Quick Rise Bread Dough

6 cups all purpose flour, divided
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 pkg. (or 2 Tbsp.) Quick Rise yeast
1/2 cup milk
2 1/4 cups water
3 Tbsp. shortening

In a large mixing bowl, combine 5 cups flour with sugar, salt and yeast.
Heat milk, water and shortening until hot to the touch (50 to 55 degrees C).
Stir hot liquids into dry and mix well.
Mix in enough reserved flour to make a soft dough (dough should not be too dry).
Turn onto a floured counter or board and knead until smooth and elastic (8 to 10 minutes).
Cover dough and let rest for 10 minutes.
Shape dough as desired. Cover with a damp tea towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (40 to 60 minutes).
Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes for loaves or 20 minutes for buns. When bread is done, it should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Makes 2 loaves or 24 buns

To shape:
Loaf: Roll out dough into a rectangle roughly the width of your loaf tin. Roll up dough jelly roll style, pinching the seam to seal. Tuck ends of the roll under and place in lightly greased tin. Cover and let rise.

Buns: Divide dough into 24 portions. Roll each portion of the dough into a ball and place on lightly greased baking sheet. Flatten slightly. Cover and let rise.

Variations are endless, here are a few:

Sweet dough: Increase sugar to 1/3 cup. Reduce water to 2 cups. After mixing in hot liquid, mix in 2 eggs, slightly beaten, then work in remaining flour. You can use this sweet dough for cinnamon buns or bread.

Italian style dough: Replace milk with water. Instead of shortening, use olive oil. This dough can be flavoured with herbs like rosemary or oregano. To make foccaccia, roll half of dough out to fit a baking sheet or jelly roll pan. Using your finger tips, press dimples into the dough. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt and fresh rosemary.

Whole wheat bread: Use half all purpose flour and half whole wheat flour.

Recipe adapted from Fleichmann's Quick Rise Yeast pamphlets