I've had many requests for my bread recipe, so I decided to post it. I have used it for dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls as well as loaves of bread and for years it was a staple at our house—until several of us had to go gluten-free. Go figure! But my husband can still enjoy homemade bread. I love it because it's so budget friendly and uses few ingredients, yet it's delicious and soft, especially right out of the oven. The trick to good bread is in the kneading and it making sure it isn't too sticky or too stiff.
In order to give me her recipe, my friend Elfreda had to measure it out one time when she was baking. She had made this recipe for so many years that she hadn't really ever measured ingredients. She's no longer with us, but her legacy of bread lives on!
I purchase my yeast, oil, and bread flour in bulk at Sam's Club, and I figured that I can make about 25-30 loaves of bread from one 25# bag of unbleached flour.
Elfreda’s White Bread
2 1/2 Cups Warm Water (about 125 degrees)
2 packages of yeast (or granular equivalent to it if you buy in bulk)
1 T. Salt
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 cup canola or olive oil
7-8 cups Bread Flour
Blend all ingredients. Knead 10 minutes. I use my Kitchen Aid with a dough hook and don’t knead quite that long. Knead in extra flour as needed so dough is not sticky. Let rest on counter coated with flour. Cover loosely with towel. Let rise until double in size. Sometimes I form it into loaves now, and other times, I punch in down and let it rise a little longer. It depends on how light you like your bread. It will be more airy if you do the second rising.
Form into loaves to be baked in loaf pans. Or into long loaves to be baked on a cookie sheet or a stone. Let rise until double. Bake at 350 degrees for around 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven temp, until golden brown. Cool on a rack. This recipe will make 3 small loaves in pans, or two large French loaves. It also works for dinner rolls, hoagies, and cinnamon rolls. When we make it, we double it and make 5 large loaves.
Mmm...I can smell the bread right through my screen. Oh wait. That's the bread in the oven. Gotta go check it!