I’m breaking free of Mrs. Baird’s, and I’m not looking back (hopefully).
For a while now I’ve been casually looking for a sandwich bread recipe. I wanted one that could hold up as toast or for a sandwich without casting crumbs everywhere – no small feat. And I wanted it to have at least a little whole wheat. Well, the recipe below uses absolutely no whole wheat (although I intend to try subbing in some for 1/4 to 1/2 of the all purpose flour at some future date), but it does satisfy the crumb requirement. It also tastes good – and who minds that?
I got this recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison, a cookbook I have been borrowing from a friend but intend to buy a copy of soon. If you haven’t seen this cookbook before, I’ve added a link here and on my recommendations page, so go check it out. There’s a poppy seed cake and a bunch of other stuff I’m hoping to try someday. Which, speaking of poppy seeds, how much does your cost where you live and how much do you get? I had to pay around 7 dollars for 2.5 ounces after I had two salespeople help me find it…apparently either everyone else knows where to find it or there’s not that big of a demand.
Okay, and back to the bread. Because I am by no means an expert on yeast breads that require kneading (the one I make semi-regularly is no knead), I’ve included (in parenthesis) my notes on what I did and what I think happened. Feel free to post any enlightening comments. After all, I’d like to develop a little more confidence, and knowing a little more about the process and any tricks certainly helps. The recipe is listed below along with another picture. Good luck!
August 11, 2010 Update: For those who would prefer to use a little whole wheat, I have successfully tweaked the recipe twice to include it. The first time I replaced 1/2 c.with the wheat flour and the second time I used 1 c. wheat.
Classic White Sandwich Bread
oven temp: 375 degrees bake time: 40 – 45 min. makes: 2 loaves
- 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 c. warm water
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1 c. warm milk
- 1 Tbs. honey
- 1/4 c. vegetable oil (I use canola)
- 2 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 3 to 4 c. bread flour
- Egg Glaze (1 egg yolk or whole egg whisked together with 1 Tbs. water, milk, or cream – I used a whole egg and water)
- In a small bowl, proof the yeast: stir together 1/2 c. water and yeast, add the sugar, and set aside until foamy, about 5-10 minutes.
- In a large bowl combine the milk, remaining water, honey, oil, and salt followed by the proofed yeast.
- Work in the flour a cup at a time until you have a shaggy, heavy dough that leaves the sides of the bowl (I used a wooden spoon and mixed in 2 c. all purpose and 3 c. bread flour, but the temperature in our apartment was in the high 70’s and the weather has been rainy all day so wondering if that affected the amount).
- Turn it onto a slightly floured counter and gradually knead in the remaining flour (1 c. bread flour in my case – I’m assuming that I did not have to use it since it says 3 to 4 c.) until the dough is smooth and resilient, about 5 minutes (I have no idea if I kneaded it properly – kept having to use the dough cutter to scrape it off my fingers and the counter and then to toss it over onto itself – I felt like a 4 year old kid with khaki play dough).
- Put it in a deeply oiled bowl, turning it so that the top is oiled too (I tried to pour a little canola in my hand instead of turning it and ended up drowning the dough, making more of a mess tilting the bowl so I could clean it up a little).
- Cover with a damp towel and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, an hour or longer (mine was good after an hour, but I once again was in a high 70’s temperature apartment…).
- Deflate the dough by pressing down on it (a closed fist works nicely), then divide it into two equal pieces, shape into balls, cover, and let rest (leave it alone) for 10 minutes (if the dough is decently oiled, it shouldn’t stick, otherwise you can toss down some more oil or flour or use a dough cutter if you have one).
- Meanwhile, oil two bread pans.
- Flatten the dough (I don’t flatten it completely – not sure if that is right or not) into two rectangles the length of the pan. Roll it up tightly (I folded it up), pinch the seams together to seal the ends, and place in the pans, seam side down (not a good idea to try to roll it over to the edge and into the pan, dropping the metal pan in the process, resulting in your significant other questioning your sanity – perhaps you’ll have better luck).
- Cover again and let rise until the dough is just above the edge of the pan, about 35 minutes (I gave mine 45).
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Leave the dough as is (which is what I did) or score the top with three diagonal slashes.
- Brush with egg glaze (I used a whole egg and water) and bake until browned and pulling away from the sides, 40 to 45 minutes. If the top gets too dark, cover loosely with foil (a little dark but not too bad – do I really need to glaze it?).
- Turn the bread out, tap the bottom to make sure it has a hollow sound, not a thud, then set on a rack to cool I run a knife around the edges so I can flip it out of the pan easier).
- Cut it up and enjoy!