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Back to Basics - A Simple White Sandwich Bread


There are only a few divisions in the big picture of the universe, the cosmos that is bread. It's true. There are two types of breads: those that rise with yeast and those that use a chemical agent such as baking powder or baking soda. You can also divide the bread world into geographic groups, such as European and North American breads womens clothing Ireland. There are also breads that only use natural leavening and all flat breads, some with yeast, others without. Okay. Ok. There are only a handful of categories. Let me suggest some great cookbooks. The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum and Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day: The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking are two of my favorites.

Today, I want to get back to basics. I want to make a white sandwich bread with enough structure to hold the filling and not fall apart. The bread should have a soft crust, but not too absorbent to make it soggy when filled with all the goodies. This bread is typical for North American breads. It has some fat, sugar, and an enriching agent, which makes it the perfect sandwich bread. This is not Wonder Bread. It's amazing that it's still called bread. It's amazing! I want a loaf that can hold the goods for several days and be edible. It will likely disappear the very next day. It should be able to withstand the elements for a minimum of three days.

A few ingredients are necessary for all bread. Of course, flour. Some liquids (water, milk or fruit juice). Salt. Salt. Salt is essential for yeast to run smoothly. Apart from its flavor, salt is nature's brake. It slows down yeast. It slows down yeast.

These ingredients can be combined with other ingredients to enhance the final result. To make bread more soft, you can add oil, sugar, and eggs. European breads that have thick and chewy crusts are made from only flour, water, and salt. Sometimes, you can even make your own sourdough starters. These breads can take up to three days to make, and they are delicious. They aren't sandwich breads. This is not what I want today.

Sandwich bread is an entirely different experience. This is a basic recipe for sandwich bread. There are some explanations and variations. Yum! Yum!

This is all you need.

Simple white sandwich bread

For 2 loaves

Ingredients:1 1/4 cups warm water

2 1/4 teaspoons active yeast

1 cup milk at room temp

2 Tablespoons Honey**

2 teaspoons salt

3 Tablespoons soft Butter***

6 cups bread flour ****

1/4 cup dough enhancer. This will soften the bread and give it more structure. It also increases the bread's shelf life. Although it's not required, if you do use it, make sure to use a natural enhancer that has no after-taste. King Arthur Flour sells a great enhancer.


Combine the warm water with yeast, then add milk, honey and salt. Mix well. Mix in 4 cups flour. Add in the remaining flour, mixing well. The dough should be tacky but not sticky. Once the dough has been kneaded, place it on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary until it is smooth and firm to the touch.

Put the dough in a medium-sized greased bowl. Cover the dough with a clean cloth or plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free area for about one to one half hour.

To remove any gas, punch the dough down. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and let it rest for five minutes. Divide the dough in two equal portions and form each half into a loaf. Pull the dough towards the bottom. This reduces the surface tension and creates a smoother crust. Let rise for 45 minutes, or until the loaf is doubled in size.

Bake bread at 350°F for 40 minutes, or until the top of the bread is golden brown. The bread should sound hollow when tapped. Let breads cool on racks after being removed from their pans.

* Different liquids can produce different results. Water, for example, will result in a slightly more coarse bread, which is still delicious, but not as soft. This is a good idea for non-dairy breads. Apple juice could be substituted. This will give the bread a unique flavor but it is not suitable for all purposes. Orange juice will make bread look more like a cake. Soy milk is an excellent choice for protein. Some people don't like the aftertaste of some brands so make sure to use plain soy milk.

**Honey gives bread a rich taste, but you can use any sweetener. White sugar is equally good and makes the bread whiter. Honey gives the bread a golden hue. The bread will turn a light brown color if you use brown sugar. Molasses is a strong flavor that makes bread 'brown. The bread will be colored by corn syrup, which I don't like, but...

*** Although the 'fat' is very minimal, it is essential. It makes the bread browner and gives it texture. The rising process will be slowed down by oil, so don't use too much if you are trying to alter the recipe. Margarine could be used to make a non-dairy loaf. You could also use regular vegetable oil. Olive oil is not recommended as it can flavor the bread and make it heavy. Some European breads can use olive oil, but not here.

**** Bread flour contains the most gluten, but it will make your bread a little heavier than all-purpose flour. Use either interchangeably. You can substitute regular flour with 2 cups whole wheat flour if you wish. You might need to increase the liquid and yeast slightly for a slightly longer rise time. Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques & Recipes is a great cookbook that contains lots of great tips. Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads, New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor is a great book that focuses on whole wheat breads. Both books are highly recommended. For now, bye.

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