- 1 cup (240ml) water, warmed to about 110°F
- 1/4 cup (60ml) whole milk, warmed to about 110°F
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (7g) Platinum Yeast from Red Star instant yeast (1 standard packet)
- 2 Tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
- 4 Tablespoons (1/4 cup; 60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 and 1/4 cups (406g) all-purpose flour or bread flour
- 1.Prepare the dough: Whisk the warm water, warm milk, yeast, and sugar together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- Add the butter, salt, and 1 cup flour. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add another cup of flour. Beat on medium speed until relatively incorporated (there may still be chunks of butter). Add the remaining flour and beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. If you do not own a mixer, you can mix this dough with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula. It will take a bit of arm muscle!
- Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer and beat for an additional 3 minutes or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 3 minutes.
- 1st Rise: Lightly grease a large bowl with olive oil or nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise in a relatively warm environment for 1-2 hours or until double in size. (I always let it rise on the counter. Takes about 2 hours.)
- Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
- Shape the bread: When the dough is ready, punch it down to release the air. Lightly flour a work surface, your hands, and a rolling pin. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 8×15 inches. It does not have to be perfect– in fact, it will probably be rounded on the edges. That’s ok! Roll it up into an 8 inch log and place in the prepared loaf pan.
- 2nd Rise: Cover shaped loaf with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise until it’s about 1 inch above the top of the loaf pan, about 1 hour. (See video and photo above for a visual.)
- Adjust oven rack to a lower position and preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). (It’s best to bake the bread towards the bottom of the oven so the top doesn’t burn.)
- Bake the bread: Bake for 30-34 minutes or until golden brown on top. If you gently tap on the loaf, it should sound hollow. For a more accurate test, the bread is done when an instant read thermometer reads the center of the loaf as 195°F (90°C). If you notice the top browning too quickly, loosely tent the pan with aluminum foil. (I usually add aluminum foil over the loaf around the 20 minute mark.) Remove from the oven and allow bread to cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving. Feel free to let it cool completely before slicing, too.
- Cover leftover bread tightly and store at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
- Doubling this recipe: For best results, I recommend making two separate batches of dough. However, if you want to double the recipe all in 1 mixing bowl, double all of the ingredients except for the yeast and butter. Use 3 and 1/4 teaspoons yeast and 6 Tablespoons of butter.
- Flour: You can use all-purpose flour or bread flour. All-purpose flour is convenient for most, but bread flour produces a chewier loaf of bread and I highly recommend it. The bread is still soft no matter which you use. Either flour is fine and there are no other changes to the recipe if you use one or the other. I don’t recommend whole wheat flour because it doesn’t have the same baking properties as white flour or bread flour (the gluten levels are different). It’s best to stick with bread flour, but you can try half whole wheat flour and half bread flour (or all-purpose flour). The texture and taste will be different.
- Overnight Instructions: Prepare the recipe through step 6. Cover the shaped bread tightly and refrigerate for up to about 15 hours. At least 3 hours before you need the bread the next day, remove from the refrigerator, keep covered, and allow to rise on the counter for about 1-2 hours before baking. Alternatively, you can let the dough have its 1st rise in the refrigerator overnight. Cover the dough tightly and place in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and allow the dough to fully rise for 2 more hours. Continue with step 5.