Soft, white-ish sandwich bread
There was a request recently for soft sandwich bread, and I actually have been baking my own soft sandwich bread for several years now. It began as a recipe from my MIL, but I have made some changes to suit our family better. It's a white bread, but there is a pretty hefty amount of wheat bran in the dough, which gives it a pretty appearance and also boosts the fiber content. Anyway, here it is. If you try it, I'd love to hear how it went for you.
Katie's Sandwich Bread
Makes two 1.5 pound loaves
2 C water
1/4 C butter
2 TBSP sugar
1 package active dry yeast, or 2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast, or 2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 C wheat bran
2 tsp kosher salt
about 6 C bread flour
Warm water and butter in a glass bowl or measuring cup in the microwave until just warmed. The butter doesn't have to be completely melted--it will mix just fine into the dough later on. (My microwave warms the water and butter just enough in 1 minute and 10 seconds on high power. You can also do this in a pan on the stove, if you don't have a microwave.) Place yeast in bowl of stand mixer with 3 cups of flour, wheat bran, sugar, water/butter mixture, and the salt. (See note.) Combine thoroughly with the dough hook. Begin adding remaining flour in 1/2 C increments until a cohesive dough forms. Knead for 5-6 minutes with your stand mixer using the dough hook (mine kneads in this time at speed 2). The dough is fully kneaded when it passes the windowpane test. Round dough out, then place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. I place my bowl in the oven with the light on.
When dough has doubled, punch down dough, divide in half, and form into loaves. I just flatten each piece of dough out to a rectangle, then roll it up, being sure to seal it tightly while rolling to increase the surface tension on the final loaf. Pinch the seal, turn under the ends, and place loaves in greased pans (I use 9 x 5 heavy metal pans). Cover (I use the same oiled plastic wrap from the first rise) to rise for another 35 minutes. Bake at 375 for about 27 minutes, or until browned and hollow-sounding when thumped.
Note: when using active dry yeast, I put it in the mixing bowl with the water/butter and sugar and let it proof for a few minutes, till it gets foamy. When using instant yeast, I just mix it in with the first addition of dry ingredients and then go on from there.
I have found that greasing my loaf pans with Crisco (I know, but what can I say, it works) provides the best release after baking. Also, I use a Misto olive oil sprayer to oil the bowls and plastic wrap.
Here are the two batches of bread I baked today:
For some reason these loaves rose a little higher than usual. The highest one was 5.5 inches! I don't know what causes the "blowouts" on the sides of the loaves, but I don't mind them. The bread is mildly-flavored, soft, and moist. Only caveat is that it stales quickly, so I slice and freeze the loaves on the same day I bake them. Then we just pull off slices as needed.
Enjoy, Katie in SC