Making 6 Loaf Bread was what I did every two weeks as my boys were growing up. I got tired of buying the spongy, gluey supermarket bread that seemed so artificial. Unsettling in its softness, how was that texture possible? And the long shelf life? I voted for bread that went stale because you know at some point it was fresh. Store bought bread could never make that promise of freshness.
6 Loaf Bread is a Meditation
Making 6 loaves of bread at a time sounds like a chore, and it is. But with 3 boys and a husband, making bread every two weeks felt more like a meditation than a task. Every breakfast, every supper, and on the weekends it was part of our meals. The kids could always count on finding a slice or two of 6 Loaf Bread in the freezer.
My habit was to let all the loaves of bread cool, and then slice them and store them in the freezer. Because it is a dense handmade bread, it is not the best for sandwiches. But toasted, 6 Loaf Bread is outrageoulsy satisfying. Crunchy with crispy crumbs, it caught every drop of butter and honey we loaded on top. I can’t say have enjoyed bakery bread as much as 6 Loaf Bread.
Big Recipe Needs A Big Space
Because this is such a big recipe, you will need big space. I use my one of grandmother’s stainless steel bowls that she used for tamales. My countertops are made for tall people (I am 5’10” (178cm), the shorty in the family) and is too high for kneading. I usually knead this massive blob on our clean kitchen table, or in the original mixing bowl. A towel tucked underneath the bowl helps to cushion the bowl from scratching my table. Table or bowl kneading are both fine.
I have already posted the sourdough version of this same recipe, which you may consider if you are look for variations. You can also use bread flour or all purpose flour for this recipe, or substitute half of the white flour for whole wheat. Using all whole wheat for this recipe is not recommended, although I have done it. The loaves turn out a little flat and dense, but we still ate them.
Our boys are grown and gone now, and I miss them terribly. But I still make 6 Loaf Bread occasionally. I try to make it when they are home, so I can send a couple of loaves with them when they head out into the world again.Print
6 Loaf Bread
- Prep Time: 2.5 hours
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 37 minute
- Yield: 6 loaves 1x
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: US
Add the milk to a 1 qt. saucepan (1lt), and heat until just simmering. Remove from the heat, and stir in the sugar, salt and butter. Allow the butter to melt and for the mixture to cool to slightly warm, above room temperature.
Place half of the warm water in a very large bowl (mine is 17”/43cm across) and sprinkle over the yeast along with a pinch of sugar. Once the yeast starts bubbling, stir in half of the flour. Pour in the melted butter/milk mixture and continue to stir.
Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time. The dough will become too stiff to stir even though you may have remaining flour. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and continue to add the remaining flour while you knead the dough. As you knead, the dough will become more elastic. If the dough is still sticky, add a little more flour to the surface.
Wash and dry your mixing bowl well. Using a paper towel and coat the inside surface with a few spoonfuls of olive oil. Place the kneaded dough in the bowl and turn a few times to coat the dough in olive oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise in warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size.
Once the dough has risen, punch down. Prepare 6 loaf pans by greasing the inside of each pan with a paper towel and a spoonful of olive oil. Divide the dough equally among the pans. Weighing each pan will ensure equal sized loaves. Allow the bread to rise for another full hour, until they are doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Bake the loaves for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before removing from the pans. Allow to cool completely on wire racks before slicing.
In some cases, you may not need the entire 24 cups. What you are trying to achieve is an elastic “fleshy” dough that does not stick to your hands. Machine kneading the dough for this large batch size is difficult.
Keywords: 6 loaf bread