Last summer I found an easy and tasty recipe for Amish white bread online that was a big hit with the teenager in my house. He’s a runner and a swimmer and so has a big appetite, but I have a tight budget so it’s sometimes challenging to find healthy ways to satisfy his appetite that aren’t too expensive. This one fit the bill perfectly:
2 c warm (110°F) water
¼ c white sugar
1 ½ T (2 packets) yeast
1 ½ t salt
¼ c vegetable oil
6 c flour
Dissolve sugar in water; stir in yeast. Allow to proof 5-10 minutes, until creamy foam develops. Mix in salt and oil. Stir in 1 cup flour at a time.
[n.b. I have found that I can add only about 4 ½ cups flour before the dough gets too stiff. Once I’m kneading it, I can add another cup or so, with a little more during the 2nd knead.]
Knead on lightly floured surface for 10 minutes. Place in well-oiled bowl, turning dough to coat. Cover with warm damp cloth and let rise 1 hour.
Punch down, knead, and divide in half. Shape and put in well-oiled pan(s). Let rise for 30 minutes.
Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.
It’s a sweet bread, though not as sweet as the original recipe, which called for much more sugar (I followed the advice in the comments and reduced the sugar to ¼ cup). It’s excellent as is, but so simple I decided to experiment by adding spices before mixing in the flour. The bread I made at Christmas, with added cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg was very popular with my Kentucky relatives, though personally I’m not keen on cardamom and so may leave that out the next time I make that version. I may also try making it with brown sugar instead of white.
Today I thought I’d go in a different direction. I switched the oil to olive, then added chives and basil. I considered reducing the amount of sugar even more, but decided to wait and see what the bread tastes likes when it’s done. The dough, at least, smells heavenly, so I’m hopeful for a good outcome. Even if it doesn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, my son will still happily gobble it up, and we’re off to Kentucky this weekend so I can share some with them as well.