I’ve never really been a fan of sliced white sandwich bread. It’s just too hard to find a good loaf that isn’t over-processed and is flavorful and has texture and doesn’t turn gummy when you eat it. A great loaf of white bread should make a terrific grilled cheese or tuna sandwich. It should be moist and tender but dense enough to hold up to fillings, have flavor, and make yummy buttery toast. So I set out to make a recipe that met all those criteria, and after some trial and error, I think I finally got it.
Make sure you use instant yeast (also called rapid rise), which is different than active dry. Instant yeast doesn’t need to proof like active dry yeast does (“proofing” means the yeast has to be mixed with a warm liquid in order to activate) and can be put directly into the flour mixture. It’s a lot easier to use than active dry, and there’s less risk of things going awry during the proofing. You can, of course, swap out active dry for instant, just make sure you proof the yeast in the warm milk mixture, which should be between 105 to 115F.
I hope you give this bread a chance! I promise, it won’t disappoint.
Recipe: White Sandwich Bread
Makes 1 loaf
- 1 lb unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp honey
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup water
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, stir together the flour, yeast, and salt. Melt 2 tbsp butter and the honey together in a saucepan, then add the milk and water, stirring just until the mixture warms to 110°F (it will happen quickly!). Add the warm liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on low until the dough comes together; increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is smooth, stopping the machine a few times to scrape dough from the hook, if necessary, about 10 minutes.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 1 minute. Form the dough into a ball. Clean out the mixing bowl and then grease it with a little olive oil. Return the dough to the bowl, turning the dough to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl loosely with greased plastic wrap and set it in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
- Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten it into a rectangle that’s about 1/2-inch thick, with the short end the length of the loaf pan. Roll the dough into a tight log, then pinch together the seam. Place in the pan, seam side down. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot to proof until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Make sure not to overproof the bread or it will collapse when you bake it.
- While the bread is proofing, preheat the oven to 350°F. Carefully remove the plastic wrap. Melt the remaining 1 tbsp butter and gently brush the bread with it. Place the loaf pan on a baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven until browned and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom or sides, about 40 minutes. Turn the loaf out onto a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing.