7 cups flour (Any flour may be used; white, unbleached, whole wheat, rye, triticale, bread flour, etc. I use “bread flour” for white bread, and use “some” bread flour in the other kinds of bread. For “whole wheat” bread I use 5 or 6 C. stone-ground whole wheat flour with bread flour.)
2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
3/4 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup honey (or brown sugar or white sugar)
1 Tbs salt
Softened yeast: 1 Tbs + tsp yeast in ½ cup lukewarm water with 1 Tbs sugar. (Stir yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl and set aside. This yeast mix will bubble and start to foam).
Optional, but fantastic:
2 “globs” liquid lecithin. (This stuff is hard to find. I have never used it in my bread. It is a preservative but we usually eat our bread in a day or two and are fine without it.)
1 cup gluten flour (I found this in the bulk foods section at a few different grocery stores)
1. Pour lukewarm water in mixing bowl. Add melted butter, honey or sugar, salt, and start mixing.
2. Gradually add about 4 cups of the flour, then the evaporated milk, gluten flour, and lecithin. (Lecithin is very “sticky.” Pour it into the dough, wipe lip of bottle with paper towel without touching lecithin. Discard towel.)
3. Add more of the flour and then add the softened yeast. (The yeast must be added only after part of the flour has been added. If done before, the yeast will bond to the butter and not be as effective.)
4. Keep adding flour until the mixture forms a ball and is no longer “sticky,” but is a soft dough. (Flour amount may exceed 7 cups, just add until dough reaches the right consistency. If you can kneed the dough without it sticking to your hands, but still have it seem slighty moist, you've got it.) If mixing with a dough hook, knead the dough for about 8 min. If by hand, knead the dough for about 10-15 min. This is important!
5. Place the dough in a big bowl and cover it with a towel. You might also want to spray the dough occasionally with water to prevent it from drying out. Let the dough raise in the oven, no heat, until double in size (30-60 minutes).
6. Divide the doubled dough into two lumps and place the dough in greased bread pans. Let the dough raise in the bread pans in the oven, like you did with the first rising, until they are an inch or so above the rim of the pans. Take the bread pans out of the oven and preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Once the oven has reached temperature, put bread in the oven while lowering the temperature to 450˚. Bake at 450˚ for only 5 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 375˚ for remaining 20-25 min. (I usually keep it in for the full 25 minutes to prevent it from being doughy in the middle.)
7. Once the bread has come out of the oven, remove the bread from the pans and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Let bread cool completely before cutting to prevent bread from changing shape and compacting.