cup of the warm water in a spouted 1-quart measure and mix in 1 tablespoon of the sugar and all of the yeast. Let stand in a warm spot for about 5 minutes or until frothy.
- Meanwhile, combine 2 cups of the flour, the milk powder, salt, and remaining sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the shortening and using a pastry blender, cut into the dry ingredients until the texture of coarse meal. Mix in the remaining flour.
- Add the yeast mixture and 1¾ cups of the remaining warm water and mix well, adding more of the water as needed to make a soft but workable dough.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a large buttered bowl, then turn the dough in the bowl so the buttered side is up.
- Cover the dough with a clean, dry cloth and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Punch the dough down, cover, and again let rise until doubled in bulk—about 1 hour.
- Punch the dough down once more, knead briefly on a lightly floured surface until satiny, then divide into three pieces of equal size.
- Quickly grease three 8 × 4 × 3-inch loaf pans, shape each piece of dough into a loaf, and place in the pans. Cover with a clean, dry cloth and let the loaves rise in a warm, draft-free spot for about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Toward the end of rising, preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Bake the loaves on the middle oven shelf for 35 to 40 minutes or until richly browned and hollow sounding when thumped.
- Remove the loaves from the oven. Let stand in the upright pans on wire racks for 5 minutes, then invert and turn right side up. Cool to room temperature before cutting.