Yield: 2 9-inch loaves

Ingredients

4½ tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
¾ cup plus 2 2/3 cup warm water, divided (105-115˚ F)
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. salt
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
9-10 cups all-purpose flour

3-4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (for brushing)

  • step 1: HideShow Images

    To make the dough, dissolve the yeast in ¾ cup of warm water in a large mixing bowl (use your mixer bowl if kneading with a stand mixer and use the dough hook).  Stir in the sugar, salt, remaining 2 2/3 cups water, butter, and 5 cups of the flour.  Mix (on low speed) until a dough begins to come together.  Gradually add in the remaining 4-5 cups of flour about ½-1 cup at a time at first, more gradually with the last cup, until the dough is smooth and slightly tacky but not sticky.  Continue to knead about 6-8 minutes, until a smooth ball of dough has formed.

  • step 2: HideShow Images

    Transfer the dough to a lightly greased large bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel.  Let rise in a warm place until the dough has nearly doubled in bulk, about 60-90 minutes.

  • step 3: HideShow Images

    Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently punch down to deflate the dough.  Divide into two equal portions.  Press one portion of dough into a rectangle, about 9 x 15 inches.  Starting on a short end, roll the dough up tightly into a log and pinch the seam shut.  Roll the ends under the loaf.  Transfer to a greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and press down gently to reach the sides of the pan.  Repeat with the second portion of dough.  Cover the pans loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let rise once more until nearly doubled, about 30-45 minutes.

  • step 4: HideShow Images

    Place an oven rack in the lowest position and preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Just before baking, lightly brush the tops of the loaves with some of the melted butter.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Rotate the pans 180˚ and continue baking until an instant read thermometer reads 190˚ F in the center of the loaf, about 15-18 minutes more.  (If the tops of the loaves reach your desired golden brown before the baking time is complete, cover the tops loosely with foil to prevent over-browning.)  Transfer the pans to wire racks to cool.  Let cool briefly, then turn the loaves out onto the racks.  If desired, brush lightly with additional melted butter.  Let cool completely.