- 2½ cups very warm water (divided)
- 2½ teaspoons sugar (divided)
- 2 packages active-dry yeast (or 4½ teaspoons)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons light olive oil (may substitute any cooking oil)
- 5½ cups white bread flour
- Butter if desired for brushing on top crust of baked bread
- In a small bowl, combine ½ cup warm water and ½ teaspoon sugar. Add the yeast. Stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes, or until foamy.
- In a large bowl, combine the remaining 2 cups water, 2 teaspoons sugar, salt, olive oil, and 2 cups of the flour.
- Mix well.
- Add the yeast mixture and beat on low for 2 minutes. If you are using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook.
- Gradually beat in the remaining flour. Using a stand mixer, knead for 5-6 minutes. The dough should come cleanly away from the sides of the bowl but still be soft and slightly sticky. If kneading by hand, put the dough on a floured surface and knead for 7-8 minutes. The dough should be soft and elastic.
- Form dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning several times to coat the dough lightly with grease. Cover and allow the dough to rise until doubled…about 1 hour.
- Punch down dough and separate into two pieces. Form loaves and place in greased bread pans. Cover and allow bread to rise until almost doubled…about 1 hour. Note: 9-inch by 5-inch bread
pans will yield wider, lower loaves. 8½-inch by 4½-inch pans will yield narrower, taller loaves.
- Heat oven to 375 F.
- Bake for approximately 50 minutes, or until top crust is a rich golden brown and the bottom of the bread when turned out is a light golden brown and doesn’t feel soft to the touch. Bread
should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Brush the crust with melted butter if desired, and allow loaves to cool on a rack.