Simple White Bread

Simple White Bread

¾ cup milk

¼ cup sugar

1 pkg (¼ oz) active dry yeast (or 2 ¼ tsp loose yeast)

½ cup unsweetened applesauce, room temperature

1 large egg, room temperature

1 tsp salt

3 ½ cup all-purpose flour

1 tbls butter, melted

In a small microwave safe bowl, mix milk and sugar. Heat in microwave to a temperature of between 110℉ – 115℉. This should take less than a minute and it’s very important to use a thermometer to get the correct temperature. (See my recommendation for kitchen thermometers here).

Dissolve yeast in milk mixture and set aside for 7 minutes to proof. It should “bloom” or form a foam on top.

In the meantime, add flour and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk together with a fork.

When yeast is proofed, add applesauce, egg and yeast mixture to flour mixture. Blend with the mixer until a dough forms, 3-4 minutes.

Turn dough onto a lightly greased surface or pastry mat and use a bench scraper* to fold dough in half repeatedly for 6-8 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. Dough will be sticky.

Turn the dough into a large, lightly greased bowl. Use a pastry brush or cooking spray to lightly oil the top of the dough. Cover with towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise until double in size, about 1 hour.

Gently press fist into the center of dough to deflate and turn into a greased bread pan (8 ½” x 4 ½” x 2 ½”). Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and allow it to rise for 30 minutes. Uncover dough and continue to rise until dough slightly crowns over top of the pan, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 375℉ until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Bread should sound hollow when you tap on the crust and have an internal temperature of 190℉.

Remove immediately from the pan to a cooling rack. Brush top, sides and bottom with melted butter. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

*Bench scrapers (also referred to as bowl scrapers or pastry knives) can be stainless steel or plastic and cost as little as $1.00. If you don’t have one on hand, you can use a sturdy spatula, cake/pie server or butter knife. If you must know the truth, I use a plastic drywall mudding tool as a bench scraper!

Yield: 16 slices, 125 calories per slice

Hack: To tell if bread is proofed enough to bake, press your finger gently to the dough. If indent remains momentarily, then it’s ready. If indent immediately pops back up, it’s not ready yet. If indent sinks lower and remains, it’s over proofed.

Hack: Bread can be sliced and then frozen or refrigerated for longer storage. You can “refresh” the bread by warming it briefly in the microwave or toasting it before use.

Hack: If the bread stales before you’ve finished eating it, run it between your fingers (or use a food processor) to turn it into bread crumbs. Seal in bag or container and store in the freezer for future use.

Hack: This recipe can be turned into sandwich rolls if preferred. After first rise, separate dough into 8 pieces and form into rolls. Allow to rise until double, about 30 minutes.

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4 Replies to “Simple White Bread”

  1. Hello there, White Bread is simple to make, and it’s easy enough that you can triple or quadruple the recipe so you can have freshly baked bread every day! Really, you can! It is soft and delicious enough to be enjoyed on its own or with just a touch of butter. If you love homemade bread, then this is the recipe for you.

    1. Since I have started making my own bread, I rarely buy it at the store as the quality of home-baked is far superior!  If you have a large family (or a bread-loving family!), it may be advantageous to make more than one loaf but I do have a couple of caveats:

      1). Homemade bread stales faster than store-made bread because there are no preservatives.  If stored at room temperature, you’ll begin to notice a difference in the texture after 3 or so days.  It will also mold more quickly, especially in more humid climates.

      2).  Don’t make more loaves than you can bake at one time.  Bread should be baked when leavening has reached its peak.  Leaving a loaf to stand longer may allow it to go past its peak, causing it to fall or creating an undesirable consistency in the finished product.

      Although bread dough needs time to rise and to bake, the process itself is fairly hands-off.  This is especially true if you use a stand mixer (on low speed) and dough hook to mix and knead.  If you’re home for a few hours at a stretch, there’s no reason that you can’t let the bread do its thing while you do yours!

  2. I am always making different types of cakes and muffins, but I have never tried any breads. I think because I have always thought working with yeast might be a complicated matter. Based on your recipe, it doesn’t seem like making this bread is complicated at all. In checking out the ingredients, I was just wondering what does applesauce do to the mixture ?

    1. I was also afraid of working with bread but one day I decided to take the plunge…and found out that it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be!  The applesauce in this particular recipe adds moisture to the finished loaf and just a touch of sweetness.  Check back in after you make it and let me know what you think!

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