There is nothing to compare to the smell and taste of fresh baked bread, but if you have been disappointed in your home-made bread in the past, you’re not alone.
To make the lightest, fluffiest bread that will be the envy of all, just follow this basic recipe and make the bread in three individual pieces. Doing this makes it come out of the oven light and aerated.
Add the egg, milk, water, flour, sugar, and yeast to a mixer or mixing bowl. Ideally, you should use a stand mixer to mix your ingredients. If you don't have one, however, use an electronic mixer instead.
Mix the egg, milk, water, flour, sugar, and yeast for three minutes. Beat your ingredients on the lowest speed for about three minutes. The dough should just be beginning to form.
Switch to the second highest speed on your mixer. Beat the dough at this speed for 4 minutes.
Switch the mixer back to the lower speed. Add the butter. Beat the dough for an additional 12 minutes. When you're done, all the ingredients should be evenly mixed.
Make sure to use room temperature butter so it blends easily into your dough.
The ingredients should make a firm, uniform dough when you're done.
Cover the bowl for 90 minutes and allow the dough to rise. Place plastic wrap or a clean tea towel over the mixing bowl that contains the dough. When it's done rising, it should have roughly doubled in size.
After the bread has been sitting for 90 minutes, place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Break the dough into three even portions.
Cover the portions of bread with a clean paper towel. Keep them in an area where they will not be disturbed while they spend an additional 10 to 15 minutes rising.
Roll each piece on a lightly floured surface using your hands. Roll the pieces into cylinder shapes one at a time. The shapes should be about 11 by 6 inches (28 by 15 centimeters).
Take one of the cylinder pieces you made. Roll the short ends of the cylinder inward until they touch. This will form a small, rectangular shape that has a seam in the middle where the end pieces of your dough meet. With the seam side facing upward, roll this small rectangle into another, tighter cylinder. Repeat this process with the other two cylinders.
Grease a 9-inch (23 centimeter) loaf pan with non-stick spray. Set each piece of dough in the tray. Keep them evenly spaced. They should be close together but not touching. There should be just enough space in your pan for them all to fit neatly. The dough will blend together during the baking process, creating a fluffy, aerated bread.
Cover the pan in plastic wrap or a clean tea towel. Set the dough in a room temperature space and let it rise for an additional 60 to 75 minutes. The dough should just be rising over the baking pan when it's done.
Bake your bread at 375 °F/170 C fan/gas mark 5 for 35 to 40 minutes. Place your bread in the preheated oven and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes. When done, the bread should be golden brown.
Start by baking the bread for 35 minutes and, if it's not ready, bake it for two or three more minutes. Continue increasing the baking time in two or three minute intervals until your bread is done. When bread is cooked, it should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom with your knuckle.
Let your bread cool. Remove the bread from the oven and set it on a cooling rack. Cool the bread for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Then, set it on a wire rack and let it cool for an additional hour before cutting. That’s it – perfect fluffy bread. Enjoy!