Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sandwich Bread

Is there really anything better than freshly baked bread? (yes, there is, but go with it) The puffy and fluffy warmth smeared with butter and homemade strawberry jam. Mmmm. 

I was thinking about being annoyed that I was out of sandwich bread on Sunday (we don't shop on Sundays), and then I thought myself, self, just make some. Like, duh.

And so I did. I found this recipe and with quite literally zero negative comments about it I decided to try it out.

This is not that pillowy delicate kind of bread. This is soft and delicious on the inside with a browned crust on the outside, but the crust isn't hard or crunchy. So to me, that was perfect for sandwich bread!

I was right. It was good right out of the oven with the butter and jam, too of course. But that wasn't my purpose. The girls fell in love with it and it holds up well for sandwiches just like I wanted. And trust me, if I can make it and have it turn out right the first time, you can, too.

Let's talk about my loaves for a second. The directions in the recipe confused me a little about how to make it "loaf" looking (first timer with sandwich bread here). The first one I made was the one you see the most in this picture. The one on the left kinda went wooop in the middle because I had it rolled up all nice and then I remembered that I promised my girls I'd give them some dough to play with. So I pulled off some of it and threw it in the pan without much more attention to it. And so....I just kind of pretending like it wasn't there for the showy pictures ;).

My point is that it was surprisingly easy to get this "bread look." If my first loaf can turn out looking like this, then it isn't hard. I'm sure all of you already knew this, though.

What you will need:
  •  2 packets active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp. )
  • 3/4 C warm water (I try to get mine right at 110* but I think anywhere between 110*-115* works)
  • 1/4 C granulated sugar
  • 1 T salt
  • 3 T unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into chunks
  • 2 2/3 C additional warm water (I assumed this meant the same type of warm for the yeast so I aimed for 110*)
  • 9-10 C all purpose flour (I got to 9 and wondered if I'd put too much in so I stopped there. I continued to worry about that all the way until I ate the bread haha. It was fine!)
  • More butter to run on the loaves after they're out of the oven (important!)
  •  In your mixing bowl, add the warm water and sprinkle yeast on top
  • Let the yeast activate for a few minutes (about 10 minutes)
  • With your paddle attachment, add sugar, salt and butter and mix
  • Add in the extra 2 2/3 C water and mix
  • Add 5 C flour at once and mix
  • Add the rest of the flour 1 C at a time 
  • If you have a smaller mixing bowl, split the dough into two equal parts and place one part in a large greased bowl
  • Keep the other part in the mixing bowl and switch to your dough hook attachment
  • Kneed the dough for about 10 minutes and place dough into a large grease bowl
  • Take the other part of dough and kneed it for 10 minutes, placing back into the large greased bowl (if you have a larger mixing bowl, just kneed the dough all at once. I didn't want to burn out my motor so I split them up)
  • Cover both bowls with a cloth and place in warm area to rise for about an hour
  • Punch the dough down and roll out to 12x12 square
  • Roll the dough up like you would a cinnamon roll dough and pinch together along the side
  • Tuck the ends of the loaf underneath the dough and place in a greased 9" bread loaf pan
  • Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place again for another hour
  • Preheat oven to 425* and lower your oven rack so the bread will have room to puff up 
  • Bake your loaves for 15 minutes uncovered
  • Cover the dough with tin foil and bake for another 15 minutes
  • As soon as loaves are out of the oven, butter all over the tops
  • Take loaves out of the pans and let them cool on a cooling rack

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