Cooking for a family, while making family time

Easy Sandwich Bread

Easy Sandwich Bread
Once that grocery store panic hit I knew it was time to focus on a bread recipe. It’s always said “grab the bread, eggs and milk” and now of course we all realize toilet paper should never be left off that list. No matter the cause of chaos, blizzard, hurricane or global pandemic, bread is a staple. You can just do so much with bread! If your tiny humans are anything like mine, they’re happy to live off PB & J for months at a time.

This recipe is easy, just like the title states. It’s simple, nothing fancy, and can be customized however you like. What will be harder than making the bread is finding the yeast and flour to do so!

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
1 packet dry active yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon butter

Supplies needed:

A standard size loaf pan
Stand mixer

Rolling pin

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Next, mix 1 cup of flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a stand mixer. Beat on a low speed for 2 minutes or until combined. In a microwave safe bowl, pour your milk, water and butter together. Microwave 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until just warm. 120-130 degrees is ideal to activate the yeast. Once warm, add milk mixture to your flour mixture in the stand mixer. Beat for 2 minutes on low, add 1 more cup of flour and beat another 2 minutes, then your last cup of flour (bringing the total to 3 cups) and again beat for 2 more minutes scraping the sides as needed. You will know this process is done when the flour becomes a ball shape, sticking to the mixer blade.

I like to now switch out my mixer blade for my dough hook, and knead the bread for 6-8 minutes on medium speed. You can knead it by hand on the counter but it will take closer to 10 minutes. Cover your mixing bowl with a towel and let your dough rest for 10 minutes. Now using your leftover 1/2 cup of flour, sprinkle your counter top and rolling pin. Take your dough out of the mixing bowl and roll the dough into a 12×7 rectangle.

Starting at the short end of your rectangle roll up the dough tightly, pinching the ends to seal. Grease your loaf pan with either non stick spray or more butter. Place your loaf seam side down into the greased loaf pan. Cover the loaf with a towel again, and place it in a warm place to rise. This will take about 45 minutes, you want the loaf to double in size. Lastly bake your bread at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Take out, let it cool, then slice and enjoy. This bread will keep sealed properly for 5-7 days.

I know those instructions might seem daunting but don’t let that scare you away from trying it out. I took a lot of pictures, labeled below, to hopefully help make this process easier, especially if you are a first time bread maker.

It’s important to have your milk, butter and water mixture at the right temperature. If you have a digital thermometer, use that, if not just be sure it’s warm, not hot. I used lukewarm tap water with milk and butter right from the fridge. In my microwave it took 45 seconds to give me the perfect temperature, so that should help you gauge in heating yours up.

Once you’ve added your milk mixture to your dough, this is what it should look like after adding the additional 2 cups of flour, one at a time, and letting them mix. This is the “ball” shape I was referring to.

Now is the time that I switched out my mixing paddle for the dough hook, this is the dough ball after 7 minutes of kneading, on medium speed. The next picture is what the dough will look like after letting it rest for 10 minutes.

Next you will flour your counter and roll your dough out to a 12×7 rectangle. I had some little hands helping me with this part. Once that is done, you roll it from the short end, until you get a log or loaf shape.

Here is the loaf right after I rolled it up and placed it into the greased pan. The next picture is what it looks like after rising for 45 minutes and doubling in size. The third picture is what your loaf should look like once its complete and out of the oven.

If you don’t have a stand mixer you can still make this. You will just need to mix everything with a sturdy spatula in a large bowl. It’ll take a little more arm muscle but it can be done. Just do not skip the kneading of the bread, enlist little hands to help you so you don’t have to do all the hard work. When kneading the bread you are warming and stretching the gluten strands, which leads to a springy and elastic dough. In simple terms, kneading dough = soft chewy bread.

Now storing this right is important to keeping it fresh. Want to know my secret?? Save a bread bag! This loaf will be smaller than a traditional loaf of bread you buy in the store. I actually prefer to save a hot dog or hamburger bun bag, as they are the perfect size! If this is your first time making bread, a zip lock or Tupperware container will also work fine.

This bread is a good amount of work, feel free to double or triple the recipe then slice and freeze additional loaves. Also this easy sandwich bread can be customized however you like. Add fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme to create an Italian loaf. Spread a layer of butter, brown sugar and cinnamon with a sprinkle of raisins before rolling your dough up to create a cinnamon raisin loaf. The possibilities are endless! Once you master this base loaf you can become a bread master.

You’ve probably noticed the bread looking a little different in some of the photos, that’s because one of the loaves I made while mastering this recipe was a honey oat bread. I added a 1/4 cup of old fashion oats and 1 tablespoon of honey to my dough batter during the mixing step. I then added a few oats to the top of my loaf for curb appeal.

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