My mother used to bake bread about once a week when I was growing up on our farm. Store-bought bread, she said, was “too fluffy” and “doesn’t taste like anything.” Here’s the recipe for my mother’s bread.
4 cups milk
1 stick butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 packages dry yeast (or 4 teaspoons bulk yeast)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
8 to 10 cups of flour
Measure the milk into a saucepan, add the stick of butter and warm over medium heat until the butter melts.
Allow the hot milk mixture to cool to lukewarm. Stir in the yeast. Add the sugar and the salt. Add 2 cups of flour and beat until smooth. Add 1 more cup of flour and continue beating until smooth. Stir in the remaining flour. Knead until smooth (about five minutes).
Place in a large greased bowl and put in a warm place to rise for one hour. Punch down dough. Knead for another couple of minutes. Shape into loaves and put into greased loaf pans. Place in a warm place to rise for another 45 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes or until loaves are light brown and sound hollow when tapped.
Brush the loaves with shortening after you take them out of the oven to keep the crust soft. Let cool 5 or 10 minutes and remove from pans.
Makes 3 large loaves or 4 medium loaves.