I know we are all trying to watch the carbs, the gluten and the “white” foods but for real, bread is my thing and I just gotta have good white bread to dip into marinara or make a great sandwich or to eat straight from the oven while I hide in my pantry.
I have a theory that homemade white bread that’s free from chemical softeners and preservatives is better for you than store bought multigrain bread and while I realize this may just be my justification to have food with little nutritional value, it makes me feel better.
This recipe is for perfect sandwich bread and it really stands up to it’s name, sandwich bread needs to have enough structure to hold it’s shape and get cut into thin slices as well as enough softness to be pillowy and easy to bite through. I hate it when I get a sandwich on an artisan bread and the crust is so thick that all the filling slops out the other side when I try to bite through it.
Rules for Working with Yeast
- Salt kills yeast, don’t add salt directly to the yeast/water mixture
- Use new yeast or yeast that has been kept in the freezer. Old yeast may no longer be active
- Water should be luke warm not cold but no hotter than 110F
- Cover rising dough with a damp towel or loosely with plastic wrap to avoid building a crust which will prevent the dough from rising (proofing) fully
Perfect Sandwich Bread
250ml Cold Milk, 2% or 3%
375ml Hot Water
12g Active Dry Yeast
25g Granulated Sugar
35g Vegetable Shortening
1 Egg, large
160g “00” Flour* or Bread Flour
750g All Purpose Flour
20g Kosher or Sea Salt
To get your water/milk to the right temperature (no more than 110°F) use hot tap water mixed with cold milk and the result should be slightly warmer than room temp. Add yeast and sugar, stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes, it will start to foam if the yeast is still active.
In a bowl for a stand mixer, add “OO” flour,all purpose flour and salt, stir for a moment to distribute the salt.
Add egg and shortening to the yeast/water mixture and add the yeast mixture to the flour, knead on first speed with a dough hook attachment. Increase speed to second speed and knead for 10 minutes longer. The dough should be tacky but not stick to your hands. If the dough is sticky, add small amounts of flour 1 tbsp at a time allowing them to be absorbed in between until you get a tacky dough that comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Finish kneading by hand until you get a smooth ball, add 2-3 tbsp of oil to the bowl, roll the dough around in the oil to coat it and cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 1.5 to 2 hours at room temperature.
Prepare your loaf pans with Pan Release.** or spray with oil.
1/4 Cup Vegetable Shortening
1/4 Cup Butter
1/4 Cup AP flour
Mix all ingredients together until its a smooth paste. Use a pastry brush or clean fingers to spread all over loaf pans. Can be used for any baking pan.
After the first rise (proof) remove from the bowl and divide into three 560g loaves. Shape the loaves, click here to see a video demonstrating how to shape a loaf. Allow to rise for another 1 to 1.5 hours while covered with a light tea towel. Preheat oven to 375°F.
Bake until the loaves are golden brown on top, 25-30 minutes. Remove loaves immediately onto a wire rack to cool.
*I am using a high protein flour called “00” flour (double zero) for this recipe, the protein in the flour along with a long kneading process creates the thick crust and a strong baguette. This flour is now widely available, go to any Italian market or Loblaw’s