Warning: Babies will try to steal the bread right out of your mouth!
This recipe started out as my Rustic Round Loaf Bread when my mom Sandi suggested we try baking it in a loaf pan to make sandwich bread. Apparently, that had not occurred to me before. I always wanted a sandwich bread recipe but thought that it would need a bunch of extra ingredients, like milk and some sugar or honey. These make the bread more like what you get in the store, but I like my bread simple. Flour, yeast, salt, water.
It took a little fiddling with to get it right, but I was surprised how well it turned out.
When I first delved into making a sandwich bread recipe, I knew it had to have two important qualities. First, it had to be good, of course. I am not much of a baker so I wanted it to be worth the time and effort since bread is not a last-minute whip together kind of food. Second, it had to be easy enough that I would actually make it. Again, not much of a baker here. I am often in awe of real bakers (who may or may not be real life magicians in my book) and know that perfecting bread can be a years long pursuit. That is the kind of time that I am going to spend elsewhere. I love the idea of baking far more than I love baking, so if the recipe is not easy, I am just not going to do it.
This sandwich bread recipe definitely has both qualities. It does take time, but 90% is totally hands off, and the time that is spent hands on makes use of an electric mixer. That is the real trick here. Hands off kneading. If you do not have an electric mixer, it is one of a few kitchen appliances that I highly recommend. It can do so many things, and my Kitchen Aid mixer has about a million possible attachments to be the perfect tool in any kitchen. When it comes to bread, I turn it on with the bread hook, glance at the clock, and walk away. Ten minutes of hand kneading can be done in a fraction of the time and I can spend that time cleaning as I go, picking up toys, or tending to a fussy baby. Those extra minutes are like gold when it comes to running a household.
Another thing that the electric mixer fixes: knowing if the dough is wet or dry enough. A real bread-pro can tell by the feel of the dough if it is the right consistency. While I, the not-bread-pro do not know how to tell how ‘tacky’ or ‘sticky’ or ‘smooth’ is the right amount.
This recipe aims to take out the guesswork and be pretty forgiving in either direction. What you are looking for is that while the mixer is running, the dough sticks to the bottom of the bowl but not the sides. If the dough forms a ball on the hook and clears the bottom, it is too dry and needs a splash of water. If it sticks to the bowl around the sides, it is too wet and needs a sprinkle of flour. I shoot for the ‘stuck spot’ to be roughly the size of my fist, but if it is a bit bigger or smaller, I don’t sweat it.
When you are done, you will be left with a beautiful loaf of bread that is delicious, simple, and free of additional ingredients. Pairs perfectly with our fresh herb compound butter.
If you’re in the market, I love my stand mixer and always recommend it to friends and family. Plus, getting to choose the color to match your personality is an added bonus!
Hand-Drawn Printable Recipe
Simple and Easy Sandwich Bread for beginning bakers that is clean and makes fool proof delicious sandwich bread.
4 cups flour
2 tsp active yeast
2 tsp salt
1 ¾ cups water
Drizzle of oil
- Combine all dry ingredients in your mixer and with the paddle blade, turn it on the lowest setting to get things mixing. Add the water until everything is combined.
- Let sit for 20-40 minutes. This allows the flour to fully absorb the water and lets the yeast start to wake up.
- With the dough hook knead the dough in the mixer for 5 minutes. The dough should stick only to the bottom of the bowl but clear the sides. If it is too wet and sticking to the sides, add a sprinkle of flour. If it is too dry and clearing the bottom, add a splash of water, about a tablespoon at a time.
- Coat the top layer of the dough with a small drizzle of oil. Just enough to prevent drying out. Let the dough sit for about an hour until it has doubled in size.
- Knead the dough in the mixer for 2 more minutes. Lift the hook and drizzle a small amount of oil around the edges of the dough, lifting the sides until you can cleanly lift the dough out of the bowl.
- Form the loaf by tucking the sides under making the top smooth. Place the dough into an oiled 9×5 or 1 lb loaf pan. Set it out to rise for one more hour.
- While the dough is rising preheat oven to 450.
- Score the top of the loaf. Place a pie pan with water on the bottom rack, and the loaf above it. Bake for 40 minutes until the crust is a nice golden brown.
- Take it out and let cool. When you first take it out the inside has not finished baking yet. Letting it sit and cool allows the bread to finish on the inside and the crust soften up on the outside.