One simple recipe is all you need to bake four types of bread, each one hearty, wholesome, and delicious. See our Classic White Bread how-to for step-by-step photos.
- Yield: Makes 2 loaves
Source: Martha Stewart Living, February 2010
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (two 1/4-ounce envelopes)
- 2 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees)
- 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons honey
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for bowl, pans, and brushing
- 7 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface and dusting
- 4 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Sprinkle yeast over 1/2 cup water. Add 2 teaspoons honey. Whisk until yeast dissolves. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle or dough-hook attachment. Add butter and remaining 1 3/4 cups water and 3 tablespoons honey. Whisk flour with salt; add 3 cups to yeast. Mix on low speed until smooth. Mix in 1 cup raisins. Add remaining 4 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing until dough comes away from sides of bowl and forms a ragged, slightly sticky ball. Butter a large bowl.
Knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic but still slightly tacky, about 5 minutes. Shape into a ball. Transfer to prepared bowl; cover with plastic wrap.
Let dough stand in a warm place until it doubles in volume (it should not spring back when pressed), about 1 hour. Butter two 4 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch loaf pans. Punch down dough; divide in half.
Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Roll out each dough half into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle (about 8 by 10 inches); lightly brush with water, and sprinkle evenly with cinnamon-sugar mixture, leaving a 1/2-inch border around edge. Starting with 1 short side, tightly roll dough into a log. Seal edges with fingertips, and tuck ends under. Transfer dough, seam side down, to pan. Repeat with remaining dough. Brush each loaf with butter, or dust with flour for a rustic look. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drape loaves with plastic. Let stand until dough rises about 1 inch above tops of pans, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake, rotating pans after 20 minutes, until tops are golden brown, about 45 minutes. Transfer to wire racks. Let cool slightly; turn out loaves. Let cool completely before slicing.