This simple and delicious recipe for white mountain bread is perfect for beginners. Use your Kitchenaid to mix up one loaf of fragrant yeast bread that’s so good your family will think it’s from an artisan bakery! It only takes flour, salt, yeast, butter, honey, and water to make this delectable sandwich bread.
- 4 1/4 cups bread flour (500g)
- 2 teaspoons fine salt (10g)
- 3 teaspoons fast-action yeast (10g)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (25g)
- 2 tablespoons honey (42g)
- 1 1/4 cups filtered water (300 ml)
Making the Dough (25 min + 1 hr proving)
- Place the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl. Stir in each with your finger.
- Add the butter and honey and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until blended. Pour in half of the water and mix on low speed to form a rough dough. Gradually add more water and mix until all the flour has been picked up from the bowl and a somewhat sticky dough has formed. Depending on the brand of flour you're using and the humidity in the room, you may not need all the water, or you might need a little extra.
- Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest uncovered for 10 minutes. This will help it be less sticky when it's kneaded.
- Switch attachments to the hook and knead for 5-8 minutes on medium-low speed until the dough is smooth and cleans the sides of the bowl. If it's too sticky and doesn't clean the sides of the bowl, add extra bread flour just a spoonful at a time until it cleans the bowl.
- The dough should also pass the windowpane test. Stretch a piece between your hands to form a windowpane. It should be translucent without breaking; if not, knead for a minute longer and check again.
- Shape the dough into a ball, put it back in the mixing bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let it prove until at least doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Alternatively, place it in the fridge to rise overnight (8-12 hours), and continue with the recipe as written the next day.
Shaping the Loaf (8 min + 45 min proving)
- Turn out the dough onto a clean, lightly floured work surface and punch it down all over to force out the pockets of gas in the dough.
- Shape it into a rough circle, then fold the edges into the center and pinch them together tightly to seal. Turn the loaf over so the seam is underneath, and let it rest for 5 minutes. Turn the loaf over, flatten slightly, and fold the edges into the middle as you did before, pinching the seam to seal. Turn the loaf seam-side down, cup your hands around the loaf, and turn it in a circle to shape it into a taut, circular loaf.
- Place the loaf seam side up inside a floured banneton (a cane basket specifically made for proving bread) and cover with a linen cloth or tea towel. Use a greased and generously floured bowl if you don't own a banneton.
- Let it rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending upon the temperature of the room. The dough is ready to be baked when it springs back when gently pressed with a fingertip.
- About 20 minutes before the dough is fully proved, preheat the oven to 450 F and put a large pizza stone in the oven to preheat. If you don't own a pizza stone, use two baking sheets stacked on top of each other instead.
Baking the Loaf (5 min + 30 min baking + cooling)
- Scatter some semolina flour or corn grits onto a pizza peel or cake lifter. Turn the risen loaf onto the peel and gently massage some extra flour onto the top of the loaf. Don't worry if the loaf deflates a little; it will rise back in the oven. Score the loaf in a shallow cross or decorative pattern with a lame. (Don't own a lame? Use a very sharp serrated knife.)
- Immediately slide the loaf onto the hot pizza stone. Bake the loaf for 10 minutes at 450 F, then lower the temperature to 425 F without opening the oven door and bake for another 20 minutes. The loaf should be a rich brown and have an internal temperature of 200 F.
- Let the loaf cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving, approximately 1 hour.
- Don't substitute all-purpose for the bread flour. Bread flour contains more gluten than all-purpose, resulting in a higher rise and more chewy texture.
- Don't have a stand mixer? You can make this recipe by hand--just mix and crush the dough with your hand instead of the paddle attachment, and knead on a lightly floured surface.
- Mix up the dough, then let it rest for 10 minutes before kneading. It will improve the texture and help it not to be as sticky.
- Don't want to have a round loaf? After the first rise, punch it down and pat into a rectangle the width of a loaf pan. Roll it up tightly, pinching the seam to seal and place inside the pan. Proceed with the recipe as written--omitting the part about the baking stone.
- Have leftovers? Eat within 24 hours of baking for best freshness, or seal in a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month.
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: recipe, loaf