1/3 cup warm water (about 100 °)
2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup whole milk, warm
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons honey
3 1/4 cups bread flour, plus extra for counter
2 teaspoons salt
- Preheat oven to 200°. When the oven comes up to temp, turn it off. This will give you a warm enough oven for rising your dough later.
- Mix yeast together with warm water and set aside until yeast is dissolved and looks slightly foamy. About 5 minutes.
- Whisk the milk, honey, and 3 tablespoons of butter together. Sit aside.
- In a separate large bowl whisk 3 1/2 of the flour and salt together. Add the milk mixture and yeast mixture. Combine completely until dough comes together and looks shaggy.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand to form a smooth round ball, 10-15 minutes, adding the remaining 1/4 cup of flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to your surface. Properly kneaded dough should be stretchy and smooth.
- Transfer the ball of dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in your warmed oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Dough should double in size.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently press it into a 9-inch square. Roll the dough into a tight cylinder and pinch the seam closed. Place the loaf seem-side down in a 9 inch loaf pan, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until it is nearly doubled in size and springs back slowly when indented with a finger, 1 hour.
- Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat(if you are using the oven from your second rise, be sure to remove your bread before you do this step) the oven to 350°. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Brush the loaf with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Set the loaf on the oven rack and place an empty metal loaf pan next to it. Fill the empty pan with the boiling water. Bake until golden brown, about 40 to 50 minutes.
- Flip the bread out onto a wire rack and let cool to room temperature before slicing, about 2 hours.