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In the Kitchen with Krause #13

I'll get around to making the no-knead bread featured in the NY Times back on November 8, 2006, but I figured I'd return to bread baking with a traditional white bread. The recipe is taken from an old Betty Crocker cookbook.

Traditional White Bread



  1. Mix 3 1/2 cups of the flour, sugar, salt, shortening and yeast in a large bowl. Add warm water. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, to make dough easy to handle.
  2. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl and turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in a warm place 40–60 minutes or until doubled. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
  3. Grease bottoms and sides of 2 loaf pans with shortening.
  4. Punch down dough and divide in half. Flatten each half with hands or rolling pin into rectangle, 18x9 inches, on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough up tightly, beginning at 9 inch side, to form a loaf. Press with thumbs to seal after each turn. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal. Press each end with side of hand to sea. Fold ends under loaf. Place seam side down in pan. Brush loaves lightly with margarine. Cover and let rise in warm place 35–50 minutes or until double.
  5. Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 425F.
  6. Bake 25–30 minute or until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to wire rack. Brush loaves with margarine. Cool.

Prep: 35 minutes; Proof: 1 hr 50 minutes; Bake: 30 minutes
Makes 2 loaves, 16 slices each


Bread baking is a relatively simple matter: mix ingredients & knead, let sit, let sit longer, bake, eat.

In order to make that first step easier it's best to gather all the ingredient and tools in one location. Not shown are the bread-hook attachments for my mixer (pretend they are off-camera).

Making White Bread Making White Bread

No mixer? No problem. A sturdy spoon will do. Good exercise for the forearms, too.

The text at the bottom of the yeast packet continues “... and traditional baking.” Bread machines have so taken over that a great many of the bread recipes one finds online are for them, not for those looking to do things by hand. I'm not anti-bread-machine, to be honest, and I've had some really tasty breads from them (by both my step-mother and by the departmental secretary, who provided a delicious beer-bread at the holiday party), but 1) I don't have such a machine and 2) I'm currently interested in doing things mostly by hand.

In any case–in short–put in the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast as directed along with the shortening. Mix. Pour in water and watch it get sticky. With the wrong attachments the dough will crawl up the mixer.

Making White Bread Making White Bread

Truly the most enjoyable part of the project is the kneading. This time around I couldn't get the dough to take in much of the remaining 2.5–3.5 cups of flour, and much of it was only added through the process of kneading. At no point did the dough stick to my hands; it was a joy to work with.

Do not cut the kneading stage short. Give it the full ten minutes, and keep a timer or watch nearby. You develop a rhythm. A push, a pull, a rotate and roll. Push, pull ...

After an hour of rising in a covered bowl in a warm spot the dough does truly double (compare images 4 and 5).

Making White Bread Making White Bread

Punch it down. Hear the whoosh!, haul it out, tear it in half, and roll it out.

I couldn't be bothered to make a perfect rectangle, but I did keep it a mostly constant width except at the ends. Roll it into a loaf from the back to the front, pinching the seam closed after each new layer.

Making White Bread Making White Bread

After finishing the rolling, seal the final seam and tuck the ends under, place the loaves in the greased (butter or shortening) pans, cover, set aside in a warm place, and let them rise another 35–50 minutes. I tend to let it go the full 50, and one notices that after the second rising the loaves now fill the pans.

Making White Bread Making White Bread

I didn't bother with making pretty or perfectly shaped loaves. Just stick them in the oven at 425F (about 220C) for about 25 minutes (or until golden and hollow-sounding when tapped). The loaves will roll or lift right out of the pans. I add a little butter to the tops of the hot loaves.

Making White Bread Making White Bread

The freshly made bread inspired me to fix a peanut butter and honey sandwich or two. At Woodman's Shurfine “natural” peanut butter (peanuts and salt) is rather inexpensive and a good alternative to the heavily sugared brands.

—January 15 2007