Here is a picture of two white loaves and two challa loaves. The challa was fun to make and even more fun to weave with six strands. I did hoped it would be a bit more dense, eggy and sweet than this was. It was yummy and quick, but not what I was looking for I guess.
This recipe makes two loaves. I have only recently begun doubling it and getting five loaves out of it. An energy saver - both my energy and my oven!
I played with the recipe a bit, thinking it called for too much sugar but have since gone back to using the full 2/3 cup. I have replaced the sugar with 1/2 cup of honey and it was okay too. I have replaced up to a cup of flour with other grains (flax meal, wheat germ, oat bran, whatever is on-hand) and it has come out well, very well in fact.
I use my KitchenAid mixer to to most of the kneading. I let the yeast proof in the mixer boal, add the oil, salt and six cups of the flour all at once (not what the recipe says) and let it go on level 2 for about six minutes. Then, I take the dough out and knead it old-school. I love this part, you can really feel it coming together and when it gets too tight and when it's a smooth dough you know you're going to have great bread. I spray oil the mixer bowl (technically it's still dirty because I haven't washed it yet, but there's nothing in it or stuck to it) put the dough in it, grease the dough lightly, cover with a glass pot cover or plastic wrap. I've heated the oven up for 1.5 minutes and the oven is off but slightly warm. Rise for one hour, punch down, shape, rise in greased pans for about 30 minutes, heat oven up, bake 30 minutes (on the dot in my oven with my pans - my old dark bread pan requires five extra minutes to brown the crust), take out of pans immediately, let cool and eat.
Amish White Bread
2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 cups bread flour
-In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
-Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
-Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
-Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.
You really should let it cool before you slice into it and slather it with salted butter or peanut butter or your Nanny's homemade jam (we're so spoiled). If you cannot wait and must cut it open right away, turn the bread cut-side down on the cutting board until it is cool. Bag it, freeze it, eat it. SO GOOD!
Important tip when baking bread that I learned from my Mum is to take the bread out of the pan immediately after taking it out of the oven to keep the crust crisp and not soggy. She used to butter the top of the bread right away too, but I find that messy to work with the loaves after the fact, so I don't do that.