I read about baking bread, asked for advice from my mom and grandma and tried out several recipes. The loaves continued to come out dense, short and disappointing.
However, yesterday I decided to attempt to make bread again, after about a two-month hiatus.
And I got it right!
I fell asleep when it was rising in the loaf pans, and it rose about 45 minutes longer than I was going to allow it to. Perhaps under-rising has been my problem all along.
When the bread came out of the oven, it was soft, moist and fluffy. Nate actually applauded me when he cut it to go with our broccoli-cheese soup last night.
The recipe is one that I found on Pinterest. So here is what I followed:
5 teaspoons dry active yeast
3/4 cup warm water plus 2 2/3 cups warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
9-10 cups flour
Mix yeast with 3/4 cup water (about 110-115 degrees) and proof. Then add the rest of the water, sugar, salt and melted butter. Mix in enough flour to create a dough but leave it sticky.
Turn dough onto a floured surface and need with additional flour until the dough is still sticky when pulled apart, about five minutes.
Put dough in greased bowl, cover and let rise in warm spot about one hour.
Punch down. Split into two sections, flatten and roll up each, placing in greased loaf pans. Cover and let rise 1 hour 45 minutes.
Bake about 30 minutes at 400 degrees. When you knock on the top of the bread and it sounds hollow, it's done.
Then, hopefully, it looks like this!