- 1 2/3 cups lukewarm water divided
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast or active dry yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp honey (or more sugar)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter cubed at room temperature
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 Tbsp butter melted for brushing
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook combine half of the lukewarm water instant yeast and sugar. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy (if using active dry yeast let sit for 15 minutes).
- Add remaining water honey salt cubed butter and 4 cups flour to the bowl. Knead at low speed until the dough comes together and is soft but not sticky. Add a few more tablespoons flour if necessary. Continue to knead for 6-9 minutes until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is soft and smooth.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and make sure that it is completely coated. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm and draft-free place for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Lightly flour your work surface and turn out the dough onto it. Divide it into two equally sized portions. Use your fingers to gently pat each half into an 8×12 inch rectangle while pressing it all over to remove any air pockets. Starting at the short end roll up the rectangle into a tight roll and pinch the seams to seal. Tuck the ends of the roll slightly under the roll to create some tension on the surface and place each loaf into a greased 8×4 inch loaf pan tucked ends and seam side down. Cover with a greased piece of plastic wrap and let rise for about 45 minutes in a warm and draft-free place until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 390 degrees F and adjust oven rack to lower-middle position.
- Bake loaves for 25-30 minutes until golden brown (and the loaf registers 208 to 210 degrees).
- Invert bread onto a cooling rack. Reinvert loaves and brush tops and sides with melted butter. Let cool completely before slicing.
- This recipe makes 2 regular loaves baked in two 8×4-inch pans or one large loaf baked in a 9×5-inch loaf pan. To make one large loaf don’t divide the dough into two and pat it into a 9×13-inch rectangle. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
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