We've been making most of our own bread for years now. Up until last year, we would use the bread maker "dough only" setting and then transfer it into our own pans to bake. This is my Gramma's recipe, and it served us well for many years! Unfortunately our bread baker broke last year, and rather than replace it we decided to figure out how to make bread without it.
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp yeast (we use quick rise)
- 1 cup warm milk
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 - 4 1/2 cups of flour
Combine 1/2 cup warm water, brown sugar, and yeast together in a large bowl. Allow the yeast to bloom for about 5-10 minutes. Whisk in warm milk butter, remaining 2 tbsp brown sugar, and salt. Add flour 1 cup at a time, until a sticky dough forms. If dough is too dry, add water 1 tsp at a time until it's the desired stickiness. If it's too sticky, add flour 1 tsp at a time until it's dry enough to handle without sticking to your hands. Kneed dough for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
Place in a lightly greased bowl in a warm spot and cover with a clean dish towel. Allow to double in size (about an hour or so).
Once dough has proofed, punch it down, and work into 2 loaf shapes. Place in a greased loaf pan, once again cover with dish clothes and allow to rise in a warm place (another 45 minutes to an hour).
Bake in preheated, 400 degree oven for 25 - 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Be sure to use the middle rack.
Remove bread from pans immediately and allow to cool on a wire rack. If you like a soft crust like we do, brush bread with melted butter as soon as it gets out of the oven!