Don’t mess with a good thing is a philosophy too often ignored, particularly when it comes to food. To start out tinkering with a recipe before you have even tried the original version rubs me the wrong way. Only when you know what you are starting with can you find areas for improvement and decide the best way to go about making it happen. Take the best white bread for example, which really is the best white bread! I simply adore it! The loaves rise high and have a fluffy, tender interior that is great for sandwiches and it makes incredible BLTs.

Since we rarely eat white bread, I decided it was time to experiment with part whole grain flour in this recipe. While I was at it, I subbed the usual all-purpose with bread flour instead to give a chewier texture because my one criticism of the original version is that is just a touch on the crumbly side. The higher gluten content in the bread flour remedies the textural problem nicely and this new version turned out beautifully. Since this is such a quick recipe to make with no starter or sponge and a fast rise time, this effectively eliminates the need for store bought loaves in our household. I hope you love this as much as we do!

Ingredients

  • 4½ tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • ¾ cup plus 2 2/3 cup warm water, divided (105-115˚ F)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 4-5 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 3-4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (for brushing)

Directions

  • 01

    To make the dough, dissolve the yeast in ¾ cup of warm water in a large mixing bowl (use your mixer bowl if kneading with a stand mixer and use the dough hook).  Stir in the sugar, salt, remaining 2 2/3 cups water, butter, and the bread flour.  Mix (on low speed) until a dough begins to come together.  Gradually add in the white whole wheat flour about ½-1 cup at a time at first, more gradually with the last cup, until the dough is smooth and slightly tacky but not sticky.  Continue to knead about 6-8 minutes, until a smooth ball of dough has formed.

  • 02

    Transfer the dough to a lightly greased large bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel.  Let rise in a warm place until the dough has nearly doubled in bulk, about 60-90 minutes.

  • 03

    Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently punch down to deflate the dough.  Divide into two equal portions.  Press one portion of dough into a rectangle, about 9 x 15 inches.  Starting on a short end, roll the dough up tightly into a log and pinch the seam shut.  Roll the ends under the loaf.  Transfer to a greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and press down gently to reach the sides of the pan.  Repeat with the second portion of dough.  Cover the pans loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let rise once more until nearly doubled, about 30-45 minutes.

  • 04

    Place an oven rack in the lowest position and preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Just before baking, lightly brush the tops of the loaves with some of the melted butter.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Rotate the pans 180˚ and continue baking until an instant read thermometer reads 190˚ F in the center of the loaf, about 15-18 minutes more.  (If the tops of the loaves reach your desired golden brown before the baking time is complete, cover the tops loosely with foil to prevent over-browning.)  Transfer the pans to wire racks to cool.  Let cool briefly, then turn the loaves out onto the racks.  If desired, brush lightly with additional melted butter.  Let cool completely.

Source

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