I love bread of all kinds. Preferably fresh/hot out of the oven slathered with plenty of homemade butter. If it’s made from wheat, I probably will like it and eat way too much of it.
My husband also loves bread. His absolute favorite food is the sandwich. It irks me to buy sandwich bread. So, I began the search for the perfect loaf of sandwich bread, the loaf that pleased both me and my husband.
The search was not very long or drawn out. One day I remembered my old standby from the days before No-Knead-Bread and I pulled out my old copy of the Joy of Cooking.
The perfect sandwich loaf in our house needs to have a fine crumb, slice thin without falling apart, have a thin but crispy crust, stale slowly, and still be delicious. We found that the way to achieve all of this is to make an enriched bread dough. The milk (instead of just water), butter, and eggs all contribute to the texture as well as to keep the bread from going stale quickly. Also – for true sandwich bread (sorry No-Knead-Bread) – you need to knead the bread.
I want you to want me, I need you to knead me!
Whole-Wheat Sandwich Bread
makes 2 loaves
adapted from the Joy of Cooking
4 t yeast
1/4 c. warm water water
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 T salt
2 T sugar or honey
2 1/2 c whole wheat flour
2 1/2 c white flour or bread flour
In a large mixing bowl combine 4 T yeast with 1/4 c warm water. Let yeast proof for 3-5 minutes. When the yeast is bubbly you’ll know its ready to get to work.
Add in 2 eggs and mix to combine the eggs and yeast mixture.
In a small pot, gently heat milk, water, salt, sugar or honey, and butter until it reaches about 100 degrees.
Slowly, so as not to scramble the eggs, mix the milk mixture into the yeast/egg mixture.
Add flour to the milk/yeast/egg mixture about 1/2 cup at a time. I always alternate between white and wheat. When you’ve got a mass of dough that holds together and is not too sticky, turn it out onto a floured work space. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. This will probably take 5-10 minutes depending on how much white/whole wheat flour you use. Leave the dough on the counter or in a bowl and cover with a towel. Let the dough rise for about an hour until it is doubled in size.
Knead dough again for a few minutes. Cover and let rise until doubled. If you are pressed for time this second rise can be omitted, but it will make the texture of the bread much better. And honestly, my bread has never taken an hour to double in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. When doubled in size again, punch the dough down and divide in half. Shape each half into a loaf shape and drop into a loaf pan. Cover and leave to rise until the bread just crests about the edge of the pan. Put bread in the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 450, turn the oven down to 350 and bake for 30 more minutes.
When bread is done, turn it out of the loaf pan and let cool. You can check the loaf’s done-ness by tapping on the bottom: if it sounds hollow, it’s done. Slice it up and eat it up. Smear it with butter and devour an entire loaf in one sitting. Just remember that the hot loaf of bread will not slice well. It will crush. If you want nice slices for a sandwich, wait until the loaf has cooled.
Variations: rye flour can be used instead of whole wheat. An all white loaf is also really delicious. Instead of loaves of bread, shape the dough into rolls or hamburger buns or hot dog buns.
[As seen on Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways blog hop]