Perfect Sandwich Bread

I love baking bread! For  a long time, I have spent my baking hours obsessing over perfect artisan loaves. I have made dozens of peasant loaves, sourdoughs, and olive boules, and by this count, almost a hundred baguettes. Nico loves baguette! It never crossed my mind, for some reason, to develop a sandwich loaf.  Perhaps it was because “square breads” remind me of wonder bread, which reminds me of everything I hate about bread.

Since my return from London, I have been feverishly preparing to throw a high tea, which requires lovely, delicate finger sandwiches. I did not have a recipe for a loaf of bread that can be cut into these crustless masterpieces. I decided to learn how to make a great sandwich bread!

Modifying some of my sweet breads and challah recipes, I found what I think is a perfect loaf of white sandwich bread. It has a bit of sweetness to make either a sweet or savory sandwich and a soft, but golden brown crust achieved by a thin coat of butter before baking.

The loaf is hard to mess up and lasts at least 3 days wrapped on the counter. I have not had the chance to test it for longer since it keeps disappearing!

Perfect Sandwich Bread

1 1/2 cup warm milk
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 – 3 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, separated, softened
2 eggs, beaten
5 1/2 cup bread flour

  1. Whisk and dissolve yeast in the milk.
  2. Add to bowl of stand mixer with kneading attachment.
  3. Add the sugar, salt, and beaten eggs.
  4. Add 1 cup flour. Mix on low until incorporated.
  5. Add 3 tbsp butter and 2 more cups flour. Mix on low speed until incorporated.
  6. Add remaining flour and mix on low speed until gathered into a ball.
  7. Mix on medium speed for about 10 minutes until smooth and and pliable.
  8. Cover in oil and place in a covered bowl. Place in cold oven with pilot light on and allow to rise to twice its size. Depending on the temperature, it may take between 1 and 2 hours.
  9. Flour a counter and knead the loaf for 3 minutes.
  10. Add a bit more oil if needed when returning to bowl. Rise for 45 more minutes.
  11. Meanwhile, coat the inside or two 5X9 inch baking tins using about 1 tbsp butter per pan.
  12. Flatten the dough and divide in half.
  13. Fold into a rectangle with folded sides down and place in the tins.
  14. Cover and let rise until just taller than the rim, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  15. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with convection fan on.
  16. Melt remaining butter and brush onto tops of loaves.
  17. Bake for 10 minutes.
  18. Lower heat to 350 and bake for another 20 minutes.

Total cooking time: 4 hours, about 20 minutes active

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