We’ve been baking a lot of homemade bread at home, ever since the “stay at home” orders in our town. I searched every grocery store near me for yeast (they were all sold out – everyone is baking bread these days), but I was able to find some at Wal-Mart of all places. Since I am trying to decrease my outings to the store (and anywhere public), I thought that making homemade bread would be fun, and it really was.
There is something super cathartic about kneading dough, punching it, getting all my energy out by kneading and folding. You don’t have to be a bread making expert to make this classic sandwich bread recipe. It’s super easy. This was the recipe I used – “Excellent White Bread” from the NYTimes. It came out amazing!
This sandwich bread recipe is easy to make, using ingredients you have in your pantry, but it is time consuming (not active time, just lots of resting.) It took me all afternoon, but the effort was so worth it. Just the smell of freshly baked bread from the oven is just heavenly.
You don’t need bread flour for this recipe. I don’t ever buy bread flour because I don’t have a ton of space in my pantry, and I find that all-purpose flour can be used for anything. I’ve tried other bread recipes, and I’ve found that all-purpose flour works just fine for making bread.
According to this article from Bon Appetit, the main difference between all-purpose flour and bread flour is the protein amount. Bread flour has a higher protein amount (between 11 and 13%) whereas all-purpose flour has a 9% to 11% protein amount. When you use bread flour, you get a chewer texture whereas all-purpose flour gives you a lighter texture.
For what I wanted, all-purpose flour works great and it tasted delicious.
Freshly baked bread tastes best the day you bake it, or the very next day. It doesn’t have all the preservatives to give it a long shelf life, so I’d recommend you consume it within 2-3 days. Store it in a cool, dry place in a airtight plastic bag such as a bread box. Enjoy!
Classic White Homemade Sandwich Bread Recipe
- 1 package active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)
- 1 1/2 cup warm milk
- 1/3 cup sugar (if you want a neutral/bland bread, use 2 tbsp instead)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2-3 tbsp melted butter (for greasing the pans, and brushing on top of the loaves)
- 2 medium eggs
- 5-6 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast package in 1/4 cup of warm milk.
- In an electric mixer using the paddle attachment, combine the remaining milk, sugar, salt, butter, and eggs. Add the dissolved yeast mixture. (You can also do this by hand.)
- Add 5 cups of sifted flour, one cup at a time. Mix until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
Knead the Dough for 10 Minutes
- Switch to the dough attachment and knead on low speed, adding more flour as needed until the dough is stiff and a little sticky. This may take 5-10 minutes. If you don't have an electric mixer, you can knead by hand for 10 minutes on a floured surface. Knead, adding more flour as needed, until the dough is stiff and just slightly sticky.
Resting #1 (1.5 to 2 hours)
- Grease a large bowl with a little bit of oil (1/4 tsp) or melted butter. Add the dough into the bowl. Turn it over, so both sides of the dough ball are greased. Cover with a kitchen towel (or plastic wrap) and set in a warm, draft-free location until it has doubled in size. This may take 1.5 to 2 hours.I placed mine near a windowsill with lots of sunlight. Some people use the oven.
- When the dough has doubled, knead it on a floured surface for 2-3 more minutes.
Resting #2 (30 Minutes)
- Place the dough back to the oiled bowl again. Cover and let rest for another 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, grease two loaf pans with melted butter.
Resting #3 (45 Minutes to 1 Hour)
- Punch the dough to expel the air. Move the dough to a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in two, and place each half in a loaf pan. Brush the top with melted butter. Cover and let rise for another 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the dough has risen above the top of the pans.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake your bread for 10 minutes. Then decrease the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are brown.
- Remove from loaves from pans and let them cool on a wire rack.