Simple Amish White Bread

makes 2 9x5” loaves or 16 big hamburger buns

1 ½ tablespoons active dry yeast (2 packets)
2 ½ cup warm water (110° to 120°)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, divided
1 tablespoon kosher salt
6-7 cups bread flour

Melt 4 tablespoons butter.  I microwave on high for 30 seconds at a time until it is mostly melted.  I recommend covering with a paper towel to avoid messes.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer add sugar and water.  Sprinkle yeast over top and swirl with spoon or fingers to combine.  Allow to sit for about 5-10 minutes while the yeast bloom and become aromatic.

Add melted butter, 4 cups flour and salt.  Mix on low, using dough hook, until smooth.  Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time until a soft dough ball forms (I use the entire 7 cups).  Turn to medium and knead for 5 minutes.  Your ball of dough should be tacky (not sticky).  If it is sticky, add a little more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until it becomes tacky (does not leave dough on your fingers when you touch it).

Turn onto a floured board; knead about 10 turns. Place 1 tablespoon butter in a large microwave safe bowl.  Heat butter in the microwave until butter is melted.  Place dough into bowl, turning once to grease top. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and a cloth over top and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down and shape into two loaves (or 16 hamburger buns).  I like to make half and half.  Place loaves in greased 9-in. x 5-in loaf pans.  For hamburger buns, grease a cookie sheet.  Divide dough and roll into balls.  Gently press on dough balls with the palm of your hand (creating a bun shape).  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45-60 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350°.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

If bread starts to brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil.  When bread is removed from the oven, brush with remaining butter.  Serve and enjoy!

COOK'S NOTES: Bread flour will achieve the highest possible rise and a chewier crumb, however you can substitute all-purpose flour. 

You can make this recipe without a stand mixer.  Add water, yeast and sugar to a large bowl.  Once the yeast blooms stir in the salt and the flour using a wooden spoon. Turn dough out onto floured counter top and knead for 10-12 minutes until dough is no longer sticky and holds its shape (when you poke it, it springs back).  Proceed with remaining instructions.
 
Recipe developed by Donna Elick - The Slow Roasted Italian
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