I thought you might enjoy my favorite bread recipe. I always had trouble getting my dough to rise; apparently my old recipe didn't call for enough yeast. Here's one I use almost weekly for a very tasty bread ~ soft and not too sweet.
Mama B's Buttermilk Bread
2 T butter
2 C whole milk
2/3 C sugar
1 1/2 to 2 T yeast (Red Star is a good one, nothing added)
1 1/2 t salt
1/4 C olive oil
6 C flour
Use organic ingredients, of course!
In a medium saucepan, gently heat the butter, milk, and sugar, til butter is just melted. The temp should be about 110* ~ just the way I like my bath. =)
Remove from heat and add the yeast. Let the yeast "proof" until it looks creamy and foamy (something else my old recipe left out.)
Add the salt and oil.
Mix in the flour one cup at a time ~ this really seems to help with the consistency.
Knead, knead, knead until nice and smooth.
Put in an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Let rise in a warm place for at least an hour or til doubled in size. Some say to cover with a damp cloth, but this doesn't work very well for me. Maybe the cloth gets too cold?
Punch down and knead a bit more, then divide in half. Shape your loaves and let them rise for another half hour or until the tops are an inch above the pans.
Bake at 350* for 30 minutes.
Here's what I like to do with one half of the dough: I make a standard loaf with one half and roll out the other, sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of water, top with sugar and cinnamon and raisins, and then roll it up and put it in the pan for the most delicious cinnamon raisin bread ever! Be sure to enjoy a couple slices of each bread, warm from the oven with a generous spread of fresh butter. Mmm...