2-3/4cupsall-purposeunbleached, or part whole wheat flour (see variations below), divided use
1pkgactive dry yeast.25 oz., undissolved
1cupmilk2% or whole
See suggestions for flavor variations below
Grease an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2-inch glass loaf pan. Sprinkle bottom and sides with cornmeal; set aside.
Combine 2 cups of the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir well.
Combine milk and water in a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Microwave about 1 minute on high until warm to the touch (105°F-110°F). Add to the dry ingredients with choice of nuts, dried fruit or cheese if desired; stir well.
Stir in remaining 3/4 cup flour, to make a stiff moist dough. Transfer to prepared pan.
Cover with a dry towel and let rise in a warm place 45-60 minutes, or until it reaches nearly to the top of the pan.
Microwave on high power 7 to 8 minutes. Bread will not brown but will rise a little more and top will be dry. If you have an instant read thermometer, center should be at least 200F.
Let rest 5 minutes in pan. Run a knife around edge and turn out. Cool completely before slicing about 1/2-inch thick. Toast to serve. Best within the first day; keeps up to 3 days.
Variations: Whole Wheat or White: Use about 1:1 white and whole wheat flour. The recipe is flexible; use a little more or less whole wheat if you like. And try rye too! Dried Fruit & Nut: Your choice of about 1/3 cup raisins, dried cherries, currants, diced apricots and 1/4 cup chopped nuts. Orange & Walnut with Golden Raisins: Add 1 tablespoon grated orange zest, 1/3 cup golden raisins and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts. Cheddar Cheese: Add 3/4 cup (3 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese. Sour Cream & Chive: Replace 1/4 cup of the milk with 1/4 cup sour cream; add 1-1/2 tablespoons minced fresh chives or freeze-dried. Garlic: Add 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley.Recipe adapted from Fleischmann's Yeast and shared with me from Wolf Appliance.