Makes 2 loaves Any way you slice it, bake it, stuff it, or toast it . . . Few prepared foods can rival the wholesome goodness of a home-baked loaf of bread, fresh from the oven. Thinking about it conjures up memories of the hearty aromas that force a smile across your face when you step into a bakery that has just prepared its offering of daily bread. Bread making is an art form. Professional bakers may spend their entire career mastering the preparation of a single type of bread or pastry. If youve never baked bread, now is a great time to start. If you are an experienced bread baker, The Cook and Kitchen Staff have a special treat for you as we offer you some of our best recipes from "Our Daily Bread" collection. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add remaining water, dry milk, vegetable oil, sugar, salt, and 3 cups of flour, and combine with an electric mixer set on medium speed for 3 minutes, or until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, at least 6 to 8 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease entire surface. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch the dough down, and divide in half. Shape into loaves. Place in two greased 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pans. Grease the tops of the loaves lightly, and cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until doubled again, about 1 hour. Bake bread in a pre-heated 375-F Degrees F oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove bread from pans to cool on wire racks. Brush with melted butter or margarine, if desired. Store in an airtight container or bag. May freeze for up to 3 months in an air-tight bag. Kitchen Staff Tip: The critical element of bread making is that you must keep the yeast happy by providing a good growth medium for it. Yeast makes carbon dioxide gas that acts as a leavening agent. The majority of bread recipes start by proofing or growing the yeast, and yeast requires a warm, wet, environment with an ample energy source to multiply and thrive. In todays recipe the energy source is a little sugar. Set the yeast aside until the mixture resembles a creamy foam. This should take only a few minutes. If nothing happens, discard the yeast and begin again, because your yeast did not get fed. Posted to firstname.lastname@example.org by Recipe-a-Day
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