Instructions

  1. Heat the milk to a simmer, and pour it over the butter in a large mixing bowl. Let the mixture cool to lukewarm, then add the yeast and sugar.
  2. Once the yeast softens, add the remaining ingredients and stir until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine set to the dough or manual cycle). Add a bit of additional milk or flour if needed — the dough should be soft, but not sticky.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow it to rise until puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8" log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, cover loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 60 minutes, until it's domed about 1" above the edge of the pan. A finger pressed into the dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly.
  6. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  7. Bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes, until it's light golden brown. Test it by removing it from the pan and thumping it on the bottom (it should sound hollow), or by measuring its interior temperature with a digital thermometer (it should register 190°F at the center of the loaf).
  8. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on rack before slicing.
  9. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • For added whole-grain goodness, substitute King Arthur whole wheat flour (Premium or white whole wheat) for up to half of the all-purpose flour in this recipe.
  • If you're using instant yeast, there's no need to dissolve it in the warm milk; simply add it along with the flour.
  • Want to make this bread softer, moister, and extend its shelf life? Try the tangzhong technique, a Japanese method for increasing the softness and shelf life of yeast bread. Begin by measuring out the flour and milk you’ll be using in the recipe, increasing the amount of milk to 1 cup + 3 tablespoons. Now take 3 tablespoons of the measured flour and 1/2 cup of the milk; put them in a saucepan set over medium-high heat. Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it forms a thick slurry; this will take about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer the cooked mixture to a bowl, let it cool to lukewarm, then combine it with the remaining flour and the other dough ingredients. Proceed with the recipe as directed. Well-wrapped and stored at room temperature, your bread should stay soft and fresh for several days.