“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” James Beard, American cook
There’s something about really good bread that just makes it seem as if all is right in the world. That’s reason enough to make some this weekend.
Naan, tortillas, baguettes, cinnamon-raisin toast, gluten-free bagels. They can all be good. But, this recipe (of Mexican origin) is my absolute favorite for a basic, daily bread.
The taste, the texture. Toast it, add some oil or warm butter and drizzle it with honey. Pure bliss.
In large bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups white flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 packages dry yeast.
On the stove, heat 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup milk slowly. (Substitute canola oil for the butter and nut milk for the dairy milk if you are dairy free; it is almost as good.) Stir constantly, until smooth and creamy. Add the liquids and 4 eggs to the flour mixture and stir well.
Gradually add another 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups white flour and stir until dough becomes too stiff to stir anymore. In the bowl or on a floured board, knead the dough, adding flour as needed to prevent stickiness, for 8-10 minutes. Dough will be golden and wonderfully springy when it is sufficiently kneaded.
Oil the dough, place in clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let rise one hour in a warm place. When dough is doubled, punch it down and split into two pieces. Shape each piece into a rectangle, roll it into a tube and place in a buttered (oiled for dairy free) loaf pan. Cover and let rise for another hour, until nearly double in size.
Bake the loaves in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 40 minutes until golden brown on top. Cool on racks. Slices well while warm. Or, wait for loaves to cool and enjoy as toast.
Two notes: This recipe is for two loaves. Experienced bread makers can successfully double this recipe and freeze extra loaves. Also, if you want to jazz this recipe up, check out a cinnamon-raisin version in my recipes archives. It’s under the “breads” category and is labeled Circle-the-Wagons Bread.