Yield: 3 loaves, or 2 loaves and a dozen rolls.
The milk in the recipe not only adds protein and minerals, but it also creates a tender, spongy texture, a greater sweetness and a golden crust. The dough rises high in the bowl, promising plenitude.
Scald 3 cups fresh milk with 3 tablespoons butter. Set aside to cool.
Dissolve 2 packages dry yeast (2-3/4 teaspoons per pack) in 1/2 cup warm water.
Combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 3 tablespoons sugar in large mixing bowl. To this mixture add the dissolved yeast and milk.
Gradually stir in about 7 more cups of flour. (I substitute 1-1/2 cups or 2 cups whole wheat bread flour for some all-purpose.)
Knead until dough is smooth and elastic (about 6 minutes), then set the dough to rise in large bowl in a warm place until it has doubled in size (1-1/2 hours). Punch down and let rise again (about 1 hour). After the second rising, form into loaves and let rise again in bread pans. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and bake until loaves are nicely browned and sound hollow when turned out of the pan and tapped on the bottom, about 35 minutes.
Delicious when warm, in sandwiches, as toast, and when several days old, as French toast.
The Yankee Cook though glad that chewy, rustic breads of the European type are becoming more widely available, fears that old-fashioned farmhouse white bread has replaced them on the endangered species list, so she was happy to see this one. It makes great butter rolls, too. Just roll out a loaf’s worth, spread liberally with melted butter, and roll like a jelly roll. Cut 1-1/2 inch lengths, put them cut-side down in well-buttered muffin tins, and bake at 425 degrees F until risen and well browned, about 20 minutes.
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