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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164 Responses to “American Sandwich Bread”

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  1. Pingback: Paine pentru sandwich / Sandwich breadCooking with my soul

  2. Tumen on March 9, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Wow, this is simply delicious and simply fool proof. The loaf has a lovely crust and a soft moist crumb. I couldn’t wait for the loaf to completely cool and expected tearing when I sliced into it. It sliced beautifully. Normally we prefer some whole grain in our bread and bake artisan free-form loaves on a stone. This recipe is perfect for the occasional indulgence of plain white home baked bread. Grandma didn’t do it better! This is definitely one for the recipe file.

    Reply

  3. Keri on March 18, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Loved this white bread recipe. My little guys have been asking for slices for breakfast, snack, and dinner…..I had to make another loaf tonight to get us through the rest of the week!!!!! Easy to follow recipe and the loaves turned out just as you pictured…..Many Thanks from Traverse City, Michigan.

    Reply

  4. Stajah on April 1, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    I have made this bread twice now and it is the best. It comes out tall and beautiful, and the taste is yummy. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY better than any store bought bread. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe and tips.

    Reply

  5. Bethany Schimmel on April 6, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    This was such an easy recipe! Thank your for sharing. It’s rising by the oven right now. My fiancé came home from a run and said, “Mmm…it smells like…bread!”

    So it must be working.

    Reply

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  7. buttercup on April 23, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Has anyone used a glass bread pan? Is there a reason I should or shouldn’t use it?

    Reply

  8. Kimberly on May 3, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Made this for the first time today- delicious! I’m a beginner bread-baker, but it still turned out fantastic!

    Reply

  9. Matthew on May 22, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    I’m trying making bread for the first time I hope I do it right….

    Reply

  10. barbara on May 30, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    This is such an easy recipe! I make double recipe and place it as a round loaf on a stone to bake after slicing a criss cross on the top. Toward mid baking time I coat with olive oil over the top for browing…that or egg white to make shiny as well. It tastes wonderful! Thank you for this great recipe!

    Reply

  11. Barb on May 30, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    @ Matt: I seriously doubt you could go wrong…except we all need to be watchful that the temp of the milk and water doesn’t get too hot and thereby kill the yeast. I think almost all of us have done that once lo, lol Once you bake this I bet you will move to a bit of experimenting. That is how we come up with new recipes anyway. This one is great…so enjoy your bread! Some deviation of a written recipe can turn into a new treat! Good luck!

    Reply

  12. Linds Hart on June 2, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    I’m having some trouble getting this bread to rise enough (tried leaving it to rise much longer in both stages, but wouldn’t really breach the top of the loaf pan). Are there any pointers you can provide that might help this become a fully realized sandwich bread instead of a delicious short stacked loaf?

    Reply

    • Linds Hart on June 2nd, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      Might help to note that I reside at about 4,000 ft above sea level – my baking here in MT hasn’t been as easy as I hoped it would be.

      Reply

      • Linds Hart on June 2nd, 2014 at 4:56 pm

        Well, I just realized I used active dry yeast and didn’t let it activate, so I think I’ve found the answer all by myself!

        Reply

        • Michelle on June 3rd, 2014 at 2:25 pm

          Ahh!! Well, if that doesn’t work, try preheating the oven for a couple of minutes, then putting the loaf in there to proof. Sometimes help to give it a boost if the house isn’t warm or humid.

          Reply

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  17. Pamela on July 21, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Well it’s now July 20, 2014 and I just came across this bread recipe on your site. I just LOVE the smell of making and baking bread. I’ve never been a big bread eater (I think some degree of this wheat allergy has always been in me, it’s just that it wasn’t to the severe level yet and I didn’t recognize the allergy) although there is very little better in life than a slice of warm, homemade white bread with some nice butter (also homemade at times) and spread with a generous layer of Apple Butter. WOW, is THAT good. That’s also one of my dad’s very favorite things but since he developed Type II Diabetes he can’t enjoy these types of treats very often. We’ve discovered that regular white flour will really elevate his blood sugar levels while whole wheat flour only does a fraction of the amount. This is why my mom usually cooks with whole wheat pasta. And finally, worst of all, I can’t enjoy normal bread AT ALL since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and I just haven’t made myself start making gluten free bread yet. I hate to think of buying all those odd, weird flours. I recently bought the bread and pizza crust blend of the new gluten free flour substitute called Cup4Cup. I guess making bread is going to be just like my cake baking, I can bake it for others, I just can’t eat it myself. So…..six years have passed since the original posting and your KitchenAid mixer tried to commit suicide. Were you ever able to upgrade and get the larger mixer? I’ve been lucky, when my parents bought me my KitchenAid stand mixer they must have been in a fog and not thinking as they bought me the smallest one they make, the 4-1/2 size bowl. Me, who does more baking in a couple of weeks than anyone else in my family does in a year. But yet, when my dad bought one for my mom, he got her the largest one they make, and she doesn’t do very much baking, not enough to need that anyway. Well, about a year ago when I was talking about buying myself a new larger mixer my mom decided to give me her LARGE stand mixer. It is SO nice when I make my frosting to decorate cakes. I use a recipe given to me by a friend and I often double or even triple it. It filled my small one almost to the rim, so did my cheesecake recipe I make from Martha Stewart and I get a fair number of orders for those. I now have two mixers going every so often. THIS is SO nice when having to make these large 14, 16, or even 18 inch cake layers. THEN, about a month ago I was at an auction where I believe they were selling the estate of a woman who must have passed away or gone into a home. This person apparently was a collector and everything they had was in pristine condition. I was able to get another KA stand mixer for FORTY DOLLARS! It’s just a 5 quart but that’s fine. It even included all the accessories that come with it in the different beaters, the bowl, EVEN the cover. It probably has 10 years or more on it but with KA, that doesn’t matter, it’s perfect. So now I have THREE.. My mom has a good many of the attachments which I haven’t brought home yet, I need to get those. I need to discover if she has the pasta maker as I want to get that to roll fondant. (and also make my own gluten free pasta and whole wheat for my dad). So now, with your latest good news, if you haven’t upgraded, now is the time to ask for one since you will be baking and cooking for even more in your life. And of course, you’ll want to make your own homemade baby food, right? Have a great day, so far it’s rather dreary, cloudy and gloomy here in my area near Camp David. For the first time since Thanksgiving Obama and his family were there, we had fighter yets and helicopters flying over us most of the weekend. At least they don’t fly as low as they did right after 9/11 and shake the house. They once flew so low over my brother while driving his truck on a road it nearly shook him off the road.

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 21st, 2014 at 5:09 pm

      I did get a larger mixer! My husband bought me a 6-quart model for Christmas five years ago (we were just dating then) – it’s amazing!

      Reply

  18. Sara on August 2, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Question, I have recently been into making bread-always loved carbs and I really would like to replace store bread with something I can make. I decided I wanted a bread machine to assist my goal, I haven’t tried this recipe yet but am super excited to, before I get hooked on it though, any advice on how to use this recipe in a bread machine? I won’t actually have it for about a week and a half (hubby is going to buy it for my birthday :)) thanks in advance!

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 3rd, 2014 at 10:02 pm

      Hi Sara, I’ve actually never used a bread machine, so unfortunately I don’t have any good advice. I would just go according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

      Reply

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  20. Kristin on August 30, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Hi Michelle – your recent post on whole wheat bread got me thinking about trying to make homemade bread for the first time. I decided to start with a white sandwich bread for my first attempt and found this on your site. A couple of quick questions: You used stone loaf pans for this recipe but metal ones for the WW recipe – does it matter? (I only have metal.) Also, you used a baking stone beneath the pans in the WW recipe but did not use it here, again, does it matter? And, how do you heat your milk and water (stovetop, micro, steamer)? Last, do you still love this recipe or are you preferring the WW one now? Thanks in advance!

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 31st, 2014 at 11:28 am

      Hi Kristin, The type of loaf pan does not matter, however, if yours are a dark non-stick, you will need reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees. You should use the baking stone for the whole wheat bread recipe, as it help to set the bottom crust. It’s not needed for this recipe. The water I just get hot from the tap, and if it’s too hot, I let it cool to the correct temperature. Milk I warm in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds or so. I honestly can’t really compare a wheat bread recipe and a white bread recipe – to me, they’re like apples and oranges. This is by far my favorite white bread recipe, and the whole wheat bread recipe I just made is my favorite among the wheat breads I’ve made.

      Reply

      • Kristin on August 31st, 2014 at 2:06 pm

        Thanks Michelle! I pulled the trigger and made it today….followed the recipe to a “T” and everything turned out perfectly! I had to hold back my 3 teens from opening the oven as the smell was calling to them all morning :) We just returned from a couple weeks in Austria/Germany and our copious daily fresh bread consumption is what inspired this entry into “real” bread making. Just had a warm slice with Nutella – DIVINE. Thanks again!

        Reply

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  22. Lisa on September 14, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    This bread is AMAZING. I have been searching – and I do mean SEARCHING – for an everyday bread recipe that I could make my go-to. This is it. Period. I used coconut milk and agave nectar because that’s what I had in the house and it was just delicious. Now to keep myself from downing the entire loaf before I can share it….. ha! Thank you, thank you!

    Reply

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