Recipe adapted by Michael Procopio
from "The Best Recipe" (Cooks Illustrated).
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour plus extra for work surface
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup warm milk (110 degrees)
- 1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees)
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 package (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) rapid-rise yeast
- Adjust oven rack to low position and heat oven to 200 degrees.
- Once oven temperature reaches 200 degrees, maintain heat for 10 minutes, then turn off oven heat.
- Mix flour and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook.
- Mix milk, water, honey, and yeast in 1-quart Pyrex liquid measuring cup.
- Turn machine to low and slowly add liquid. When dough comes together, increase speed to medium and mix until dough is smooth and satiny, stopping machine two or three times to scrap dough from hook if necessary, about 10 minutes.
- Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface; knead to form smooth, round ball, about 15 seconds.
- Place dough in very lightly oiled container or bowl, rubbing dough around bowl to lightly coat. Cover with plastic wrap; place in warm oven until dough doubles in size, 40 to 50 minutes.
- Gently press dough into rectangle 1 inch thick and no longer than 9 inches. With a long side facing you, roll dough firmly into cylinder, pressing with your fingers to make sure dough sticks to itself.
- Turn dough seam side up and pinch it closed. Place dough in greased 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan and press it gently so it touches all for sides of pan.
- Cover with plastic wrap; set aside in warm spot until dough almost doubles in size, 20 to 30 mintues.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees and place an empty loaf pan on bottom rack. Bring 2 cups water to boil.
- Remove plastic wrap from filled loaf pan and place in oven [ I assumed the authors meant for us to place the filled loaf pan in the oven, not the plastic wrap]. Immediately, pour heated water into empty loaf pan; close oven door.
- Bake until instant-read thermometer inserted at angle from short end just above pan rim into center of loaf reads 195 degrees, about 40 to 50 minutes.
- Remove bread from pan, transfer to a wire rack, and cool to room temperature. Slice and serve.