The Fresh Loaf

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Soft, white-ish sandwich bread

kjknits's picture

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 

Oldcampcook's picture

Looks interesting - may give it a try this weekend.

I am confused on one issue:  salt vs yeast.

Some recipes add salt at basically same time as yeast, but others caution to put salt in later.

Can anyone explain rationale for either or both method(s)?

Old Camp Cook


kjknits's picture

Everything I have read cautions the baker to not let the yeast come into direct contact with salt.  But I have recently read that instant yeast is OK to touch salt, as long as it is still dry.  Supposedly, instant yeast can be used in "mixes", like where you put all the dry ingredients together then give it to a friend with instructions to add the wet ingredients at a later time. 

Based on those assumptions, I would proof active dry yeast with the liquid and sugar, then add salt later with the flour.  If using instant yeast, I would just put it in a different area of the bowl from the salt when combining the dry ingredients.  I kind of alluded to this in the recipe in the note at the bottom, but didn't get quite that specific.  Thanks for asking for clarification!

Katie in SC 

sphealey's picture

> Everything I have read cautions the baker to not let the yeast

> come into direct contact with salt.

Between the NYT no-knead video, where the guy dumps the salt directly on the yeast, and my son's science fair project - wonder where he got the topic - {which we haven't been able to put on-line yet}, I have concluded that this is not a concern. Not for any yeast sold in North American in any case. Dump the salt in wherever is most convenient.


kjknits's picture

Thanks, sPh!  I have never tried too hard to test the theory.

Katie in SC

Oldcampcook's picture

Thanks for the clarification.

I am "digging" this bread making, so I have thousands of questions - therefore I am constantly "lurking."

Old Camp Cook

PaddyL's picture

Or unsalted butter, occasionally, but that's kind of expensive just for greasing.  I find that if I use oil, it tends to pool, and Crisco gives a nice crust on the bread.  I honestly do not think there's enough of it to do any harm.

MaryinHammondsport's picture

If the concern about Crisco is that it contains transfats, we have discovered that it no longer has transfats. At least the can we bought recently says "0 grams trans fats" on the label, and on the neutritional information label. So definitely, if it is being used only for greasing pans, it's fine. And I like it better than spray, too.




PaddyL's picture

The trans fat-free Crisco has yet to reach Montreal supermarket shelves, but I use so little for greasing that it doesn't matter.

edh's picture


I had a bread emergency here today; supposed to use last night's roast chicken for sandwiches for tonight's supper, but only realized at about noon that there was no bread in the house (and my starter was in the fridge). Your recipe came through with bells on! It's a pretty fast bread, but not at all bland, and very good for sandwiches!

The emergency was exacerbated by the fact that I was almost out of white flour, so I halved the recipe, used one cup of spelt flour and two of white, and coconut oil instead of butter. Other than that I followed the recipe exactly. Except that I don't have a mixer. So actually I messed around with it quite a bit, but it worked perfectly! There's something so satisfying about a nice simple straight dough.

Actually, it's a wonder any of it made it to the sandwich stage. It was a big hit with the family; only the heel is left for my midnight snack...

Thank you!


kjknits's picture

edh, that's wonderful!  I'm glad it worked well for you, especially with the mods you made!  I bet you had some good roast chicken sandwiches...

sannimiti's picture

thanks for the recipe, kjnits, i just happened to have one problem when trying the recipe yesterday: the crumb was pretty tight and the loaves showed almost no oven spring. they tested proofed (indentation remained) when i put them in the oven and the first rise of the dough was beautiful as well. i happened to be a warm, humid day so i figured they may have been overrisen, but as i mentioned before proofing is always guesswork for me. can anyone help me solve this problem? i'm longing for a crumb like the one shown in the pictures. any tips are highly appreciated!!!

goodday all of you , sanni 

kjknits's picture

Hi Sanni, I'm not sure what went on there.  Were the loaves higher before they went into the oven; I mean, did they fall once they began to bake?  If so, then they probably did overrise.  I usually don't let mine rise much--just about 35 minutes (my kitchen is probably 77-80F degrees most times).  They spring a good bit in the oven.  Maybe someone else has an idea of what happened to your bread.



Katie in SC 

PaddyL's picture

Sometimes the bran can cut through the strands of gluten, but since they were well risen before you put them into the oven, I'd say they were a mite over-risen.

Bad Cook's picture
Bad Cook

Mmmmm!  This looks great!  I'm wondering a couple of things:

1)  Is the sugar totally necessary?  Have any of you ever tried it without it?

2)  Have any of you ever tried this recipe using a sourdough starter instead of yeast, and if so, how much?

3)  I don't have kosher would I use regular salt?  Same measurement?  Is there a purpose for the kosher salt, i.e., does it make the bread better in some way?  Or are you simply Jewish?   :)


Cob's picture


That white part ( a result of good 'oven spring'), that sort of bikini mark on the side of the tin is what baker's call 'shoulder'. It's not a fault, but a feature of tin loaves, imo. If I don't achieve it, I'm gloomy all day....:)

Luckily it did not split all over and become 'ugly'. But to maximise bloom and crust (though this may be undesirable since you're making 'soft, snadwich bread'), is to give it a good slash and/or flour the top to keep it soft and protected from the heat.