Breads and Crackers

Indiana Basic White Bread

IMG_3764 

I was looking through various bread books yesterday.  I wasn't sure what I wanted to make, but we were out of bread, or almost out, so I needed to bake something.

I actually found two recipes, in two different books, that I decided to make.  The first one I found will be posted another time (because it's not done yet – it's a two-day process), so today I give you the second one.


IMG_3713  

Now, I've made soft white bread before.  See here and here for example.

But THIS bread, according to my husband (the soft white bread afficianado in residence), is THE SOFTEST BREAD ever to grace a sandwich.

So if you're in search of the ultimate in edible yeasted softness, you might want to give this recipe a try.

Indiana Basic White Bread comes from a paperback volume by Mary Gubser entitiled America's Bread Book.  To be honest, this is probably the first recipe I've used from it.  I'm not even sure where I got it – maybe from my mom, or Bill's mom, or maybe I picked it up somewhere when I was in my first major bread-baking obsessive period about 12 years ago.  Who knows.  But there it was, at one end of the shelf.  And so I opened it.

The chapters are divided by region of the United States, and then subdivided by state.  Because I live in RI, that was the first section I looked at, and, not surprisingly, there were several recipes for jonnycakes and one for New England Brown Bread.  

Not what I was looking for.

I flipped through the pages, just looking for something plain and simple, and in the "Ohio Valley" section, I found this recipe for Indiana Basic White Bread on pages 238-239.

And yes, it's very basic. 

(My notes are in bold italics below.)

Ingredients:

4 packages active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

2 1/4 cups warm milk or potato water (I used the milk)

2 1/2 tsp salt

3 T sugar

1/4 cup melted butter (unsalted)

7-8 cups unbleached white flour

And here's what you do:

In a small bowl combine the yeast and water, stirring until dissolved, and set aside.  Combine milk, salt, sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl.  Blend well and add the yeast mixture.  (I dissolved the yeast in the water and some of the milk, then added that to the rest of the milk in my mixing bowl. 

IMG_3711

I whisked the melted butter and sugar together

IMG_3712

and added them to the milk/water/yeast.  And I mixed the salt with the first 3 cups of flour added to the bowl.)  Beat in 3 cups of flour and gradually add sufficient flour to make a soft, workable dough that pulls away from sides of the bowl.  Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and resilient, about 10 minutes.  Round into a ball and place in a warm buttered bowl, turning to coat the top.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. 

IMG_3714 

IMG_3718

Knead down, re-cover, and let rise again, about 30 minutes.

IMG_3719

Turn dough out on a floured surface and divide into 3 equal portions.  Knead each, cover, and let rest 10-15 minutes.  Butter three 8-inch loaf pans.  Shape dough into loaves and place in pans.  Cover and let rise to tops of pans.  (I used my 9 x 5 loaf pans because that's what I have.  I formed two loaves, and then cut the remaining third of the dough into small pieces, rolled them into balls and put them in the loaf pan.  I wanted rolls, kind of.)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Bake loaves about 35 minutes.  Turn loaves out on wire racks to cool.

IMG_3733 

IMG_3734 

We had about half of the lumpy loaf with chowder that I made that night for dinner.  Most of one loaf is also gone now, and the other loaf is in the freezer.

It's great for cold sandwiches or grilled cheese sandwiches or toast.  Or, if you're my husband, it's soothing just to sit somewhere quiet, with a blankie, and rub the bread against your cheek. 

IMG_3765

I suppose I shouldn't have shared that part.

Anyway – if you want to try another soft white bread recipe, this one's a nice one!

22 thoughts on “Indiana Basic White Bread

  1. That must be some really soft bread… “it’s soothing just to sit somewhere quiet, with a blankie, and rub the bread against your cheek.” Love the idea of the Lumpy Loaf. Does it smell real yeasty? The hubby hates it when he opens his lunch and everyone in the break room thinks he’s drinking beer. He says they try to beat him up and take his lunch away from him, brings back all those childhood nightmares. The price of the cookbook is unreal!

  2. I bet that lumpy loaf went really well with the chowder – comfort food at its best. My parents are big fans of soft white bread so I’ll keep this recipe in mind for their next visit. Thanks!

  3. I just made bread for the first time last week and it was wonderful! My recipes only made one loaf though which was gone in no time, like looks great for making extras!

  4. I was thinking it was probably due to the milk and the melted butter, but now that you’ve brought it up, maybe the yeast contributed as well.  I should try the recipe with less yeast and see what happens!

  5. Beth, I am sorry to say that I don’t.  I’ve never needed to make wheat-free bread, so I just haven’t.  But my cousin’s wife recently discovered that she can’t have gluten, so that, and your question, are both good incentives for me to give gluten/wheat-free recipes a try in the near future.

    Sorry I couldn’t be more help right now!

  6. I think this bread looks A-MAZ-ING and will be attempting it posthaste… But one query… Would it work to make 2 big loaves instead of 3 more normal-sized loaves? I only have 2 loaf pans (teensy kitchen, no cabinet space for gadgetry and kitchen accoutrements). How much longer do you think it would require for baking? I’m a bread baking neophyte so help is very, very welcome!

  7. Hi Janet, 
    I think, rather than making 2 big loaves (because they’d be REALLY big) might be to make two loaves and then, say, smaller rolls, which you could do either by cutting the remaining third of dough into portions (8-12, depending on how big you want the rolls) and then form them into balls and either place in greased muffin tins or on a parchment-lined sheet pan.  I’d bake those for 20 minutes to start and then check, if necessary, every 5 minutes or so until they are a nice golden brown.

    Hope that helps!

  8. I only have glass loaf pans — do you think I’ll get the same result with these? If not, do you have any recommendations for loaf/bread pans? I really want to avoid a thick and/or hard crust — my husband [BTW, also a Bill] dislikes homemade bread because the crust isn’t the same as store-bought bread.

  9. Honestly?  I’ve never baked bread in a glass pan, but I would think it would be less likely to become hard or tough in that than in metal.  The ones I use are either aluminum or stainless steel.  You can also brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter after it comes out of the pan and then cover with a dishtowel while it cools – that would give you a soft top crust.

  10. I tried your suggestions in my glass pans, and they turned out well. I used two 9×5 pans, and one 8.5×4.5 — I actually preferred the smaller pan — it produced a loaf that was more square [which was better for my Bill’s Kraft cheese slices, lol]. I’ll still buy bread from the store, but this recipe [and helpful instructions!] has definitely made me want to make this bread regularly for the sandwiches I send to work with my husband [he LOVED it, and asked when I would be making more!]. I suspect it would be awesome in a bread pudding, or used for making French toast! Thanks!

  11. Hi,

    I wanna make this recipe tomorrow…
    Just want to ask:

    #1: For the 4 package of yeast, whats the weight of 1 packet? Because for different brands, each packet have different weight, some are 11g/pkt and others are 7g/pkt.. May i know what is the weight for this recipe?

    #2: 3T Sugar is in tablespoon, correct?

  12. I love this recipe! amazing i did the lumpy loaf like you did too but i drizzed honey and my “apple pie syrup” in between the “lumps before baking it and it was amazing! like a pull apart sweet bread! thank you so much for sharing this with us, and my husband is cuddling the bread as we speak over in the corner lol

  13. i used 3 tablespoons of sugar in mine and it came out great! looked just like the pictures here and tasted amazing!

    also i dont use the packets of yeast i buy the jars so the general rule i follow with that is one pack equals one teaspoon. i dont know if thats helpful or not depending on what you plan on using but its still a good general rule to remember! good luck!

Leave a Reply