INGREDIENTS (for 2 loaves):
2 1/2 cups water (105-115 F)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
7 cups bread flour or 7 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1/4-1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- Pour 1/2 cup of the water into a bowl and mix with yeast and sugar til foamy.
- Let sit for 5 minutes until creamy.
- Put the yeast mixture, rest of the water and 3 1/2 cups of the flour into the mixer with the dough hook.
- Mix slowly until blended then add the rest of the flour.
- Increase speed and scrape down the sides til the dough comes together.
- (If it doesn't add a tbsp of flour at a time til it does.) Add salt and mix at medium speed for 10 minutes (or do half in mixer and half kneading) til dough is smooth and elastic.
- Back in mixer add butter 1 tbsp at a time (dough may come apart, but mixing will pull it back together).
- Turn dough out on lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball then place in a large buttered or oiled bowl.
- Turn dough so it is completely coated in the fat, then cover in plastic for 45 minutes to an hour, til it has doubled in size at room temperature.
- Butter 2 loaf pans.
- Deflate the dough, cut in half and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Roll out into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle.
- With the short end facing you, fold the dough into thirds like a sheet of paper to go into an envelope, creating a roll.
- Pinch the seam closed, and pinch the ends enough so it will fit in the loaf pan.
- Drop in the loaf pan seam side down, and repeat.
- Cover the loaves with buttered plastic wrap and allow to rise again in a warm place (80°F) for 45 minutes, until they double in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and put the rack in the center of the oven.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes til they are honey brown.
- Immediately turn out of pans onto a rack to cool.
- Once almost completely cool, they can be cut.
- Store in a brown paper bag for a day or two.
- Once cut, turn cut side down onto a cutting board and cover with a kitchen towel.