Homemade White Bread
Every week I prepare homemade white bread from scratch for my family. Baking is something I’ve learned when I was very young, and I take pride in my breads. My friends and family always ask for my recipes and tell me that I should open a bakery.
I know, I know…. white bread is bad for you and you will get fat and sick if you eat it. It is true that white bread is mostly empty calories, but it it feeds the soul. People from Europe have a different opinion about white bread. Try to say to a Frenchman or an Italian that you don’t eat bread. They might think you have some kind of mental illness.
White bread as a tradition.
Well, we Bulgarians love our homemade white bread too. It is a tradition in the Bulgarian family to have white bread at the table. We serve it with every meal and for every occasion. For big celebrations we prepare round breads. We have rituals with the white bread for weddings, births and funerals.
It is a childhood memory.
We grew up eating it freshly baked, still hot, tearing it with our hands and stuffing our faces with it. When I was a child the most tempting smell was always the one coming from the oven while the bread bakes. It instantly made me drool. We serve the bread with butter or dipped in sunflower oil. Bulgarians prepare a special blend of salt and spices that we sprinkle on the bread. It can also be dipped in honey.
Why should you make it?
The secret to the best white bread is to make it yourself. I tried many brands, in Bulgaria and the United States, and nothing can even come close to the one I prepare from scratch. It is not normal for a bread to have an expiration date longer than five days. It is scary that the bread that is sold at the store is full of unnecessary and dangerous ingredients to prolong its shelf life. I wouldn’t give a bread like that to my worst enemy.
How is this recipe different?
When I came to America I noticed that most breads have very sweet taste. I grew up eating a neutral tasting bread. This means that it can be eaten with sweet and salty toppings. The recipe I’m giving you is for a neutral tasting bread that can compliment any meal.
How to measure flour?
Always scoop more flour than you need in your cup and use a knife to level it off. If you have a scale use it, because measuring ingredients by weigh is always more accurate. One cup of flour contains exactly 4 oz or 125 grams of all purpose flour.
Store it in a bread box for 3-5 days. Paper bags are perfect for storing fresh bread. Do not eat if it is moldy.
Homemade White Bread
- 1 ½ cup lukewarm water
- 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups bread flour or enough to form a dough that doesn’t stick
- some oil or nonstick spray for the pan
- In a deep bowl add the water, the yeast and the sugar. No activation or stirring necessary.
- Add one cup of flour and then add the salt.
- Use a spoon or a stand mixer to combine all the ingredients.
- Add the remaining flour gradually while mixing.
- After at least 10 minutes of kneading form the dough into a ball. The dough shouldn't be too sticky or too tough. If it is sticky add a little more flour.
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or towel. The dough needs to rise for 50-60 minutes. Best if the room is slightly warm.
- When it doubles its size punch it down and form it into a loaf for a standard bread form (9 x 5 inch).
- Grease the bread pan and transfer the loaf shaped dough in it.
- Use a sharp knife to cut three (not very deep) horizontal lines in the bread.
- Place the bread form with the dough in the oven and start preheating it at the lowest temperature possible. (For my oven is 170F). Turn the oven off before it reaches 170F. I wait about two minutes after it is on and I turn it off. The oven should be very slightly warm or about 110-120F.
- Leave the bread in the oven to rise for about 30-40 minutes. Do not open the oven during this step.
- Start to preheat the oven at 360F, with the dough inside. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
- Once the bread is baked cool it on a wrack for at least 15 minutes. Do not cut it while it is very hot.