Makes 2 loaves
2 & 1/4 cups warm water (not too hot - it will kill the yeast) around 110 degrees)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 package or 2 & 1/2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
6 & 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose or bread flour)
1 tablespoon olive oil (for coating bowl and top of dough during rise)
- You can make this in a large bowl and knead it yourself OR with a stand mixer and dough hook.
- In a large bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer, pour in the warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar. Stir a couple of times, then sprinkle the yeast on top of the mixture. Cover with a dishtowel and set aside for around 5 minutes or so, until bubbles start to form on top.
- Add in 3 cups of the flour, salt, and the other 3 tablespoons of sugar. Stir by hand or mix on low speed in the stand mixer until fairly smooth.
- Add the remainder of the flour - 1/2 cup at a time until the mixture is a soft dough. If it is too wet, add a bit more flour; if too dry, a tiny bit more water. It should by a little sticky, but not too much.
- If using your stand mixer, mix on low with dough hook for around 5 minutes, stopping every minute or so, to scrape down sides, if necessary. If kneading yourself, turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth - around 10 minutes.
- Place in a well-oiled bowl with a bit of oil brushed on top of the dough (or back into your mixer bowl) and set in a warm place for an hour & 1/2 to two hours, until dough has risen and doubled in size.
- Prepare 2 loaf pans by oiling them with oil or butter on bottom and all sides, then dusting with flour.
- Remove dough from bowl and punch down, dividing into two equal pieces. At this point, I knead it just a bit more with my hands, then shape it into a rectangle. Place in the prepared loaf pans.
- Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree over for around 30 minutes or until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
- Set on a wire rack for around 5 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool on the wire racks.