White Bread

Before I got my first automatice bread maker this is what I made as often as I had time for. A wonderful soft white bread, tastes and smells delicious.

Preparation Time: About 4 hours
Baking Time: 25 to 30 minutes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease and flour 2 loaf pans
Makes 2 loaves

1 3/4 cup lukewarm liquid, milk, water or potato water

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon salt

In large bowl mix all together.  Add 2 packages dry yeast, stir until dissolved and let soak for 5 minutes.  Add 2 tablespoons shortening.  Then add 7 to 7 1/2 cups flour in 2 additions.  When dough begins to get hard to stir, pour onto well-floured board and knead for about 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic.  Add small amounts of flour as needed but do not let it get too stiff.  Place in a greased bowl and turn greased side up.  Cover and let rise in warm area.  In electric oven, place a cake pan filled with about 1 inch of hot water on the rack underneath the bowl in the cold oven.  In gas stove set near pilot light.  Let rise until double, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Punch dough, fold sides of cough inward and turn dough over.  Let rise again until about double, about 30 to 45 minutes.  Grease hands for easier handling.  Place dough on lightly floured board and cut in half with a sharp knife.  Let rest, covered for another 10 minutes.  Flatten each half into an oval, fold in half lengthwise.  Flatten over dough to get out air bubbles.  Lift dough by ends and pull slightly slapping table several times to elongate to about 15x15 inches.  Bring the 2 ends in your hand to center, overlapping them and seal them by pressing down firmly with knuckles.  Tuck under sides and seal to make a nice loaf.  Place in 2 greased bread pans; brush tops lightly with margarine.  Let rise again until double, about 1 hour.  Place loaves in oven not touching each other or sides of oven.  Start with cold oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until tops are nicely browned.  Remove from pan immediately and let cool on wire racks.  Brush tops with butter.