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One simple recipe is all you need to bake four types of bread, each one hearty, wholesome, and delicious.
To make bread without a stand mixer, stir together ingredients with a wooden spoon in a large bowl. All the loaves can be stored at room temperature for three days or frozen up to three months.
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What You'll Need
- 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
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Sprinkle yeast over 1/2 cup water. Add 2 teaspoons honey. Whisk until yeast dissolves. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
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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.
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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.
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Knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic but still slightly tacky, about 5 minutes.
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Shape into a ball.
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Transfer to prepared bowl; cover with plastic wrap.
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Let dough stand in a warm place until it doubles in volume (it should not spring back when pressed), about 1 hour.
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Butter two 4 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch loaf pans. Punch down dough.
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Divide in half.
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Shape 1 dough half into an 8 1/2-inch-long rectangle (about 1/2 inch thick). Fold long sides of dough in to middle, overlapping slightly. Press seam to seal. Transfer dough, seam side down, to pan. Repeat with remaining dough.
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Brush each loaf with butter, or dust with flour for a rustic look.
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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.
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