Ready in 3 hours
White bread like my Nanny used to make.
Top-ranked recipe named "Old-fashioned White Bread"
Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl. Stir in powdered milk, sugar and salt. Melt the butter.
Stir in 2 cups of flour. At this point it will be approximately the consistency of cake batter. Add the butter and keep stirring. Stir in flour ? cup at a time. It gradually becomes more difficult to stir. Once the dough is forming a rough ball and it''s too difficult to stir, spread about ? of flour on a clean countertop and dump the dough onto it.
Clean Bowl: Run water into the bowl and soak while you're kneading the dough.
Knead: Flour your hands and the dough and begin kneading. Push the dough away and down towards the counter; pull back with fingerips up and over the mass of dough; then down and away again. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. Usually this takes at least 6 minutes. Avoid adding too much flour at this stage. Add just enough to keep it from sticking.
Prepare Bowl for Rising: Rinse out and dry the bowl. Spray it with non-stick spray. I use butter flavored spray. You can also oil the bowl with vegetable oil or grease it with butter or shortening.
Let Rise: Place the dough ball in the bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and put it in a warm place to rise. I usually put it in the microwave because it's warm, away from drafts and out of the way. Depending on temperature, it should take about 1 - 2 hours to rise double. When it doesn't immediately move to fill 2 finger holes jabbed into the surface, it's ready.
Lightly flour counter and dump risen dough onto the flour. Knead a couple of times to get rid of the larger air bubbles. Let the dough relax while you prepare the pans.
Spray 2 standard loaf pans with non-stick spray or grease with butter or shortening.
Divide the dough into 2 roughly equal-sized balls. Let one rest while you form the first loaf.
To form loaves, press the dough out into a roughly rectangular slab. Fold and pinch together the sides and ends until it's a fat snake the size of the loaf pan. Place each loaf in its pan with folds and pinches facing the bottom of the pan. The top and side surfaces should be as smooth as possible.
Second rise: Place the loaf pans in a warm spot covered with a kitchen towl and let rise until double. It should take 45 minutes to an hour. They'll rise over the tops of the pans and when pressed gently won't fill immediately when properly risen.
Preheat the oven to 350?.
Optional, Slash & Brush: Make a long, smooth cut in the center of the surface of each loaf, just barely breaking the skin of the dough. Use a very sharp, thin knife or a razor blade. This usually prevents cracking. You may brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until golden brown.
Cool before slicing. If you can't wait, the bread may be a little gummy.