I'm sorta new to making bread... sorta. I've had a bread machine for years, and I pull it out now and then to bake a fresh loaf, and I'm usually very dissapointed, so I end up storing it away again until next time I get the whim. About a month ago, my foreign exchange students informed me that American bread really is the worse bread in the world. Well, that got the ole bread machine out, and I became determined to find the secret of making really good bread. Searched the entire web, tried one recipe after another, and tweaked the one I liked the most until I found the secret to light, fluffy sandwich bread with a crisp crust... and it had to taste good too.
Here's what I found works for me, and I didn't find it anywhere on the web... it came to me after throwing out about 3 doz loaves, and over 100 hours in the kitchen the last month.
The White Sandwich Bread Recipe I like:
1 1/3 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
combine in small bowl, heat in microwave to get it to 100-110 degrees (F)
pour this mixture in the bread machine pan
4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons active yeast
2 teaspoons bread enhancer
(I made my own bread enhancer, I'll post the recipe for that later)
2 teaspoons salt
Close the lid, set machine to dough setting, start.
Stop after 40 minutes. reset. Start the dough setting again, and allow to knead again until it finishes. DO NOT LET THE MACHINE RISE THE DOUGH.
Remove the dough, place in a large oiled bowl covering all sides of dough, cover with plastic wrap.
Allow to rise a full 1-1 1/2 hours in warm place.
Roll it out of bowl onto a floured surface, and mash (don't punch) fold in thirds (top to middle, bottom to top), then bring sides to the middle to meet... pinch together to close ends.
Place seam side down in a buttered 9x5 loaf pan. Allow to rise fully (1 - 1 1/2 hours)
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.
My European kids are raving about it, and won't take any other bread in their lunches now.
Today, I made a loaf of multigrain bread using the same recipe except:
I replaced 1 cup of the All Purpose Flour with 1/3 cup Rye, and 2/3 cups Wheat.
I added 1/2 cup sunflower seads at the beginning of the second kneading.
It proofed like a dream, and smells like a peice of heaven... tastes too good to be true.
Now the European kids are trying to decide which one they want in their lunch tomorrow.