Deborah’s Best Bread

Here’s a wonderful bread that stands up well to slicing, toasting, or any sort of filling you care to put into a sandwich! Amish women would mix this by hand, but using a mixer makes the dough smoother and easier to handle.

1 cup warm water (110º F)
1 cup warm milk (110º F)
1 1/2 T. yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup olive oil
5 1/2-6 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk + 1 T. water to make egg wash (optional)
1 T. butter, melted

In a large mixing bowl, mix the milk, water, sugar and yeast. Cover for about 5 minutes, allowing yeast to foam. Stir in the salt and olive oil. Using a mixer with a paddle or dough hook, add one cup of flour at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix until all flour is incorporated. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top of the dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place about an hour or until doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and divide into two equal pieces. Shape into loaves and place in two greased 9 x 5” bread pans. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until loaves rise about an inch above the pans. Preheat oven to 350º. With a pastry brush, very carefully brush the tops of the loaves with the egg wash, if using. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from pans and with a pastry brush, lightly brush melted butter over the tops. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Kitchen Hint: I replace about half the all-purpose flour with white whole wheat flour when I make this recipe—and I increase the yeast to 2 T. Makes the bread a bit more dense, but still chewy-good and healthier!

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