Ina Garten’s Honey White Bread

I have some major oven confusion.  During the cold weather, my oven sits neglected.  Now that we’re reaching 100 degree days, I’ve decided to bake a couple loaves of bread a week.  Makes tons of sense, right?  Nonetheless, this Barefoot Contessa recipe makes the best loaf of white bread, ever.  I don’t know if I’d consider it a ‘honey’ white, since you can’t taste even a hint of honey, but it makes a nice brown crust, a soft flaky center and is super easy to cut into slices.

For the bread:

  • 1/2 c. Warm water
  • 2 pkg. Dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. Warm whole milk
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 tbsp.  Honey
  • 2 extra large Eggs
  • 5-6 c. AP flour
  • 1 tbsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
1.  Place the water in a bowl.  Add the yeast and sugar; stir and allow them to dissolve for 5 minutes.
2.  Add the milk, butter and honey.  Mix on medium speed until blended.  Add the egg yolks, 3 c. of flour and salt.  Mix on low speed for 5 more minutes.  With mixer still on low, add 2 more cups of flour.  Raise the speed to medium and slowly add just enough of remaining flour so the dough doesn’t stick to the bowl.  Knead on med about 8 minutes, adding flour slowly as necessary.
3.  Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for a minute, until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Grease a bowl with butter, put the dough in the bowl, then turn it over so the top is lightly buttered.  Cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow it to rise for 1 hour, until doubled to volume.
4.  Grease two 9×6-inch loaf pans with butter.  Divide the dough in half, roll each half into a loaf shape and place each in a prepared pan.  Cover again with the damp towel, and allow to rise again for an hour, until doubled in volume.
5.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350.  When the dough is ready, brush the tops with with the egg white and bake the breads for 40 to 45 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped.  Turn them out of the pans and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
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