Smell is one of the strongest memory triggers, and freshly baked bread takes me way back. My mom had this huge honking bread machine always plopped in the corner of our kitchen. As soon as the buzzer dinged, we’d devour the loaf in minutes flat (my favorite was adding butter and cinnamon sugar). I haven’t invested in a bread machine yet, and after seeing the ease of this recipe, I may never have a need for it. The loaf lasted about three days in our house and served well as morning toast, dipped in soup for lunch, and popped in a skillet as evening grilled cheese. See full details below.
7 cups flour, divided
3 cups warm water
⅓ cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1½ packages yeast
1. Mix 3 and ½ cups flour with all ingredients. Let sit one hour.
2. Add remaining 3 and ½ cups flour (one at a time) and knead till dough forms a ball (dough sticky).
3. Cover with a damp cloth for 30 minutes.
4. Divide and shape into 2-3 oblong loaves (long and narrow). Place on greased cookie sheet. Slit top with scissors ½ down diagonally.
5. Paint top with slightly beaten egg whites. Let sit for 8-10 minutes.
6. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 30 minutes.