Prep: 15 min Rising: 2 hrs Bake: 35 min Total: 2 hr 50 min Yield: 2 loaves
- 4 cups bread flour
- 3 Tbsp white sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp salt reduce if using salted butter below
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 1 3/4 cups + 2 Tbsp water lukewarm, about 100F
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter cut into 3 pieces, at room temperature
For brushing baked loaves:
- 2 Tbsp butter melted
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a kneading hook, stir together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. With the mixer running (or with a spoon), stir while you slowly add the water to the flour mixture.
- Mix/knead for about 6-7 minutes, or until dough is soft and moist. Add the butter and continue mixing/kneading until dough comes back together, about 3-4 minutes. Form dough into a ball and place into a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise about 40-45 minutes, or until doubled.
- Punch the air out of the dough, then re-shape into a ball and place back in the bowl. Cover and let rise another 30 minutes, or until dough doubles again.
- Stick a floured finger into the dough. If the hole you just created remains, the dough is ready. If the hole shrinks, it needs to rise a little longer.
- Place dough onto a floured work surface. (If you have a kitchen scale, weigh the entire dough ball, then divide by 4 to determine the desired weight for each ball.) Divide dough into 4 equal sized pieces (should be somewhere around 280-300g each). Shape the pieces into balls by pinching together at the bottom. Place on counter, pinched side down and cover with a clean tea towel and let stand 5-8 minutes.
- Grease two 8×4-inch bread pans and set aside.
- Shaping: Flip dough over so the pinched side from making the balls is facing up. With a rolling pin, roll dough to about 1/2-inch thick, or about 9-inches long by 6 inches wide. Fold in 2/3 of the way down, then fold the bottom 1/3 up to cover the top. Rotate the rectangle 90 degrees. Roll up the dough tightly, by pulling and stretching as necessary, to make a smooth surface. Gently pinch together the end of the roll with the roll itself.
- Placing in pan: Before placing rolls into pan, check the direction of the roll for each dough piece. The rolls should be placed in the pan with the ensuring that the right side piece is rolling to the right and the left side piece is rolling to the left. (check the direction of the top of the roll and which direction that last top roll is heading). Place two rolls in each pan, with the balls just barely touching the ends of the pan and with a small gap between the rolls in the centre.
- Cover pans with a clean tea towel. Let rise about 45-50 minutes or until the dough rises to about 1 cm above the sides of the pan (for square/pullman pan baking, it should be 1 cm below the sides of the pan).
- Preheat oven to 390F.
- Once risen, bake in the preheated oven for about 35 min. *Check at about the 20 minute mark and loosely cover with aluminum foil if bread is browned enough already.
- Remove from oven and immediately remove to a cooling rack. Brush tops of loaves with melted butter, then leave to cool completely.