I’m always working to find ways to combine my love of baking with my desire to be lazy, all the while incorporating my value of eating (mostly) clean. I almost never buy loaves of bread anymore – at the grocery store, I’ve noticed that the soft, tasty breads have too many unidentifiable “foods” on the ingredient list. Meanwhile, the uber-healthy breads tend to be stiff and dry. So, mostly, I just avoid.
But you know, sometimes, a lady just wants to eat a sandwich.
(in this scenario, I’m the lady AND also the one that wants the sandwich)
I’m meeting this challenge head-on, as Streusel and I have deemed April “sandwich bread month.” We’re going to be exploring ways we can make our daytime lunches (and late night snacks) a bit more delicious.
For my first post this month, I wanted to find a recipe that was super-simple; I figure it makes sense to get the basics down before we try things a little more involved. First up is this dead easy, perfectly traditional sandwich bread. It’s made with a list of ingredients that I already have at home, and I was able to make it during my Sunday meal-prep time. The resulting bread has a golden crust, as soft interior, and is perfectly sliceable for this weeks’ sandwiches.
- Yield: 1 loaf 1x
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup milk (skim, 1%, 2% or whole) (note: *mix cold milk with hot tap water to make a lukewarm liquid before adding to the remainder of the ingredients)
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup hot water (or a bit more, as needed to make a soft, smooth dough)
- 1/4 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water OR 2 teaspoons instant/rapid rise yeast
- To make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, combine all of the ingredients and stir until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Remove the paddle and add the dough hook, and knead the dough for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the dough begins to become smooth and supple.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise until puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
- Gently deflate the dough and transfer it to a lightly oiled work surface. Shape the dough into an 8″ log.
- Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 60 minutes, until it’s domed about 1″ above the edge of the pan. A finger pressed into the dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly. Towards the end of the rise, preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes, until it’s light golden brown. Test it for doneness by removing it from the pan and thumping it on the bottom (it should sound hollow), or by measuring its interior temperature with a digital thermometer (it should register 190°F at the center of the loaf).
- Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.
Like most folks, I get annoyed when my freshly baked bread gets hard within a few days. To deal with that, KAF recommends the technique listed below. I did try it out – it only added on a few minutes of prep time – though jury is still out as to whether or not it any difference.
- Try the tangzhong technique, a Japanese method for increasing the softness and shelf life of yeast bread and rolls. Begin by measuring out the flour and water you’ll be using in the recipe, going with the greater amount of water (2/3 cup). Now take 3 tablespoons of the measured flour and 1/2 cup of the measured water; put them in a saucepan set over medium-high heat. Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it thickens and forms a thick slurry; this will take about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer the cooked mixture to a bowl, let it cool to lukewarm, then combine it with the remaining flour, water, and other dough ingredients. Proceed with the recipe as directed. Well-wrapped and stored at room temperature, your finished bread should stay soft and fresh for up to a week.
April 7, 2019
This entry was posted in baking, breads, quick and easy and tagged baking, easy, sandwich bread.