The key to making soft, airy bread is to use white flour or bleached wheat flour. Follow this great recipe with tips from a professional cook in this free video about baking soft and airy bread.
Hi, I'm Sue Walker, and I'm going to show you how to make soft, airy bread. The key to making soft, airy bread is to use white flour or bleached wheat flour. This recipe will make three small loaves or two large loaves. The ingredients we'll be using are active dry yeast, flour, shortening, sugar, salt, milk, and water. The first step is to dissolve the dry yeast in warm, tepid water and a little sugar. Tepid water is water that is warmer than lukewarm, but not real hot to the touch. When you see the yeast mixture start to foam, then you'll know that the yeast is working, and you can continue with your recipe. The next step is to put 2 and 1/4 cups of water, and 3/4 cup of milk into a saucepan. Put it on the stove, and heat it to scalding. Scalding means that when the milk foams around the edge of the pan, it's scalded, but you don't want to boil it. After the water and milk is scalded, add 6 tablespoons of shortening, 6 tablespoons of sugar, and 3 teaspoons of salt. Mix that together until it's melted, and then put it aside to cool. After your mixture is cooled to lukewarm, then you can add the yeast mixture. You add the yeast, and then you stir it together. Okay, we're ready to add our flour. We'll start out with about 3 to 4 cups, and I use a mixture of bread flour and regular white flour. Mix in enough flour until it is too thick to stir. When your dough is too thick to stir, you'll want to turn it out onto your surface. I recommend using the roll pot. Before putting your dough onto the roll pot, you'll want to put the rest of your flour into the middle of your surface and then, pour your dough into the flour. And using your hands, you'll want to knead that flour into your dough, and you'll just keep kneading and kneading and kneading until the flour's gone. And when your dough is elastic and not sticking to your hands and not sticking to the surface, it's ready. If it's not, then you'll want to add a little bit more flour until you get that right consistency. Before you form the loaves, you'll take the dough that you just kneaded and put it into a large, greased, bowl. Cover it with a clean cloth, and put it into a warm place, and let it rise until double. Sometimes it'll take up to 90 minutes. After it's risen to double, you take your fist, and you punch it down. Now you're ready to form your loaves. Take your bread pans and you spray it with cooking spray, some kind of a baking spray, and then you take your dough and you divide it into either two or three sections, depending on if you want large loaves or small loaves. Using your hands, you take the dough and you form it into a long roll to fit the pan. After you've formed your loaves, you will let rise until it's double or into the shape you want. After it's risen, you take a toothpick and very gently poke a few holes down the middle of the bread. Make sure that the holes are only 1/4 inch deep, 'cause you don't want to punch the bread down again. This will help vent the bread so that you won't get air bubbles. Make sure the pans are in the middle rack, and you'll want to bake them for approximately 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Take your bread out of the oven, and let it set for about one minute. And once you have the bread out want to brush the top with a little butter. Let the bread completely cool before you cut it. And that is how to make soft airy bread.