Grandma’s Easy White Bread
What you need:
- 1 TBS of active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 TBS bacon grease (or other natural oil/shortening)
- 6-ish cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 TBS sugar
- 2 standard loaf pans, greased
- 2 9×5 standard loaf pans
This bread is so incredibly easy to make—even for folks who don’t think they can bake bread.
I got the recipe from my grandmother, back in the 80s, when I was a fairly new housewife, making our first home, and struggling to save money. It was then that I learned that my grandfather once owned a bakery. I’m thankful that they were able to pass on skills that are in danger of slipping away. Note that *bacon grease or oil prevents the dough from becoming too elastic and controls the big air holes in the bread. Don’t leave it out, if you want a nice small crumb that goes with sandwiches and everyday use. Once you are making bread, you can experiment with it and its effect on texture. Have fun!
- Put 2 cups of warm water in a very large bowl. Add the active dry yeast sugar and salt. Add the *bacon grease and whisk to mix.
- Gradually add flour to the mixture, ½ cup at a time. At first it will be soupy, then it will start to get sticky, then move on to have a sturdier form. It will be hard to mix. A large sturdy metal spoon works well (or a stand mixer with a dough hook). The bread will become a workable, soft dough at somewhere near 6 cups of flour. Don’t add too much or it will be too stiff and prevent proper rising. Knead for 5 minutes.
- Oil the inside of a large bowl and transfer the dough into it. Set it aside to rise until it is 1 ½ its original size. Pick a warm location that is free of drafts. Plan on this taking an hour or so.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Punch down and knead about 1 minute.
- Divide into 2 equal pieces. Shape the pieces into a loaf and put in the 2 greased loaf pans.
- Set aside and let rise until double in size.
- Split top with a sharp knife and drizzle butter down middle for a fancy butter-top finish.
- Bake at 375° until light golden brown. Bread will sound hollow when thumped or tapped.
- Bread will be done in approximately 25-30 minutes. Set a timer and check it at 20 minutes.
Bread is a living thing and will have slight changes from batch to batch. The more you make it, the more you will get to know your yeast, altitude, personal oven, etc. Once you find the perfect crumb for your family, stick to the recipe variations you have found successful. If you get a new oven, you will have to play with it a bit to find the perfect timing.
Recipe makes 2 loaves. We slice into about 12 slices per loaf.