There is nothing like a slice of freshly-made white bread.
My dad would tell the story of coming home from school in the late 1920s/early 1930s (of course, after walking the four miles home uphill in the driving snow) and, each and every day, finding two still-warm, thick slices of white bread on the table, slathered thick with fresh butter. Grandma Liske’s bread was so classically made with farmhouse methods that it was baked with the wood stove. Grandma also churned her own butter, the cream coming from the cows on the farm.
I’ve written about various breads in the past, including breads from Zingerman’s and recipes from Pepperidge Farms’ founder Margaret Rudkin. But this bread recipe, from Patricia Gardner (who shot the photo of Mary and I on the LPC About page), is one recipe whose results we’re able to enjoy more regularly than any other fresh-made bread I know of.
So, without further ado, here’s Pat’s locally-popular recipe. Make ya’ some!
Grandma Gardner’s White Bread
Makes 2 loaves
6 cups Pillsbury bread flour
2 cups warm (115F) water
2 packages dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
In a large mixing bowl combine water, salt, sugar and oil. The water needs to be the temperature of bath water. Sprinkle the yeast over the liquid. Let sit for a few minutes until it begins to bubble. This is called “proofing”. Add 2 cups bread flour; mix with mixer on low speed until mixed, then on high speed for 3 minutes.
Add enough water to make a kneadable dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for 10 minutes by the clock. Do not try to guess this time. This will make a fune textured, high rising bread. Toward the end of the kneading time the dough should become quite elastic.
Place dough in a large greased bowl, turn once to grease top. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft free place to rise until double.
When dough has risen to double, punch down and let rise to double again.
To form loaves divide dough in half. Roll out each half into a rectangle just enough to eliminate bubbles. Roll jelly roll fashion into loaf and place in greased or oiled loaf pans. Oil top of bread and let rise until double again. When the dough has risen 1 inch above the tops of the pans, place in cold oven. Set oven to 325F and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until medium brown. Turn out to a rack, butter tops and let cool. Eat first one when slightly warm. It will be a little hard to cut but is wonderful cut into thick slices and spread with real, unsalted butter.