Homemade White Bread

1/4 cup milk
1-1/2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tbsp. butter
1 package dry active yeast
2-1/2 to 3-1/2 cups flour
Nonstick cooking spray
In a large mixing bowl, add a cup of warm water to the yeast and stir. You’ll end up with slightly bubbly, tan-colored water. Stir until there are no lumps in the yeast.

Melt the butter in the microwave, then add it, the milk, the sugar, and the salt to the yeast liquid and stir until everything looks the same (a very light tan liquid). Then add two cups of flour to the mix – don’t add the rest yet.

Start stirring, and then add the flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, every minute or so. Keep stirring and adding flour until the dough is still slightly sticky, but it doesn’t stick to your hands in any significant way. Also, it should largely clean the sides of the bowl, leaving just a thin layer of flour.
Take a bit of flour between your hands and then rub them together over the top of an area on the table where you’re going to knead the dough. Do this a few times until there’s an area on the table lightly covered in flour. Then grab the dough ball out of the bowl, slap it down on the table, and start beating on it. Do this for ten minutes. Just take the dough, punch it flat, then fold it back up into a ball again, and repeat several times.

When the ten minutes are up, shape the dough into a ball. Coat the inside of the bowl lightly with nonstick cooking spray, then put the ball of dough inside the bowl.

Put a cloth over the bowl and sit it somewhere fairly warm for an hour. If you have a warming area on your stove top, that’s a great place to put it. Leave the flour out and the floured area on your table untouched.

It should be roughly double the size that it was before, but don’t worry if it’s larger or smaller than that, as long as it rose at least some amount. Punch the dough down (three or four good whacks will cause it to shrink back down to normal), then lay the dough out on the floured area and spread it out in a rectangle shape, with one side being roughly the length of the bread pan and the other side being about a bread pan and a half long.

You may need to put a bit more flour on it and on the table to prevent sticking. Then, roll it up!

Tuck the ends of the roll underneath, with the “under” side being where the seam is. Then spray the bread pan down with nonstick cooking spray and put the loaf inside of the pan.

Cover that loaf up with the towel, put it back where it was before, and wait another hour.

Put the loaf in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. When it’s done, pull it out and immediately remove it from the pan to cool.

Let it cool down completely before slicing.