Step 5: First Rise
Place your lovely smooth, elastic bread dough in an oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or a clean towel. I think plastic wrap works better because it traps hot air inside and thus, my dough requires a shorter first rise. Be sure to spray the side of the plastic wrap that will touch the dough, so that it doesn’t stick.
If your house is cool, your bread will take longer to rise. In the wintertime when my house is cooler than normal, I like to turn the oven on for 2-3 minutes, then turn it off and let the bowl of dough rise in there. The oven traps the heat for a longtime and it’s the perfect atmosphere for rising dough.
This White Bread recipe only needs to rise for 15 minutes.
Step 6: Punch Dough and Shape it
Punching the dough down quickly releases any air pockets that have developed and helps your bread have a more consistent texture.
Take the dough and cut it evenly in two. If you want to be really precise you can always use a scale to make sure they’re even.
Shape each dough by rolling it gently into a ball and rolling it 2 or 3 times on the counter top so that the ball is more oblong. Tuck the ends underneath so that the loaf looks smooth.
Place in the pan. It doesn’t need to be touching the sides of the pan.
I like to brush an egg wash on the top of this bread to give it that smooth, shiny crust. It’s still soft and it ends up having incredible flavor. Just whisk together 1 whole egg and 1 TBSP water, then brush all over the outside of the dough, making sure to cover the entire surface of the dough.
Step 7: Second Rise
This White Bread only has a 10 minute second rise. I just place the pan on the stove near the oven while it preheats.
Step 8: Bake the Bread
You’re nearly there! This sandwich bread bakes for about 35 minutes. I use a digital cooking thermometer near the end of the baking time to make sure the bread is fully cooked. Fully cooked bread will be 190-200 degrees F. Bread recipes that include milk will need to cook until 200 degrees, but since this one doesn’t, I take it out once it reaches 190 degrees. The top will be golden brown.
Step 9: Cool the Bread
Let the bread cool in the pan it cooked in so it can maintain it’s shape. Once it’s cooled you can transfer it to a cooling rack.
I prefer to cool it for at least 20 minutes. If you try and slice it while it’s too hot, the loaf will get smashed- it’s a soft bread! Open Next Page To Continue Reading