This really is The Best Basic Bread and one of my favorite recipes. It’s simple, it’s soft, and it tastes amazing! I love making my own bread for my family because I know exactly the ingredients that are going into it, it’s frugal, and it can be transformed into so many different things! Everyone should definitely be making their own breads!
The Best Basic Bread
You don't have to have a stand mixer with a dough hook to make this bread, but that's the way I make it. It will still work if making by hand! If making by hand use a large bowl, if using a stand mixer, use your bowl for the mixer. Place your active dry yeast, 1/4 teaspoon of sugar, and warm water into your bowl.
WARM WATER TIP: If the water is too hot for the tip of your finger, it's too hot for the yeast. I let my water run for a few seconds to get hot. I feel it with my finger, and if I can't hold my finger in the water for at least 10 seconds without it being too hot, then I make it slightly cooler. When you can withstand the heat from the water for at least 10 seconds, that's a great temperature for the yeast.
When your yeast is foamy (this will take about 5 minutes) it's time to add more ingredients.
Add the salt, vegetable oil, and granulated sugar to your yeast mixture.
Add 4 cups of your all purpose flour and stir with a large spoon to combine.
If using your stand mixer: place your bowl into your stand and attach your dough hook.
Turn your mixer on low and slowly start adding more flour 1/2 cup at a time. I use in total about 6 1/4 cups on average (so I add 2 1/4 cups once it's on the mixer).
Once the dough starts to clean the bottom of the bowl, you've added enough flour. This will take approximately 3-5 minutes.
If using your hands: Add 1 cup of flour and start to mix into the dough. Turn the dough out onto your counter or board and begin kneading. Add 1/2 cup of flour at a time until it is no longer extremely sticky and forms a ball. This will take approximately 6-8 minutes of kneading.
With a paper towel, rub oil into a new large clean bowl.
Place your dough into the clean, oiled bowl.
There may be a bit of dough stuck in the bowl and that's okay.
Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let sit for approximately 1- 1 1/2 hours or until it's doubled in size. The temperature and humidity of your home will affect how long this takes. The colder it is, the longer it will take.
Once your dough has doubled in size, punch it down in the middle.
Take one half of the dough and place it onto a lightly floured surface.
Lightly spray or rub your bread pans with oil.
Roll the dough into a rectangle that is roughly the width of your bread pan.
Roll the rectangle up from short end (width).
Place into your prepared bread pan.
Repeat this process with your other half of your dough.
Again, cover your bread pans with plastic wrap or a towel.
Let it sit again for about 1- 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Once preheated, place your risen bread into the oven and bake for 30-36 minutes.
How to tell if it's done: lightly tap on the top of your loaf, and if it sounds hollow, it's done!
Remove from the oven. Remove both loaves from the pans and let cool on a cooling rack.
Once cooled, slice and enjoy!