The Very Best White Sandwich Bread
Soft and fluffy with a chewy crust, this is the Very Best White Sandwich Bread recipe ever. Fragrant slices have a buttery crumb and are the best surface for slathering on some PB&J.
We had a few cool days before this sweaty heat wave rolled in where I was ready to bust out my leather boots and wool sweaters. I think the temp reached a frigid 79 degrees for the high one day and I was, literally, wrapped up in a faux-fur blanket thinking of snowflakes and holiday decor. I was somewhat delusional that day, I actually was happy that fall was here. But it wasn’t because now….it’s 99 bazillion degrees outside. But for that brief moment in crazy town, it was time to bake bread. And so I did.
There’s something special about a freshly baked loaf of bread. And white bread brings back floods of memories for me, I ate so many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when I was young. They were always made on Strohman white bread…which now, if I decided to eat it again would, most likely, have a spongy, springy texture without much flavor. I started craving white bread during the deep freeze the other week so I did what any self respecting food blogger would do and fired up the oven. It was the perfect day for it being that it was not searing hot outside. I pulled out an old recipe from my recipe box….yes, I still own a recipe box and got to work.
The Very Best White Sandwich Bread is very easy to make. I made the dough using the dough hook on my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer making the process clean and simple. To ensure a tender crumb, make sure you use a high quality bread flour…I used Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour with stellar results. The flour baked to a soft, fluffy texture and created the perfect crust. The perfect bread for those back to school sandwiches or to create this summer classic with a twist!
- 1 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 egg slightly beaten
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk with butter over low heat just until the butter melts. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly (if you add the yeast when the milk is too hot it will kill the yeast). Add to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. Proof the yeast by adding it to the milk and butter. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Allow to stand 3 minutes until foam starts to appear. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the flour. When the dough begins to come together, increase the speed to medium. Add the salt and egg. Continue mixing until the dough is no longer sticky scraping down the sizes of the bowl occasionally, about 10 minutes.
- Turn the dough onto a clean work surface and knead for a minute by hand. Form the dough into a ball and place in an lightly oiled bowl. Turn to coat the entire ball with oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Test the dough by pressing 2 fingers into it. If indents remain, the dough is adequately risen.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto your work surface. Handle the dough gently, overworking the gluten at this point will produce a dense loaf that is difficult to shape. *To form a loaf, pat the dough into a rectangle, fold the long sides to the middle then fold under the ends. Pinch the seams closed and place in a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray, seam side down. Make sure the dough touches all sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise a second time for 20 minutes or until the top of the dough is almost level with the top of the loaf pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, place a large pan on the bottom rack of the oven and fill with 3 cups hot water to create a steam bath for the bread. This will make a crisp crust.
- Slash dough down the middle of the loaf with a sharp knife to allow the steam to escape during baking. Brush the top with melted butter. Bake the bread for 30 to 40 minutes until the crust is golden and internal temperature reads 195 degrees F when checked with an instant read thermometer. The bottom of the loaf should sound hollow when tapped. Immediately remove the bread from the pan and cool completely on a rack.