Several years ago, I picked up The Best of Amish Cooking by Phyllis Pellman Good – it is quite literally my very favorite cookbook. I have tried for years to find a white bread recipe that my kids like as much as the white bread in this cookbook – and I haven’t been able to find one.
Dissolve 1 package of yeast and 1 tsp. sugar in 1/2 cup lukewarm water. (I usually do this in a large mixing cup).
Then Mix 2 cups lukewarm water, 1 1/4 tsp salt, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1 3/4 tbsp unsalted sweet cream butter. (i mix this all in my kitchen aid). Then add the yeast mixture, and gradually 7 – 8 cups of flour.
****Stopping here for a hint. You may not use 7 – 8 cups of flour. You want to gradually mix in the flour one cup at a time until you can touch the dough and it not stick ooey gooey to your finger. It needs to be pulled completely off of the mixing bowl and forming a strange ball on your dough hook. Depending on heat and humidity, this can be as little as 6 cups or as many as 10 (rare)!*****
Because my kitchen aid bowl is stainless steel, I just leave the dough in there. If you are mixing in a plastic bowl, switch the dough now to a greased bowl (grease the sides with more butter). Cover with a dish towel and set it in a warm place to rise until double. This usually takes about an hour.
Punch it down. Literally. Form a fist and punch the middle. Then Use your hand to scoop the dough off the side of the bowl and into the middle. Cover and let rise again (another hour or so).
Get two large loaf pans out and cover the sides and bottom with yummy butter. I usually take a stick, peel off the wrapper, and then just “color” the pans with butter. Now go get your dough. Cut it in the middle with your hand. If you do it right, you should be able to cut it in half with your right hand, and then grab the left side of the dough, scooping it up and set it gently into the loaf pan with a perfectly formed loaf – this takes practice, but you can do it! Now use your left hand and scoop the right side out and put it into the second loaf pan! Waalaa!
Oh wait…shoot….you are not done! Cover both loaf pans and let it rise again (another hour or so). Take the cover off after it has risen, and bake at 350* for 1/2 hour.
It makes beautiful bread. Perfect for covering in yummy apple butter and noshing right out of the oven. It doesn’t do french toast or the toaster well though. Just an fyi!
ENJOY!!!! And seriously, purchase the book. I think you can get it for a penny used on Amazon!