Sunday, March 4, 2012

White Sandwich Bread

Jason loves bread and goes through at least a loaf every week. He often eats toast for breakfast, two sandwiches for lunch, and a hunk off a french loaf for dinner. So you'd think that I bake more bread, yet because of timing constraints I often rule out making it. Its not that there is a ton of active time, but you've got to be able to be in your kitchen for multiple 10-30 minutes increments throughout the day. One thing to remember is that you can control the timing a bit by either refrigerating the dough when you need to buy yourself more time or placing the dough in a warmer area of your kitchen (or house generally) when you need the dough to rise more quickly. Because there is nothing quite like fresh-from-the-oven homemade bread, pin this recipe and give it a whirl. It will definitely be worth your while.

White Sandwich Bread
taken from the bread bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

In a large mixing bowl, combine:
2 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons bread flour
scant 1 3/4 cups room temperature water
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon honey
3/4 teaspoon yeast

Whisk ingredients together until smooth, about 2 minutes, periodically scraping down the sides of the bowl.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together:
2 cups bread flour
1/4 nonfat dry milk
3/4 teaspoon yeast

Working through a sieve, sprinkle this flour mixture over the dough. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature 1-4 hours.

Mixing + Rising
Remove the plastic wrap from the large bowl. Add to it:
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 teaspoons salt

Using a wooden spoon, mix together so that the flour is moistened. Using your hands, begin to knead the dough together while it's still in the bowl. Once all the dough comes together, remove from the bowl and place on a lightly floured countertop. Continue to knead together, adding a little flour if too sticky to handle, about 5 minutes. Cover the dough with an inverted bowl and allow it to rest for 20 minutes; this will make it less sticky and easier to handle.

Remove the bowl and knead an additional 5 minutes, again adding flour if too sticky. Remember that the dough should still be tacky. Adding too much flour will result in a drier crumb.

Lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and drizzle with oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Remove the plastic wrap and place dough on a lightly floured counter. Press the dough down gently to form a rectangle. Pull the each corner of the dough into the center to form a tight package. Re-oil the bowl, replace the bowl in the bowl, and again let it rise 1 to 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Remove the plastic wrap and again place the dough on a lightly floured counter. Cut the dough in half and shape each piece into a loaf. Place the dough into greased bread pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for the final time, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.


Preheat oven 350ยบ

Place bread pans on the center rack of the oven. Place 1/2 cup of ice into a shallow baking sheet and place sheet on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake for 50 minutes or until bread is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.

Eat up!

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