½ Tbsp salt
½ C sugar + ½ tsp
1 C milk
2 C cold water
1 ½ Tbsp active dry yeast
½ C warm water (105° to 115° F)
11 C all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten slightly
In a large saucepan, heat butter, salt, sugar and milk over medium heat, stirring constantly until butter melts. Remove from heat; stir in 2 cups cold water.
In a small bowl, combine yeast and ½ cup warm water with ½ tsp sugar. Let set 1 minute. Then stir to dissolve. Let rest 5 minutes or until frothy.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter mixture and 3 cups of the flour; add yeast mixture and eggs, mixing well. Add 6 more cups flour, two cups at a time. After each addition, mix for 1 minute until the flour is incorporated. Add the remaining 2 cups flour by hand (unless your stand-mixer can take the full volume – which mine can’t). To add the remaining flour by hand, place the final 2 cups onto a clean surface and knead the remaining flour gently in till it is all incorporated.
Cover the dough with a piece of pastry cloth and let it rest 5 minutes. Remove the cloth and with lightly floured hands knead the dough until smooth, elastic and small bubbles appear, about 10 minutes.
Place the dough in a large buttered bowl, turning dough over to grease top. Cover with kitchen towel and let rise in warm place about 1 to 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size.
Punch down dough; let rest 15 minutes till soft and pliable again. Divide into 3 pieces and form loaves. (I like to gently press the dough down with my knuckles and fold it in to three pieces like a letter, then press into a loaf shape, sealing the seam and tucking the ends underneath on the seam side. Then just use the sides of your hands along each long side of the loaf tucking and tightening the dough until you have a nice loaf shape that is even and as long as your pan.) Place the loaves into 3 (9x5x3-inch) loaf pans. Cover and let rise about 1 hour or until doubled again.
Heat oven to 375° F. Bake 45 minutes or until loaves are golden brown. Remove from pans; cool on wire racks away from drafts.
Makes 3 loaves.
Because this is such a large recipe, I like to experiment with the dough. Here I made two loaves (slightly smaller than full size) and 18 cinnamon rolls.
When dividing the dough, I divided it into three pieces, but slightly uneven, leaving a little extra dough for the cinnamon rolls. You could simply divide it evenly into three pieces and make a pan of rolls with one of the loaf pieces. Just follow all the steps above through the 15 minute resting period (and I like to form the rolls last so they get a little longer rest since that portion of dough will be worked the most). Roll the dough out into a rectangle that is about ½ inch thick.
1 C light brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
¼ C butter, melted
¼ C honey
Place in microwave safe bowl and whisk all ingredients together. Heat in the microwave until it is all soft and mixed together. Spread this onto the dough rectangle in as even a layer as possible, leaving a 1-inch strip at the top clean to seal a seam. Roll the dough, starting at the bottom jelly-roll style. Cut the dough into 1 ½ inch pieces. Place in a buttered baking dish and cover with buttered plastic wrap. Allow to rise till doubled in size (about 45 minutes to 1 hour). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 375° F. Remove from oven and allow to cool before glazing with frosting.