I admit: The photos won’t do this bread justice. Composition ain’t my forte, folks. Can we just use our words today?
A popular staple food, well-known in the deepest recesses of earth since prehistoric times. You travel to Calcutta, Siberia, or even Narnia and there it is: Some form of bread, leavened or not.
Its significance goes beyond nutrition. Bread is built into the social and emotional construct. You can’t think of a childhood PB&J between two slices of Wonder Bread and not feel some level of nostalgia. It’s not the Peanut butter – though I have a soft spot for Skippy, nor the jelly. It’s the bread. Two pieces of soft bread giving way to sticky peanut butter and sweet, artificially flavored jelly.
Bread is prominent in everyday life, woven into life’s tapestry.
I try to bake my own bread as much as I can. The problem is usually yield. The kneading, the waiting, and sometimes you end up with one loaf of bread which lasts like a day. No, really. Freshly baked bread in my house lasts less than 24 hours. It’s like a bread party in my house.
This bread recipe, however, makes two hugemongous loaves. Mmmhmm – That’s right.
Two gigantic freshly baked loaves of bread to carbo-load on.
The soft yeasted dough comes together rapidly and rises to perfection. You will need a giant bowl to accommodate the rise.
This bread is soft, much like store-bought sandwich bread and pleasantly hearty. It’s perfect for sandwiches (oh, the sandwiches!), French toast, or just holding and munching in front of your TV.
Which I have done.
No shame in my bread game.
The Best Sandwich Bread Ever!
For the yeast
- 4½ teaspoons Active dry yeast
- ¾ cup Warm water
- 2 tablespoons Granulated sugar
For the bread
- 4 cups Bread flour
- 5-6 cups All-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Salt
- 6 tablespoons + more to butter bowl Unsalted butter at room temp
- 2 2/3 cups Warm water no warmer than 110° fahrenheit
- 3 tablespoons melted Unsalted butter (for brushing)
- Kosher salt
- To a medium bowl, add yeast, water, and granulated sugar. Stir to dissolve yeast and allow to stand for 5 minutes until foamy.
- We are kneading dough by hand, so get ready. Add all the bread flour, about 4 cups of the all-purpose flour, and salt to a very large bowl. Rub in the butter with your hands until the butter almost disappears into the flour and the mixture has a slight sandy texture. Make a well in the center of flour and add the warm water and yeast mixture.
- With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the water until a sticky dough forms. Continue stirring with the wooden spoon, adding remaining dough about 1/4 cup at a time until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough, adding more flour as needed (you may not use all the flour) until the dough is soft and tacky, but not sticky, about 10-15 minutes of active kneading.
- Liberally butter a clean bowl (or the same bowl you used to mix dough). Place the dough inside the bowl and turn a few times to coat. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free place until the dough had doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven 375° Fahrenhet and grease two 9x5 inch load pans and set aside.
- Turn the dough onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Gently press on the dough to remove air trapped during rising. Divide the dough in two. Working one piece at a time, gengtly pat and stretch the dough into a rough rectangle. Roll up the rectangle, one at a time, starting at the short end creating a tight cylinder. Pinch the ends and seam to seal the dough. Place the dough cylinders seam side down into greased loaf pans.
- Cover the loaves loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Remove plastic wrap from the loaves and brush each loaf gently with the melted butter.
- Place the loaves in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating about mid-way through for even baking, until the loaves are golden brown, and the internal temperature of the dough reads over 190° Fahrenheit in an instant-read thermometer.
- Remove loaves from oven and immediately brush them with melted butter and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Allow the loaves to cool for about 5 minutes or so, then remove from pans and allow to cool completely.
- Bread will last, well covered for about 4 days and about 1 month in the freezer.