How to Make Two Loaves of Bread

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 2


Appears in

Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer

Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1969

  • About


  • cups milk
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons solid shortening, at room temperature
  • 7 to 8 cups all-purpose flour


  1. Note well that this recipe makes two loaves of white bread. Thus you will need two loaf pans, each measuring 9-by-5-by-3 inches.

  2. Bring the milk just to a boil then set it aside. Let stand until milk is warm but not hot. Now start the recipe.

  3. Rinse out a mixing bowl with hot water and dry well. Add the yeast and the ½ cup of warm water and stir to dissolve. Add the sugar, salt, and shortening and start adding the milk. Beat with a wooden spoon or an electric beater until all the milk is used and the mixture falls from the beater in “sheets.”.

  4. Add 4 cups of the flour while working the dough vigorously with your hands and fingers. This should require about 1 minute. Now add more flour, about ½ cup at a time, while working the dough. Add just enough flour so that the dough will stand clear of the bowl and not stick to the fingers.

  5. Lightly flour a bread board and turn the dough out onto it. Wash out the mixing bowl and dry it thoroughly. Grease the bowl copiously with butter or shortening.

  6. Knead the dough. Fold the dough over onto itself but toward you. Using the heel of both hands, push the dough down and away from you. Fold it toward you again and give the dough a quarter turn. Keep kneading the dough in this fashion until it is springy, elastic, and blistered. This should take about 10 minutes. Be sure to keep the board lightly floured so that the dough does not stick.

  7. Place the dough in the prepared bowl. Turn the dough around in the bowl so that the dough is greased all over. Cover loosely with a large, clean cotton towel. Place the bowl in a warm (about 80 to 85 degrees), draft-free place or preferably over a larger bowl of hot water. Let stand until “double in bulk,” 1 to 2 hours. To test for “double in bulk,” press two fingers lightly into the dough. If the imprints remain it is ready.

  8. Punch the dough down. To do this, sink a fist into the center of the dough. Pull in the edges with your fingers and then turn the dough upside down in the bowl. Cover again and let the dough rise once more. This will take about 45 to 60 minutes.

  9. Punch the dough down again and divide it approximately in half. Let the two portions rest while preparing the loaf pans.

  10. Grease the inside of each of the loaf pans mentioned in step 1.

  11. Start shaping the dough for the pans. To do this, take one portion of dough and pull it into a strip about twice the length of one pan. Bring the two ends of the dough together, slightly overlapping. Seal the edges by pinching with the fingers. Place the dough, seam-side down, in one of the prepared pans. Do the same with the other dough. Rub the top of each loaf with butter or shortening and cover lightly with kitchen towels. Let the dough rise until double in bulk, 50 minutes to 1 hour. The loaves will be ready for the oven if, when you touch them, a slight dent remains.

  12. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

  13. Place the loaves in the center of the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until perfectly brown. Immediately remove the loaves from the pans and place on racks to cool. Before cooling, brush the tops with melted butter. Like all breads, these loaves freeze well.