They loved shaping their portion of dough into first a rectangle and then rolling it into a cylinder and putting it in a mini-loaf pan. We let it rise in a slightly warm over for about 1 1/2 hours and then baked it for 30 minutes.
Lucky for us, my sister had just brought back home-grown, homemade blackberry jam from my mother's house. We ate nearly all the bread (and jam!) in one afternoon. Jonah asked me if Grandma had some secret ingredient because her jam was SO GOOD!
This recipe is my favorite white bread. It comes from Baking with Julia and is so good hot out of the oven. It's our absolute favorite for taste and texture. It's not one that holds up very well over the week, so I usually only make it if I know we are going to eat it in the next few days, or if I'm giving one of the loaves away.
Classic White Bread
2 1/2 cups water, warm (105-115F)
1 package (about 1 T.) active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
6-7 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp salt
4 tbsp butter, very soft
Combine 1/2 cup of the water with the yeast and sugar in a large bowl and let stand until foamy - about 10 minutes.
Add the remaining water, 5 cups of flour and the salt to the yeast mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon (or in a mixer), adding the remaining flour a few tablespoons at a time, until dough pulls cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. Add soft butter 1 T. at a time. The dough will start to come apart, but keep mixing and it will come back together. Knead until smooth and elastic.
Shape dough into a ball and place in a large, lightly oiled bowl to rise until doubled, about 1- 1 1/2 hours. (If you mix in a mixer, you can skip this step of rising. I put the dough directly into two loaf pans and place in a slightly warm oven. Let it rise for 1-2 hours or until it looks right and then bake.)
Butter two 8x4 inch loaf pans and set aside. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and divide in two equal portions. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough out into a 9 inch wide x 12 inch tall rectangle, with the short side towards you. Fold one third of the dough down, then fold it down again. Pinch the bottom seam to seal. Your rectangle should be approximately 9x4 now. Turn the seam side up. Fold each end over about 1/2 inch, tuck in any loose ends and pinch to seal. Place the loaf seam side down into a greased 8x4 inch loaf pan.
Cover loaf pans lightly with oiled plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes. Dough will rise above the top of the pan.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375F.
Place loaves in oven and bake for 36-40 minutes. The loaves will be golden and will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom when they are done.
Remove loaves from pans immediately and brushed with butter for a shiny top.
Makes 2 loaves