{Pantry Staple} Perfect Homemade Sandwich Bread

Its pretty simple: I love baking bread and I love eating bread. I bring bread to almost every food swap and am always experimenting with a new kind. Lately, I have been making so much bread, English muffins, biscuits, etc, that I have not purchased any bread products from the grocery store in quite some time. We are fortunate enough to have no dietary restrictions or allergies, so I am free to try whatever I feel like. At the request of my family, I needed to create “regular” bread: bread suitable for toasting or sandwiches that would stay moist and fresh tasting for several days and basically serve as a substitute for the sliced bread I used to purchase.

Note that my sandwich bread recipe is NOT intended to replicate that bread but is simply a suitable substitute for the things we used that bread for on an almost daily basis. In developing this recipe, I took inspiration from my favorite challah – specifically it’s moistness and light crumb, and an old family recipe for oatmeal-molasses bread, which has great flavor but goes stale pretty quickly.

Perfect Homemade Sandwich Bread
makes 2 loaves

Ingredients in 3 Parts

PART 1:
1 cup lukewarm (not warmer than 100 degrees) water
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 cup flour

PART 2:
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup honey OR molasses
1 Tablespoon salt
1/4 cup butter or light flavored oil (breads with butter taste better but stale a bit faster)

PART 3:
2 eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 cups flour, whole wheat, white or a blend (I use half and half)

METHODS

Part 1
Proof the yeast: dissolve yeast and sugar in one cup lukewarm water. After a few minutes it should be frothy, like this:


Next, add to one cup of flour in a medium bowl, stir well and let stand 30-45 minutes or until spongy and inflated. Before & after:

PART 2 (concurrent to PART 1)
In a large bowl, combine oatmeal, wheat flour, honey or molasses, salt and butter.

Add boiling water and stir well. Let stand while the sponge from part one gets spongy; the oatmeal mixture should cool to room temperature.

PART 3

Add the yeast mixture (PART 1) to the oatmeal mixture (PART 2). Lightly beat the eggs and stir into the mix. Add three cups of the remaining flour and the baking powder and stir well. *This can also be done in a stand mixer with dough hook attachment.*

Knead in the remaining flour (more or less as necessary to acheive a elastic dough that can be kneaded in a light dusting of flour without sticking to the counter).

Knead for a few minutes more. Honestly, for me kneading all depends on how much time I have and what type of mood I am in. Fortunately, the bread recipes generally turn out OK regardless of whether I’ve kneaded 2 minutes or 4, I would just recommend not going too far which would result in a tough dough and flat, dense loaf. I am generally way to busy and distracted and err on the side of underkneading – I think all the magic happens in the rise anyway.

Cover with a damp towel and rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Or, cover loosely with plastic wrap and rise overnight in the fridge. If rising in the fridge, allow the dough to rest at room temperature for about 1/2 hour before shaping loaves.

Prepare 2 loaf pans by lightly oiling. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Gently press dough down in the bowl and cut in half. Remove 1/2 of the dough, press flat and simply roll into a log roughly the length of your loaf pan. Repeat with the remaining 1/2 of the dough. Cover loaves with a damp, lightweight towel and let rise on top of your pre-heating over for about 1/2 hour, or until risen to the top of the loaf pan and slightly rounded over.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until lightly browned and hollow-sounding when tapped. Remove from oven & loaf pans. Cool on a wire rack. It’s best to cool completely before slicing as slicing when hot releases moisture from the rest of the loaf and compromises the texture of whatever isn’t eaten hot… but I can relate if you can’t resist!

For maximum shelf-life, store the bread in an airtight bag or container. If your family doesn’t eat bread FAST like mine, you may freeze the extra loaf as soon as it has cooled. To use, simply defrost *out of the bag/container* at room temperature until thawed, then enjoy and store airtight. Fresh bread doesn’t last more than three to four days in my house, so I can’t make any promises about it’s quality beyond that!

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21 Comments Add yours

  1. ihavetriedit says:

    I think I might try this. I may have to build my courage up a little, though! It looks challenging! I found your blog via “tag-surfer”

    1. Liz says:

      Don’t be afraid… bread really isn’t too hard. Here are my top tips: make sure your yeast proofing water isn’t too hot, don’t overknead and allow plenty of time in a warm spot for rising. Good luck!

  2. Ona says:

    This looks like a fabulous recipe – thanks for sharing it. I still have not found what my husband believes is comparable to “sandwich bread.”

    Do you think this could work in a bread machine? With the multiple parts I’m not sure how I would add. Even if I can’t use my breadmaker – I will try this without.

    1. Liz says:

      Hi Ona! Thanks!

      For a bread machine, here is what I would do:
      Start with Part 2, as written.
      Assuming your bread machine calls for wet ingredients on the bottom and dry on top, add the Part 2 mixture, the eggs lightly beaten, and one cup of water.
      Next, add 5 cups of flour, 1 Tablespoon BREAD MACHINE yeast and 1/2 tsp baking powder.

      Proceed as usual with the bread machine settings. You can halve or scale as necessary depending on your bread machine capacity. Let me know how it turns out! 🙂

  3. Jennifer says:

    Hey Ona, we are bread machine folks too. Here is our sandwich bread:

    for one loaf

    1 1/4 t yeast
    1/2 t salt
    2 T gluten (you don’t need this if you use bread flour)
    1 T sunflower seeds
    1 T millet seeds (you can leave all of the seeds out and this is still delicious)
    2 T honey
    2 C flour + a little more, split up (we like a mix of whole wheat local flours)

    melt 2 T butter in 1 c milk add to machine

    I’ve also found that we have to be responsive to the general humidity and the varieties of the local flour. So here is what we do… We dump everything into the bread machine at the start BUT only one cup of flour. Then, we turn the machine on and slowly add the second cup of flour. If the dough sticks to the pan we slowly sprinkle in more flour until it JUST starts balling up. (This sounds fussy but my 12 year old son can do it.) We are usually somewhere in the range of 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons.

    We use the machine only for the dough and we bake it in the oven–the crust is so much more delicious this way. We pop it in a glass loaf pan and let it rise in a warm oven for 25 minutes then bake it in a glass pan at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. It is awesome!

    1. Liz says:

      Jennifer, that looks like a great recipe, thanks for sharing! Seems like it would be pretty different than our sandwich bread, with the seeds, milk and lack of eggs – I will try it out, though!

  4. Ruby says:

    Cannot even wait to try this recipe, i’ve been on the hunt for a good bread recipe!

  5. Heidi says:

    I just made your recipe for the second time and wanted to tell you how much we’re enjoying it. Soooo delicious. I will use it often. I’ve only baked bread a hand full of times and hoped to find a wheat recipe that my husband and I liked. Thank you for all of the precise discriptions and photos. It made me feel a little more informed of how each stage should look. The only changes I’ve tried so far is to try the recipe with bread flour instead of AP flour. Switched out one half cup of flour for ground flax and I kneaded everything in my stand mixer. My husband looks like he just died and went to heaven when he has a toasted slice in the morning with a little jam.

    1. Liz says:

      Heidi,
      So glad it worked out for you. Bread flour (with higher gluten content) would probably result in a slightly chewier bread but with the honey & butter I bet it was tasty. I will have to try that variation! And, I fully support the addition of flax… I add it to almost everything 🙂

  6. Becky says:

    yummmmmmm!! i want to make this, and slather on some peach jam.

  7. What would be the best substitute for oats? I want to make this bread today but I don’t have plain oats.

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