I’ve recently fallen in love with making my own bread. This is partially because the long list of ingredients in store bought bread disturbs me. What are all of those things? And the loaves with simply flour, salt, milk and honey are ridiculously expensive. I also started noticing my neighbor and friend, Michelle, who was always making delicious breads for our bible study. She also introduced me a few months ago to my first loaf making experience. Thus started my interest in figuring out whether bread making was something I wanted to take on …. after reviewing my cooking bible (ie, new best recipes), I read about using the kitchen aid standing mixer for kneading the dough. What a great idea! In fact, NBR suggests using the kitchen aid over hand kneading, because of the temptation for adding too much extra flour when hand kneading the dough. So today, I took a big plunge – pulled out the dough hook for my kitchen aid, and got to baking some bread! I was surprised to find that it didn’t take all day long as I has expected (only 2 hours) and the amount of effort was minimal at best. And, the outcome was really tasty! I will definitely be making more bread like this! Plus it makes your house smell yummy.
American Sandwich Bread
New Best Recipes
3 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the work surface
2 tsp salt
1 cup warm whole milk (about 110 degrees)
1/3 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 tbsp melted butter, unsalted
3 tbsp honey
1 envelope (about 2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Once the oven temperature reaches 200, maintain the heat for 10 minutes and then turn the oven off.
2. Mix 3 1/2 cups of 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 time to scrape dough from the hook, if necessary, about 10 minutes. (after 5 minutes of kneading, if the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, add the remaining flour, 1 tbsp at a time and up to 1/4 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, 40-50 minutes.
4. Gently press the dough into an 8 inch square that measures 1 inch thick. Starting with the side farthest away from 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, 20-30 minutes.
5. Keep one oven rack at lowest position and place the other at the middle position, then 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 and set the loaf on 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 reads 195 degrees, 40-50 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan, transfer to a wire rack, and cool to room temperature. Slice and serve.