I don’t usually try “master” recipes, but this one from "Fleischmann's Yeast Best Ever Breads" was a winner. The dough was easy to work with, and quick to make. I liked the idea of making a plain loaf of bread for breakfast toast, and a fancy-shaped loaf for sharing with a soup or pasta meal. It also has directions for pizza crust and rolls. I can visualize this recipe being the go-to recipe for busy housewives – inexpensive and easy to make. It cost me $2.16 to make 2 loaves of very nice bread – or $1.08 each, from basic ingredients without unnecessary additives. If you want a more nutritious loaf, add a tablespoon or two of wheat germ or bran, or a tablespoon of each to the flour.
6 ¼ Cups Flour, All-purpose -- 1# 12 ounces (I use Bread Flour)
3 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Packages Instant Yeast
2 Teaspoons Salt
1 ½ Cups Water -- 120°-130°
½ Cup Milk -- 120°-130°
2 Tablespoons Butter -- softened
In mixer bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Heat water, milk and butter until very warm (120-130°). Gradually add mixture to dry ingredients; beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 1/2 cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Change to dough hook and knead on speed 2 for 6 minutes.
Cover bowl; let rise 10-20 minutes.
Shape as desired, let rise and bake. Remove from pan; let cool on wire rack.
Loaves: (1 1/2 pound) Roll 1/2 of dough to 12 x 7" rectangle. Beginning at short end, roll up tightly as for jelly roll. Pinch ends and seal. Place in greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2" loaf pan, seam side down. Cover, let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 25 minutes. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
Hearth Braid: Divide 1/2 of dough into 3 equal pieces (8 ounces each). Roll into 16" rope. Braid on greased baking sheet. Cover, let rise untildoubled, about 30 minutes. Beat 1 egg with 1 tablespoon water; brush over braid. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes until done. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
Pizza: Grease 14" or 2 12" round pizza pans. Roll 1/2 of dough and fit into prepared pans. Top as desired. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes until done.
Rolls: Use 1/2 of dough. Shape into 10-12 equal pieces and place in greased 8" pan. Cover; let rise until doubled, 30 minutes.
For dinner rolls: Top with egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water; sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.
For onion rolls: Top with egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons instant minced onion.
For either, bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes, until done. Cover with foil during last 5 minutes to prevent excess browning if necessary.
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