There are many ways to make bread and this is one of them (and in my opinion, a very simple way). Remember, bread making is not an exact science.
Step 1: What you'll need
- Yeast - 2 Tbsp
- Hot-ish* water - 2 cups
- Bread flour - 5 cups total, 2 for the sponge and 3 for later. (NOT regular flour)
- Sugar - 2 Tbsp.
- Salt - 2 tsp.
- Oil - 2 Tbsp.
- 3 loaf pans
- Quick-read thermometer
- Oven pre-heated to 375
*Hot-ish means between 95 and 115 degrees F. much colder and it won't activate, much warmer and it will kill the little guys.
Step 2: Make the sponge
Start by mixing the hot water and the flour. Then, add 2 Tbsp. sugar, 2 Tbsp. oil, 2 Tbsp. yeast, and 2 tsp. salt.
Let this sit for about 8 or 10 minutes. Assuming your water was hot enough, it should be nice and bubbly.
Step 3: Add some flour and knead it
Once it gets too tough to stir, flip it onto a clean floured surface. Now, knead away, adding flour as you do so.
Knead the dough for 8 or 9 minutes. As my Mother says, it should be the texture of your earlobe when it's done kneading.
When you finish this part put it back in the bowl and cover it with a slightly damp towel.