Making bread can seem difficult. It's not. At least this American (Wonder-style) white bread isn't. Mix your ingredients. Let the dough rest. Shape it. Let it rise. Bake it. That's it.
This dough is essentially the same as the one in the steamed bun recipe that's included in David Chang and Peter Meehan's Momofuku cookbook.
Basic White Bread Dough (ingredients by weight*)
14 grams active dry yeast
12 ounces warm/room temperature water (1.5 cups, volumetrically)
21 ounces bread flour
73 grams white sugar
17 grams non-fat milk powder**
16 grams kosher salt
1/2 rounded teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup room temperature rendered pork fat or vegetable shortening***
*don't have a scale? Get one. They're more reliable and easier than measuring cups.
**milk powder can be found in most grocery stores, sometimes near baking ingredients, other times near canned milk
***rendered bacon fat is particularly delicious here
1. Set your stand mixer bowl on a scale add yeast and water. Then add all of the remaining ingredients.
2. Fit your mixer with the dough hook and turn the mixer onto the lowest setting above 'stir' (usually the second notch). Mix for about 10 minutes. The dough will gather into a smooth-ish ball that's not very sticky.
3. Lightly oil a medium-large sized mixing bowl with a neutral oil (canola, vegetable, etc.). Transfer dough to the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warmish place for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The dough will roughly double in size.
4. Punch the dough down and transfer it out of the bowl onto a clean work surface. No need to flour your surface.
Now it's decision time. Do you still want to make white bread, or do you want to shape this dough into something else delicious? Such as...
White bread devotees, proceed...
5. Flatten dough into a rectangle about 12-16" long and 1/4" thick.
6. With the long side nearest your body, start rolling the dough into a cylindrical loaf. After each revolution, use your fingertips to pinch the seam of the dough closed.
7. Place your loaf into a greased loaf pan, or onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for about 1 hour. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
8. Remove the plastic wrap and bake your loaf until the surface is light brown and the internal temperature is 190-200 degrees, about 30-40 minutes.
9. Cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes. Use as desired, preferably as a vessel for homemade bologna, plastic American cheese, and yellow mustard.