Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Classic White Sandwich Bread

Oh my goodness!  Don't you just love the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven?  I know I do and I think the hubs likes it even better!  Nothing is easier and more simple to do than this loaf of bread.  With a little practice, you too can make perfect bread at home! Original recipe from King Arthur Flour.

1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water*
1 heaping tablespoon honey
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons soft butter
4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup Baker's Special Dry Milk or 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk granules
*Use the lesser amount in summer or humid climates; the greater amount in winter or drier climates.

Mix all of the ingredients in the order listed, and mix and knead, by hand, or using a stand mixer (I used my Kitchen Aid with the dough hook) to make a smooth dough. It won't be particularly soft nor stiff; it should be smooth and feel bouncy and elastic under your hands.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, or large (8-cup) measuring cup. Cover it, and let it rise for 60 to 90 minutes, till it's become quite puffy, though not necessarily doubled in size. (Tip - turn on oven for only 1 minute to 400 - after 1 minute turn oven off and  place bowl inside oven). 
Gently deflate the dough, and shape it into a fat 9" log. Place it in a lightly greased 9" x 5" loaf pan.
Cover the pan, and let the dough rise for 60 to 90 minutes (mine only took 60 minutes), till it's crowned 1" to 1 1/2" over the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake the bread for 20 minutes. Tent it lightly with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, till it's golden brown. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center will read 195°F to 200°F.
Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out onto a rack to cool. Brush top with butter if desired. When completely cool, wrap in plastic, and store at room temperature.
Yield: 1 large loaf, about 18 servings.
Dough all risen

Shaped into 9x5 loaf

Ready to bake!