American Sandwich Bread

Otherwise known as, white bread. I know, you’re probably wondering to yourself, isn’t this the umpteenth “classic white bread” recipe this chick has posted? Well yes, admittedly, I think this is now the third different loaf that I have blogged (there was the Better Homes & Garden version, then the Peter Reinhart recipe, and now this). It’s not that any of the previous loaves have been bad or have disappointed me in any way. It’s quite simply that I.LOVE.BREAD. I don’t come from the land of low carb, folks. And given the opportunity to try a new recipe when I need to restock the kitchen with a fresh loaf of bread, I run with it! And this loaf, let me tell you, is definitely worth running for!

One of the things I loved about this recipe is how quick it was to execute. Many people are intimidated by homemade bread, not only because of yeast, but also because of the time factor. Some believe that it will take the better part of a day to churn out a loaf of homemade bread. That’s just not true. Now granted there are recipes for complex loaves of bread that include sponges, starters, and three rises that can take a day or more, but for your basic loaf of white bread, just not so. Two hours after you start the process you can be pulling a loaf of fresh bread out of your oven.

Another thing I love about this particular recipe is that you get a really high loaf of bread, which isn’t always the case when making a regular white bread. I have had my fair share of smallish loaves, and this one definitely turns in a nice change of pace. The key here it to let it go on its second rise until the dough is about an inch higher than the rim of the loaf pan. Then once in the oven, the loaf will gain even more height.

Edit: I have been asked by a couple of people which white bread recipe has been my favorite now that I have blogged three of them, so I figured I should address that here in my blog for all to read. My answer is a toss up between the Peter Reinhart recipe and this American Sandwich Bread. I really enjoyed the soft crumb that Peter’s bread produced, while I liked the crust and height of this loaf of bread. I may try doing a combination of the recipes to see what I can come up with, but as it stands, these are my two favorite!

This round of bread making was not without incident, and there was almost a casualty. Now as any KA owner can attest, one of the beautiful things about these wonderful appliances is that you can throw in your ingredients and let it work while you tend to other things, such as cleaning up your mess. I do this often when creaming butter and sugar, and kneading bread dough. Both things take at least a few minutes, so I use the idle time to my advantage. Until today. My dough was kneading away on my island and I was putting my dirty utensils in the dishwasher when I heard the KA start to do a thump, which is not unusual when kneading. But then, 2 seconds later, it did a nose dive onto the floor! Luckily the little KA that could is just fine, the floor is fine, catastrophe averted. I have to wonder if perhaps my KA heard me talking behind its back about how I wish it would die so I could upgrade to a Professional 600 and figured it would help me by leaping to its suicidal death?

Regardless, we all survived the incident to bring you this wonderful bread recipe!

Quite possibly my favorite way to eat bread – slathered with butter. When I was younger my grandma often quipped that I was the only person she knew who could make a meal out of butter bread. Not much has changed ;-)

American Sandwich Bread

Yield: One 9-inch loaf

Prep Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients:

3¾ cups (18¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup warm whole milk (about 110 degrees)
1/3 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons honey
1 envelope (about 2¼ teaspoons) instant yeast

Directions:

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Once the oven temperature reaches 200 degrees, maintain the heat for 10 minutes, then turn off the oven.

2. Mix 3½ cups of the flour and the salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix the milk, water, butter, honey, and yeast in a 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Turn the machine to low and slowly add the liquid. When the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is smooth and satiny, stopping the machine two or three times to scrape dough from hook, if necessary, about 10 minutes. (After 5 minutes of kneading, if the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time and up to ¼ cup total, until the dough is no longer sticky.) Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface; knead to form a smooth, round ball, about 15 seconds.

3. Place the dough in a very lightly oiled large bowl, rubbing the dough around the bowl to coat lightly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the warmed oven until the dough doubles in size, 40 to 50 minutes.

4. Gently press the dough into a rectangle 1 inch thick and no longer than 9 inches. WIth a long side facing you, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing with your fingers to make sure the dough sticks to itself. Turn the dough seam-side up and pinch it closed. Place the dough seam-side down in a greased 9 by 5-inch loaf pan and press it gently so it touches all four sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap; set aside in a warm spot until the dough almost doubles in size, 20 to 30 minutes.

5. Keep one oven rack at the lowest position and place the other at the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place an empty baking pan on the bottom rack. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour the boiling water into the empty pan on the bottom rack at set the loaf onto the middle rack. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted at an angle from the short end just above the pan rim into the center of the loaf read 195 degrees, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan, transfer to a wire rack, and cool to room temperature. Slice and serve.

Note: This recipe uses a standing electric mixer. You can hand-knead the dough, but we found it's easy to add too much flour during this stage, resulting in a somewhat tougher loaf. To promote a crisp crust,we found it best to place a loaf pan filled with boiling water in the oven as the bread bakes.

(Source: Baking Illustrated, pages 74-75)

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166 Responses to “American Sandwich Bread”

Comment Pages 1 2 3
  1. Karina on July 20, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    I love this bread! I seriously make it two or three times a week these days. It disappears quickly around here!

    Reply

  2. Melissa on July 20, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Thanks for the recipe! It’s printing right now, and I can’t wait to try it.

    Reply

  3. Tanya on July 20, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    I will be trying this out in the next few days. It definitely beats buying a loaf at the store for $4 and then watching it get moldy. At least if I’m making my own bread, I’m spending significantly less and I don’t have to feel bad if it gets moldy.

    Reply

  4. Brooke on July 20, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Okay, I am going to jump in the bread baking world. I’ll let you know when I make it…I hope mine looks as good as yours. Ditto on the moldy bread.

    Reply

  5. Chelle on July 20, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Brooke, I guarantee you will fall in love with homemade bread! Please feel free to email me if you have any questions when you make the bread!

    Reply

  6. Danielle on July 20, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Chelle–did you use a stone loaf pan for baking? i tried this loaf with a metal pan and it didn’t seem to work quite so well–thinking I may upgrade to a stone pan now! Great job as always!

    Reply

  7. Chelle on July 20, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Hi Danielle – I do use stone loaf pans. The first loaf pans I received were 10″ pans, and as you can imagine, I had some problems turning out loaves that were “long and lean”. When I went to replace them, I received a lot of recommendations for the Pampered Chef stoneware loaf pans, so that is what I went with. I’ve been very happy with them!

    Reply

  8. Chelle on July 20, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Oh also, if you don’t want to do the stoneware, America’s Test Kitchens recently gave the Williams Sonoma Gold Touch loaf pans their highest rating.

    Reply

  9. Kate on July 20, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    We all love when you make bread too!!!! I can almost smell it every time.

    Reply

  10. bunny on July 21, 2008 at 7:07 am

    i love making bread to, my family likes potato bread, i’ve never made a white bread before but this looks so good i’m printing! thanks.

    Reply

  11. Amber on July 21, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Wow, what an amazingly beautiful loaf of bread! I just want to take a bite of my screen. I love my stoneware loaf pans, I have two.

    Reply

  12. kitchenbelle on July 21, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    This looks delicious!!! I can only imagine how wonderful your house smells after this!

    Reply

  13. My Sweet & Saucy on July 21, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    I LOVE homemade bread! This looks soooo good!

    Reply

  14. Annie on July 21, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    This loaf looks absolutely beautiful! I love the height of it, and it is so very white. Carbs rock!

    Reply

  15. Inna on July 24, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    That bread looks so delicious! And I’m sure my Francis would love it too…the boy absolutely LOVES bread (well…bread, and cheese)…
    I might have to make this for him to use as sandwich bread for next week for lunch!

    Reply

  16. Jeanine on July 25, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    wow, that is some NICE looking bread! Interesting about the stone bread pans, I need to find some new ones.

    Reply

  17. Ms. Foodie on September 18, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Thanks for the bread idea Chelle! I had a question about your loaf pans…what is the benefit of stoneware vs. metal? Thanks!

    P.S. Readers of BEB, I made this bread the other day and it was fantastic!

    Reply

  18. Chelle on September 18, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Ms. Foodie – I’m so glad that you enjoying this! As far as stoneware vs. metal, I’m not sure of the “technical” differences, but for me I find that the stoneware help to create a nice brown crust. If you decide to go with metal, I’ve heard that Williams Sonoma’s GoldTouch pans have gotten great reviews.

    Reply

  19. Ms. Foodie on September 20, 2008 at 12:47 am

    Thanks Chelle!

    Reply

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  23. elizabeth on September 29, 2010 at 10:28 am

    I made this last night and it was delicious. For the first time in my (short) bread baking career, I actually made a sandwich from homemade bread.

    One question though: My bread didn’t get as high as I’d like. I had to make a couple substitutions, I used 2% milk instead of whole and I had to sub sugar for honey. I wonder if either of those had anything to do with it?

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 29th, 2010 at 3:15 pm

      High five for homemade bread! The 2% milk and honey sub shouldn’t have caused any differences in the rise. I tend to let my bread do it’s second rise until it’s risen about an inch above the rim of the loaf pan to make sure it’s nice and high.

      Reply

  24. Brindusa@Cooking with my soul on January 13, 2011 at 5:40 pm
  25. Desiree on February 7, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    I just made this bread (my first attempt at homemade bread) and it turned out FABULOUS! The only thing I did differently is put the yeast in with the flour and salt instead of the liquid mixture. I made homemade cinnamon rolls a while back, and when I put the yeast in the “warm” milk, I think it was more like “hot” milk, and I killed it. My rolls never rose, but they still turned out yummy – just dense! This bread is currently baking and the smell is KILLING me! Thank you so much for the recipe – LOVE your blog!

    Reply

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  27. Rebel on March 27, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I made this bread last night and boy howdy it was delicious! A friend asked me for the recipe so I googled it and found you! Beautiful pictures!

    I had bread and butter for breakfast, and bread with butter and jam for lunch, so I know what you mean about living on buttered bread.

    Oh.. but you should never speak ill of your KA! I absolutely love mine and tell her so often. She’s helped me make sooo many yummy things!

    Reply

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  29. sharon on July 19, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Been wanting a good, solid one-loaf sandwich bread recipe and went looking the other day and found this site. Made TWO deelish loaves yesterday after not making bread since February. I opted to use all milk + no water, and used Clover honey for one loaf and Blackberry honey for the other, but noticed no flavor difference. I also used the 8″ loaf pans [I just grabbed what was on top] which produced a tall rise in the oven, w/o the steam. I did like your proofing in the oven idea.

    Did my taste test afterwards w/ butter and my recently made strawberry jam, deeelish! Thanks for posting this recipe. :-)

    Reply

  30. Amanda on August 7, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I’ve got this bread in the oven right now and it smells SO GOOD! I cannot wait to eat it. Thank you, I’ve been looking for a good sandwich bread recipe for a while and trying to make more things at home to save money on groceries. This will go great with my homemade yogurt for breakfast this week!

    Reply

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  32. Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family on August 8, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I am so glad to have found this recipe as I was just saying to my husband yesterday that i would like to make my own white bread…but have not found a good recipe, that is until now!!

    YEAH!!

    Reply

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  34. Jodi on October 7, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I had never made bread before and I made this omg my family LOVED it my picky 5 year old ate half the loaf! Question tho is it easy to double or triple this recipe? Or should I stick with making 1 loaf at a time?

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 10th, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      I have not attempted to double or triple the recipe, but it never hurts to try! If you give it a go I would love to know how it turns out.

      Reply

  35. Anna on October 23, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    This worked perfectly! I never had homemade bread rise so high!! Thanks so much :)

    Reply

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  39. Stephanie on January 30, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Found your site and have bookmarked it for further use. One of the best ones I’ve found for the type of baking I’m wanting to do! Thanks so much for providing the information! Quick question though; I’m just starting my journey with homemade bread and I don’t really know what I’m doing. :D Normally I buy bread from the store, but I ran out and I’ve got yeast on hand.. but I don’t have whole milk. Can I substitute for 2%? How will that affect the bread? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 31st, 2012 at 11:12 am

      Hi Stephanie, You can use 2% milk, the whole milk just provides a bit more fat which creates more of a “creamy” crumb texture, but it would definitely still be more than okay with the 2%.

      Reply

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  41. urmila on March 14, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Hi there!
    Beautiful loaf! Just a quick question.. Can I partly substitute with whole wheat flour?What changes will I have to make?
    THanks a ton for an awesome recipe
    urmila

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 15th, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      Hi there, If you use some whole wheat, you don’t need to make any other adjustments. Just go ahead and substitute (I would do more than 1/2).

      Reply

      • Mom24@4evermom on September 5th, 2012 at 9:25 am

        I’m thinking you meant to say you would do “no” more than 1/2.

        Reply

        • Michelle on October 5th, 2012 at 11:26 am

          Correct, sorry about that!

          Reply

  42. Chris Nelson on March 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Chelle: Do you ever use bread flour for your yeast breads? Could you tell me why or why or why not? Thanks..Chris

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 19th, 2012 at 9:53 am

      Yes, there are times that I use bread dough – it all depends on the texture that is desired in the bread. Bread flour creates a denser, tighter crumb, while all-purpose flour lends itself to a lighter crumb.

      Reply

  43. Naomi on May 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Hi Michelle,
    How much should I use flour, 3-3/4 cups or 3-1/2 cups ? Since you mentioned adding more flour only up to 1/4 cup, I’m wondering this little amount affects dough texture….?
    Thanks :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 15th, 2012 at 8:14 pm

      Hi Naomi, I would go according to the recipe. Start with the 3.5 cups, and then if you need more, slowly add up to a 1/4 cup more, 1 tablespoon at a time. There are times I need it and times I don’t. So many things can affect bread dough and it’s consistency, including air temperature, humidity, etc. It’s usually never the same every single time.

      Reply

  44. Susan on June 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I just made this bread and it came out soooo good. Really, I can’t believe it. I’ve been making homemade bread for about a year now with varying degrees of success ever since getting a bread machine . After a lot of trail and error, I mostly use the bread machine only to mix the dough now, which is what I did here because I don’t have a stand mixer yet. I also proofed my yeast first with the milk, water and honey and I let the dough rise until it was crested over the edge of the pan while set in a sunny spot on the counter – next time I will try it in the oven.
    Thank you for posting this recipe – it is by far the best I have ever tried to make. it came out so light and delicious. Wow – it just tastes so good.

    Reply

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  46. Katie on July 23, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    I just made this bread. AMAZING. Let me also add that although I am a rather avid baker, this is my very first foray into bread. What a great recipe to start out! Big, beautiful, melts in your mouth. Thanks for sharing!

    Also – to those of you without a stand mixer (come on, Christmas!) I used a hand mixer. I only used one blade and kept it at a fairly low speed – then the messy part, hand kneading. It was fun, but a mess. :)

    Reply

  47. Tommie on August 27, 2012 at 6:12 am

    So far it’s been 12 hours and I’m now able to bake. Not sure what the problem was but I had extremely slow rise both times. Just hoping it cooks through.

    Reply

  48. stephanie on September 27, 2012 at 12:23 am

    I made it…………IT’S DELICIOUS!!!! :)

    Reply

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