Bloom the yeast.
Combine ingredients as directed in the mixer. I did not add all of the flour! Instead of 7 cups I used about 6 1/2 cups. The dough just seemed way too stiff and dry for all of the flour.
The mixer really had to work hard. I had to let it, and the dough, rest a few times, but then most bread I’ve made requires that anyway. It seemed a little odd to add the butter at the end instead of at the beginning, but it all worked out just fine.
Prepare your bowl by oiling it generously.
When you have finished mixing / kneading your dough in the mixer, pour out onto a floured work surface and knead a little bit more by hand. This is where you can really work out all of the stress in your life. Think…push out the bad, fold in the good. The dough doesn’t really need much kneading at this point, but it can certainly shoulder your stress with a little more kneading if YOU need it. 🙂
When you’ve shaped your beautiful dough into a ball, put it in the bowl and then turn it over to be sure all surfaces are coated well with the oil you added to the bowl earlier.
Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and set aside in a quiet, warm, undrafty place and let it take a little nap.
After about an hour…wahlah!!! It has changed into a mound of wonderful, yeasty bread dough. But you aren’t quite ready to get out the butter yet.
Punch it down.
Dump it out on a floured surface.
Divide into halves.
Form into loaves. Dorie does a great job of describing how to do this by first forming a rectangle, then folding the dough 2/3’s down and then the last third up to meet the edge. Pinch it together. Tuck the ends together and…
Put into two buttered loaf pans seam side down. Cover with some buttered plastic wrap and let them take another little nap in a warm place for about 45 minutes.
The dough again transforms into nice airy loaves ready to bake. Dorie advised something regarding baking the loaves that I loved. About 10 minutes before you think they are done, turn them out of the pans and return to the oven directly on the rack without the pans. This step definitely helped the loaves to brown nicely all the way around. Be sure to temp the loaves when deciding whether they are done and ready to be removed from the oven. The interior of the loaf should be about 200 degrees.
Let the loaves cool on a rack (My tasters couldn’t wait until they were truly cool). The finished loaves turned out beautiful, cut nicely, had a crunchy crust, nice crumb and a soft center. I thought they could use a little more salt, but other than that they were delicious.