My older sis has been making bread for years. I've been making bread for years, (I make all of our bread that we eat - sandwich bread, pizza dough, yeast rolls, breadsticks, hamburger rolls, artisan bread, toasting bread) but have never tried my sister's recipe! This is her white bread recipe, she makes it at our family gatherings, and it's always so, so good. I tried making it the other day and I've already made it twice. Since Monday :) The consistency is perfect. The taste is perfect. It's a winner. And there's just something about knowing all of the ingredients in what you're eating ;)
Betsy's White Bread
3 to 3-1/2 cups bread flour (I used organic all-purpose)
1-1/2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. oil or shortening
2-1/4 tsp. yeast
1 cup + 2 Tbsp. very warm water
2 Tbsp. very soft salted butter, divided
Mix 1-3/4 cups of the flour, sugar, salt, oil (or shortening) and yeast in large bowl. Add warm water. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, again scraping the sides of the bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time to make dough easy to handle (This is when it just gets past being sticky. Do not add too much flour or your loaf will be too dense). Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead for 7-10 minutes (Kneading this long makes it perfect. It takes awhile, but it's worth it!). Place in a greased bowl and turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in a warm and draft-free place 40-60 minutes or until double in size.
Grease bottom and sides of a 1 lb. loaf pan with 1 Tbsp. butter. Punch dough down and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead 1 minute. Flatten with a rolling pin to about 8"x10". Roll dough up tightly, beginning at short side, to form a loaf. Pinch edge of dough into the roll to seal. Fold ends under loaf so you have a nice looking roll. The key here is to roll the dough tightly so you don't have big air bubbles after baking. Place seam side down in the pan. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm and draft-free place about 35-40 minutes (or until right before it starts crawling out of the pan - it will rise a bit more in the oven). While bread is rising, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Bake 20-30 minutes or until top of loaf is a deep golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan to a cooling rack. Using a paper towel (or your hands), rub softened butter all over loaf (it will begin to melt as your rub it on the bread). Let cool. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap to store.