I know I change my mind a lot and when it comes to my favorite bread, that is no different. Almost every time I make a new loaf a bread for sandwiches, toast, etc., I think that I've found "The One", that I'll never change to a new recipe or look back. And that never happens. I'll stick with a recipe for a few weeks or months but then something else will pop-up or come along and I'll try it, it will be delicious, and I will declare a new favorite. Perhaps I need to stop trying to find "The One". ;)
This is not a new recipe in the world of bread baking. It's from Ina Garten's cookbook Barefoot Contessa at Home. I was surprised as I flipped through that cookbook, realizing I hadn't made this loaf yet. As with many other Ina recipes I've tried, this one was delicious. Her directions are easy to follow and create a superb loaf of bread that will have your house smelling amazingly delicious. The loaves baked up beautifully with perfect color and just the right crumb for sandwiches and toast. I think I have a recipe that I'll be following for awhile.
Honey White Bread
½ cup warm water (~110°F)
4 ½ tsp. active dry yeast (2 packages)
1 tsp. sugar
1½ cups warm milk (~110°F)
6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1½ tbsp. honey
2 extra-large egg yolks
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. Kosher salt
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the water, yeast, and sugar. Stir and allow to dissolve and foam, about 5 minutes.
2. Add in the milk, butter, and honey. Mix on medium speed until blended.
3. Add the egg yolks, 3 cups of the flour, and the salt. Mix on low speed for about 5 minutes.
4. With the mixer still on a low speed, add 2 more cups of flour. Raise the speed to medium and slowly add just enough of the remaining flour so the dough doesn't stick to the bowl. Knead on medium speed for about 8 minutes, adding flour as necessary. Dough should stick to the bottom of the bowl but not the sides.
5. Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for one,minute, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Roll into a ball. Grease a bowl with butter, put the dough in the bowl, then turn it over so the top is lightly buttered. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and allow it to rise in a warm, draft free place for one hour, until doubled in size.
6. Grease two 9x5-inch loaf pans with butter. Set aside. Divide the dough in half, roll each half into a loaf shape and place each in a prepared pan. Cover again with the damp cloth and allow to rise for an hour, until doubled in size.
7. While the loaves are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F. When the dough has risen, brush the tops with the egg white and bake the breads for 35 to 45 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped. Turn them out of the pans and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
from Barefoot Contessa at Home