Homemade White Bread

1 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup cold water
6-7 cups flour

In a saucepan, combine milk, sugar, salt, and butter. Stir occasionally until butter is melted. Put in the mixer bowl and add cold water so it's just warm, not hot. Combine yeast, warm water, and sugar and add to the warm mixture in the mixer bowl. Add flour gradually until it's a soft dough and doesn't stick to the bowl.

Raise until it's doubled, then punch down and raise again. Put it in two greased loaf pans and raise again. Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 325 and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.

I use instant yeast (as opposed to dry active yeast) because it's cheaper and I hate proofing yeast (when you add it to water and wait for it to bubble). The dry active yeast comes in packets or small jars. Instant yeast generally comes in larger foil bags. To adjust this recipe for instant yeast, combine the yeast with the teaspoon of sugar and 1-2 cups of flour in the mixer bowl. Once the butter is melted, add 1 1/2 cups of water to the milk mixture and make sure it's just warm, not hot. Then add the liquid to the mixer bowl and proceed to add the rest of the flour gradually. With instant yeast, it should never come in direct contact with the liquid and you don't need to wait for it to proof.

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