you can never eat too much

Buttery Milk Bread

I dare you to find a comfort food that tops freshly baked bread. It’s impossible for two reasons: bread is life, bread is everything. This milk bread recipe is all of the above, and then some.

I’m embarrassed to say that even as a hardcore baker, I’ve never baked bread before. It always seemed too daunting, like too much work, like too much could go wrong. I also have a historically bad track record with yeast in general, so I was nervous to make this milk bread but I’m so glad I did!

This bread is buttery, mildly sweet, and fluffy as a cumulus cloud. I’ve never been a huge fan of storebought, pre-sliced bread, and this recipe is another reason to never pick it up from the grocery store again.

I think the reason why this bread turned out so well for me is because I’ve finally mastered the art of activating yeast and making dough rise. Yeast has to rise in a WARM environment – a room temperature kitchen likely won’t do (especially in the fall). What I’ve found works best is preheating my oven to a low temperature, about 200 degrees, then turning off the oven and leaving the door slightly ajar to let it cool down just a bit. After a few minutes the oven is nice and warm and not too hot – the perfect temperature for yeast to party and do its thing.

Another reason why homemade bread rocks is the SCENT it creates while baking. My mouth was watering while I waited for this bread to come out the oven, it smelled like heaven. I would happily bake up a few of these during the holidays just to keep that smell wafting throughout the house.

I so hope you try this bread recipe! It’s easier than you think 🙂

Buttery Milk Bread

Related

  • Total Time: 4h
  • Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 5 1/3 cups bread flour, divided, plus more for kneading surface
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced into pieces, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast (about 3 envelopes)
  • 3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk powder
  • 3 large eggs, divided
  • Flaky sea salt

Instructions

  1. Cook 1/3 cup flour and 1 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a thick paste forms (almost like a roux but looser), about 5 minutes. Add cream and honey and cook, whisking to blend, until honey dissolves.
  2. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and add milk powder, yeast, kosher salt, 2 eggs, and 5 remaining cups flour. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add butter, a piece at a time, fully incorporating into dough before adding the next piece, until dough is smooth, shiny, and elastic, about 4 minutes.

  4. Coat a large bowl with nonstick spray and transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  5. Lightly coat two 9- by 5-inch loaf pans with nonstick spray. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and divide into 12 pieces. Nestle pieces side-by-side to create 2 rows down length of each pan.

  6. Let shaped dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size (dough should be just puffing over top of pan), about 1 hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 375° F. Beat remaining egg with 1 teaspoon. water in a small bowl to blend. Brush top of dough with egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt, if desired. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until bread is deep golden brown, starting to pull away from the sides of the pan, and is baked through, about 30-45 minutes.
  8. Let milk bread cool slightly in pan on a wire rack before turning out; let cool completely.



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