Bread for Beginners: Sandwich Bread Recipe

Saturday, March 21, 2020

A few months ago I decided I'd like to try baking all our bread instead of buying some of it at the store. I was already baking about half of what we eat, but was tired of getting cheap grocery store bread that was full of junk (and the nice stuff is pricey!!). So I tried out a bunch of different recipes, tweaked my favorite, and baked my heart out.

Little did I know that a couple months later, there would be a serious bread shortage in stores! I'm so glad I was already in the habit of baking all our bread, and if you've found yourself in a new position of needing to bake all of your own, maybe this will be a good place to start?


This recipe makes two loaves of bread, which would very easily get eaten in two days in our family... But I'm a mean mom, and I ration what the kids eat, so they last us more like 3-4 days. I cool them, slice, and pop one loaf straight into the freezer and leave the other on the counter. Once we're almost done with the first loaf, I pull out the other and make a mental note to bake a couple more loaves the next day!

(I'm not fancy and this blog platform doesn't support recipe widgets, so I've got a printable recipe card at the bottom that will hopefully work for you!)

Ingredients:



-2 cups warm water (NOT hot, you will kill the yeast!)
-1/2 cup white sugar (can sub 1/4 cup brown sugar, or sub honey but you may need to add extra flour or use less water to counteract the extra liquid)
-1.5 tbsp yeast (if you have a Costco, just buy the big package of Red Star yeast!)
-1/4 cup oil (any neutral oil is fine, I use olive oil)
-1.5 tsp salt
-5.5-6 cups flour 

(I use 1 cup whole wheat, the rest all-purpose because it's what I always have on hand. Bread flour is fine, it'll make it rise a little higher but it's also more expensive and I can't buy it in bulk around here)

Add sugar and yeast to large bowl, then pour in water. Allow mixture to rest approx. 5 minutes until foamy. Add oil and salt, then mix in one cup of flour at a time until flour is incorporated.

If you have a bread machine, you can halve this recipe and let the machine do the work for you on the "dough" setting, then do the second rise in the loaf pan so that you don't have a weird square loaf of bread.



Knead 5-10 minutes (I use the dough hook on my stand mixer), then oil bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a wet towel, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour until doubled. Dough will be somewhat stiff before rising.



(If you don't have a warm place in your house, popping the rising dough into the oven with the light on and door shut will provide it with the perfect temperature for good rising! Just don't preheat the oven with the dough in there...)




Remove dough from the bowl onto a floured surface, and divide into two equal pieces. Press each piece into a rectangle, approximately 9" wide, then roll tightly into a cylinder, pinching the seam at the bottom and tucking the ends under. Place loaves in greased or parchment-lined 9" loaf pans, and cover with plastic wrap or a wet towel. Let rise 30 minutes-1 hour, or until dough has risen 1" above lip of pan.


Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then cool on a rack 10 minutes before removing from pans to cool the rest of the way.

 

Cool completely (or as much as you can possibly stand) before slicing.






Somehow I always manage to cut this into exactly seventeen slices. It's eerie. Store in a plastic bread bag, or let me know your much better storage solution!

 

Links to materials used are affiliate:

These loaf pans are standard, inexpensive, and easy to use
I adore my loaf pan liners - I reuse them several times before they're too misshapen to use anymore, and they've saved me so much time since I don't have to grease the pans or even really wash them!
A dough scraper really helps when the dough is sticky or super-soft and hard to transfer to the loaf pans.
This is the workhorse mixer I've been using for 11+ years! Pricey, but on sale frequently (like now!), and I use it almost every day.
I've been saving old bags from store-bought sandwich bread and storing our bread in those, but once they get torn up and tossed, I might replace them with these bread bags. But I wouldn't mind a reusable alternative! Right now this storage bin is on my wish list - maybe for my birthday next month!
Last, a good bread knife makes a world of difference - you need something long and very sharp to cut your sandwich bread into thin, even slices.


Want to try baking some other things? Here's our favorite pizza crust, no-knead crusty bread, and soft flatbread.

14 comments:

  1. Around here flour is GONE from the shelves! I'm glad I grabbed 2 bags of AP flour before it all started...I make bread once a week, more for a treat than anything else, but my husband snagged a box of cake flour and asked me to try using that, since it was all the store had. Short story, it didn't really work, but my kids and husband ate it anyway with butter and jam. I thought it smelled horrid!

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    Replies
    1. Oh wow that would be interesting to try with cake flour!! Isn't cake flour just AP flour with corn starch added? I can't imagine what a difference that would make, hmm...

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    2. Okay no I looked it up, that's just a cake flour substitute, apparently cake flour is just really low in protein so I guess you would end up with really soft, crumbly bread? Interesting...

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  2. Oh, this looks so good. So we had to start baking bread this week, and I was pretty excited to get back to it since I'd stopped shortly before Sam wa born (so like 20 months ago! 😬). We do the Artisan bread in Five recipe, the basic one, and make the huge amount in a big plastic food storage bin .my only complaint is that the loaves are tiny and we eat one in one sitting, even with only 6 of us. I wonder if this recipe could be tweaked to work with the ABIF method, stored in the fridge? I know they have a sandwich recipe but it always looked more complicated..

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    1. I think if you were to tweak it following those principles you would want to reduce the yeast for a slower rise? It would be interesting to tweak the Artisan recipe and see what a difference it made adding sugar and flour and giving it more time to rise at room temperature 🤔 I like my sandwich bread more robust and hard like artisan bread but the kids like theirs soft and squishy!

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  3. Yes, those loaves are beautiful!!! I’m so excited you posted this.
    My bread is always a little tough and really doesn’t cut it for sandwich bread. I can’t wait to try this recipe since you seem like an expert at bread making ! If you haven’t already and you want to share your sourdough recipe that would be so fantastic!
    I hope your family is doing well through all of this, take care.

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    Replies
    1. I will try to share my sourdough recipe some time! I use the high hydration recipe from my no-knead sourdough cookbook, I'll try to find a link...

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  4. I made this recipe today and am very happy how it turned out! I know a lot of people like a crusty bread but I really don't - this is tender and nice. I'm excited to try it again soon, I didn't do a very good job of shaping it and I know I have a lot to learn about bread making! Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad it turned out well! The shaping really does take practice—sometimes I succeed and a lot of the time it's not very pretty... But it's always delicious!

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  5. I convinced a semi-skeptical husband to whip up a batch and it was a smash hit! I didn't let the kids have any for breakfast and we saved it for lunch sandwiches. It was gone in nearly a day. I'm hoping that next time he'll swap the white sugar for brown sugar and add a little cinnamon (thinking Thomas' cinnamon swirl bread)

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    Replies
    1. Awesome!! I've heard that cinnamon inhibits rising, so I haven't added any straight to the dough but I've added brown sugar+cinnamon before shaping (when you have it pressed into a rectangle you can brush with melted butter, sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon the way you would do with cinnamon rolls, and then roll up and bake for a swirl) and it's worked really nicely!

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    2. My husband has been baking this recipe for the last week and we even had to get a third and fourth bread pan because he does a double batch! He adds cinnamon and sugar before rolling. I don't think we can ever eat Pepperidge Farm cinnamon swirl again!

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  6. I think the oven temp is a bit low, it's a nice write-up and good recipe, but up the oven temp to 375deg.

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