“In the history of art there are periods when bread seems so beautiful that it nearly gets into museums.” ― Janet Flanne
I like bread, it’s as simple as that. It is part of nearly every meal I consume. While I don’t bake it as frequently as I once did I still bake it often. There was one five year period where I didn’t buy a single loaf but instead made it every few days. That is also the period where I became enamored with whole wheat and whole grain breads (for an easy 100% whole wheat bread, click here; for a recipe which is full of beans and grains—Ezekiel Bread, which is still the most popular post on this blog—click here). This said, sometimes I want comfort food. Sometimes I simply want soft and squishy white bread, not brown, crunchy, or sour. And that’s how I felt yesterday when I made this bread. It is so simple to make. Light and airy, it is great for sandwiches, grilled cheese, and toast. Here’s a few pictures with directions; the complete recipe is at the bottom of the post.
The first step is to make a starter with the liquid and some of the flour, this is where a lot of the flavor comes from (unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the starter, but it is simple and explained in the recipe below). Then you mix and knead the dough and allow it to rest, ferment, and rise for at least an hour. Pictured below is the dough an hour apart.
After the dough has risen you cut it into pieces, shape it into loaves, and place it in bread pans to ferment and rise again. The photos below are the loaves another hour apart.
Lastly, and this is the fun part, you bake it. Look below this next photo for the really simple recipe.
White Sandwich Bread
Makes 3 medium or 2 large loaves
1 cup water (room temperature)
1 cup milk (room temperature)
4 teaspoons instant yeast, divided
3 tablespoons sugar
6-7 cups bread flour, divided
3 large eggs
4 tablespoon melted butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Combine the water, milk, 2 teaspoons of yeast, the sugar, and 2 cups of flour in the bowl to an upright electric mixer; stir it to form a batter. Allow this to ferment for 1 hour. Stir in the eggs and melted butter, then add 4 cups of flour along with the salt and remaining 2 teaspoons of yeast (when adding yeast and salt add them at opposite sides of the bowl). Using a dough hook, knead the dough on low-medium for 10-15 minutes (if the dough is too wet add the remaining cup of flour). Cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap and leave at room temperature and allow it to ferment for 1-2 hours; it will double in size. Remove the dough from the bowl, cut it into 2 or three pieces and shape it into a loaves. Place the loaves into a lightly oiled bread pans. Preheat an oven to 400F while waiting for the bread to rise (about 45 minutes). Bake the bread for about 30 minutes (rotate the pans at least once), or until golden and sounds hollow when tapped upon. Remove the bread from the oven and their pans and allow to cool before slicing.