Makes 2 loaves
5 1/4 cups white bread flour
2 – 4 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. (rounded) saf-instant yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp. oil
2 cups warm water (somewhere between 100 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit)
1. Mix dry ingredients. Add oil and water. Mix for 1 minute and then check the consistency of the dough. The dough should be very sticky. If it is too dry, add more water.
2. Mix for 5 minutes. (Do not add any more flour after the dough has finished mixing.)
3. Spray kneading surface with cooking spray and turn dough out onto surface. Knead dough briefly until it has a smooth even consistency (this will only take several turns of the dough to accomplish).
4. Divide dough into 2 pieces (or more if you wish to have smaller loaves) and shape loaves into desired shapes and place on greased baking sheets. Cover with a large dish towel and let rise for 25 minutes.
5. While loaves are rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. When loaves are ready to go into the oven, use a sharp knife (you can lightly spray your knife with cooking spray to prevent dragging) to make several slashes in the top. Make each cut about 1/4-inch deep at a 30 degree angle. Bake loaves for 25 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
* Why bread flour? In short, bread flour helps make bread loftier and chewier. For a more longer explanation, read this article on the difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour.
* Why saf-instant yeast? Saf-instant yeast is a high-potency, fast-acting yeast that can be added directly to your dry ingredients without it having to be put in a starter first.
* Why slash the top of my loaves? bread101 explains, “First, for a beautiful visual appearance and second, this scoring allows the dough to expand quickly during baking so it reaches its maximum volume. It also prevents a ‘blow out’ from happening if bubbles appear under the crust and then burst.”