Simple & Delicious White Sandwich Bread
Yields 2 loaves. Start to finish takes about 2 hours with rising times.
I stopped buying white sandwich bread from the store about a year ago. My brother told me a horror story about how most sandwich bread in the grocery stores contains an ingredient also used to make yoga mats. Is it true? I honestly don't know, but the mere thought was enough to put me off store-bought bread ever since.
But really, all yoga mat ingredient possibilities aside, there is NOTHING quite like homemade bread. I know it can seem daunting at first, but homemade bread is leaps and bounds more delicious than store-bought.
Most importantly, the process of baking bread is incredibly satisfying. You will soon see what I mean. Enjoy the process, don't stress out if it isn't perfect. Don't have bread flour? Who cares! Just use all-purpose. You'd rather use honey instead of sugar? Do it! I have and it's delicious. The recipe is only a guideline... don't be afraid to get creative.
***Disclaimer: All of my recipes are made at high altitude, you may need to make adjustments for lower altitudes.***
1 1/2 tbs active dry yeast
1 tbs sugar
2 c warm water
1/4 c melted unsalted butter
2 tsp salt
2 tbs milk
3 tbs sugar
5-6 c bread flour (all-purpose will work fine, your bread just won't turn out as chewy)
In a mixing bowl with the dough hook attachment, add; yeast, 1 tbs sugar, and water. Stir, let sit for 5 minutes.
Once a bubbly foam has formed on top, add; butter, salt, milk, 3 tbs sugar, and half of the flour. Add 3 cups of flour to start with, mix, then add 1 cup at a time until you reach 5-6 cups or until the dough ball is pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
On the medium to low setting, let your mixer knead the dough for 5 to 6 minutes (or do this by hand if you don't have a mixer).
Remove bowl from the mixer. Using a piece of plastic wrap, spray one side with cooking spray to keep the dough from sticking to your wrap, cover the bowl and let it rise until doubled in size. (plastic wrap speeds up the rising process because it seals in the warmth and yeast gases).
Once doubled, punch down the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. I use a silicon spatula to scrape it out of the bowl.
Knead by hand for 2 or 3 more minutes and form a ball.
Using a bench scraper (or anything you can cut with) cut the ball in half. Just eyeball it as best you can, no pressure.
Place each half into a sprayed loaf pan, tuck the ends under to form a loaf shape.
Re-cover with your same piece of plastic wrap and let rise again until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 350°
Uncover and bake on the center rack in your oven for about 25 - 30 minutes. The tops should be nicely browned and when you tap the top of the loaf, it should sound hollow.
Remove from oven, place on a cooling rack... DEVOUR!
I make these loaves about every other week and I freeze one after baking.
Lastly, I usually store my loaf in the fridge because we eat it pretty slowly and since it isn't pumped full of preservatives, it will do what bread should do after about a week in warm air... MOLD! So unless you're going to eat it within a few days (no judgment if you do) keep it in your fridge.
I hope you enjoy your bread making experience, Friends!
Take care & stay well.
All photography by Jessie Alice Smith