Thursday, June 14, 2012

American Sandwich Bread

The sweet smell of baking bread is one of the best fragrances I know of. Experience the great-smelling and great-tasting wonder of baking your own homemade bread with this amazing recipe. It happens to be by far the best bread I've ever tasted!

American Sandwich Bread

Makes: one 9-inch loaf
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes plus cooling time


1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup water
4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) melted butter
3 tbsp. honey
3 3/4 cups bread flour, plus extra for the counter
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp.) instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 tsp. salt


1. Heat the milk and water in a small saucepan until the temperature reaches 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat. Pour the melted butter and honey into the saucepan and stir well. Mix 3 1/2 cups of the flour, yeast, and salt together in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the milk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 1 minute.

2. Increase the speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  If, after 5 minutes, more flour is needed, add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, 1 tsp. at a time, until the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

3. Rub a teaspoonful of flour around in your hands in order to avoid the dough sticking to your hands. Trust me, that really helps! Place the dough onto a clean counter and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball, about 1 minute. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and gentry press it into a 9-inch square. Roll the dough into a tight cylinder and pinch the seam closed. Place the loaf seam-side down into a 9-inch loaf pan, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until it has nearly doubled in size and springs back slowly when indented with a finger, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

5. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Brush the loaf with the remaining 1 tbsp. butter. Set the loaf on the oven rack and fill another empty loaf pan with the boiling water. Place this loaf pan next to the first. Bake until golden, 40 minutes. Flip the bread out onto a wire rack and let cool to room temperature before slicing, about 2 hours.


Recipe courtesy of America's Test Kitchen.

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