There is nothing better than a slice of fresh bread and a cup of tea on a damp rainy day. Period. End of story. The aroma of the bread as it bakes always makes my mouth water in sheer anticipation. Even know that I’m thinking about it I can feel my saliva get excited.
As a slight caveat to my pervious statement: there is nothing worse on a cold, rainy day than a disappointing loaf of bread after you have just been tempted by it’s delicious sent as it cooks. The moral of the story is to always make good bread. This, however, is easier said than done. Much easier! Even with the invention of my favourite appliance the bread maker many a bricks get turned out in place of bread. I could probably line a patio with the number of failed loaves of bread I have made. This is why I am offering up to you the BEST basic white bread recipe EVER! Every time I make this bread it always turns out perfectly. Light with a crunchy crust, a slight hint of sweetness and enough structure to cut thin slices. Heaven. The key to this bread’s texture is allowing the yeast to ferment in warm milk for a while until it gets nice and fluffy so it can produce lots of tiny little bubbles throughout the loaf. But don’t take my word for it, go directly to your kitchen or wherever your bread-maker lives (mine is in the living room right now) and make this bread!
Makes 1 loaf
- 3 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast
- 1 1/3 cup milk
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2 tbsp butter in pieces
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
Note that these instructions are for a bread machines that are designed to have the wets added first and then the dries. If you bread-maker calls for the dries first, let the yeast ferment with the milk in a separate bowl to be poured over the dries at the very end.
- Add the honey and sugar to the milk in a small pot or a microwaveable bowl.
- Heat the milk until warm and both the sugar and honey have dissolved.
- Measure the yeast out into the bread machine (or a bowl if you need to add the wets last).
- Once the milk mixture has reached body temperature (test this by dabbing some onto your wrist), pour the milk over the yeast. Let sit for at least 10 minutes until the yeast gets nice and frothy. If the yeast doesn’t froth, it could be because the milk was too hot and killed the yeast. Please don’t skimp on this step, the bread will be SO much better if you let the yeast sit. Your stomach will thank you later.
- As you let the yeast ferment, mix the flour and salt together.
- Break the butter into the flour mixture and then using your hands, or a pastry knife, evenly distribute the butter.
- After 10 or more minutes have passed and the yeast-milk mixture is nice a frothy, add the flour to the bread machine.
- Set the bread-maker to it’s basic white bread or basic dark (I prefer the crust on the basic dark) setting and let it do it’s thing.
- Once the cycle is done (mine takes about 3 hours and 20 minutes) turn the loaf out onto a cutting board and let it cool there. Leaving it in the bread machine to cool often deflates the crust and can lead to a slightly soggy loaf.
- Cut yourself a nice, warm, thick slice and enjoy!