Afternoon Sandwich Bread

I've been quite busy over the last couple of weeks, I'm on my OB rotation right now which has been really good, but doesn't leave me a lot of free time. This means I don't get to spend as much time as I usually like to in the kitchen, making dinner and prepping lunch for the next day. For weeks such as these it's good to have a few things on hand that make it easy to throw together a delicious meal in a short time. Recently I've been really into making sandwiches for dinner. I  still have some leftover Thanksgiving turkey in the freezer (yes I do!), and some really good cheese hanging out in the fridge. Add a few additional condiments a few slices of good, homemade bread and dinner is served. 

This has been my go-to bread for the past few weeks. I've made 3 or 4 loaves recently and have been loving it. It's soft, tender and delicious. It's also really quick to make. There are times when I love spending 2 or 3 days make a complext loaf of bread with a long, slow rise. But often I don't have the time to spend doing that. This bread is super fast, yet still really really good. I can start making it around noon, and be pulling freshly baked bread out of the oven by 5! On a tight schedule, that is the way to do it!

The first time I made a version of this bread I made it pretty much as originally written, adding in a bit of whole wheat flour because that's how I roll. It turned out great. The next time however, I had some sourdough starter that needed to be used so I adjusted the recipe to include some of this starter. My sourdough version was also wonderful, and helped me use up my starter - a win-win situation! 


Afternoon Sandwich Bread
Adapted from Alexandra Cooks

  • 180 grams all purpose flour
  • 140 grams whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 110 grams warm water
  • 56 grams milk
  • 1 tablespoon (21 grams) honey
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 120 grams sourdough starter
  • 2-4 tablespoons mixed nuts/seeds/grains (optional): for this loaf I used a mix of coarse cornmeal, sunflower seeds, steel cut oats, and buckwheat groats, but use whatever you have on hand, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, millet, quinoa, etc. 

In the bowl of your stand mixer mix together the flours, yeast and salt. Add the water, milk, honey olive oil or butter, and starter.  

Using the dough hook, knead the dough until it begins pulling away from the sides of the bowl and clings to the hook, 6-8 minutes total.  Near the end of kneading, add in the mixed nuts/seeds/grains and continue kneading until evenly incorporated. 

Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn it over to coat all sides, and cover the bowl. Let it rise in a draft-free place until doubled, 1 to 2 hours. Turn the dough out onto the counter and shape into a loaf. Place dough in well-greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pans. Let rise until the dough domes an inch above the rim of the pan, another hour or so.

After the dough has been rising for 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 350°F. When the loaves are sufficiently risen, bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until nicely browned. Remove from the oven and tip the bread out of the pan. Place on a rack to cool completely before slicing.

Soft Sandwich Sourdough

I decided to try out a new sourdough sandwich loaf recently, just for something new. I don't like getting stuck in a rut, so I did some browsing of recipes I had pinned as well as exploring the internet for anything new that I might want to try. I finally settled on this soft sandwich sourdough. It has enough butter and sugar to make it a little special without being overly rich and heavy, a good compromise. This was the first time I've made a truly sourdough bread, one without any added commercial yeast. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, I was hoping my starter was healthy and vigorous enough to provide the rise needed to make a nice and light loaf. No need to worry! There recipe turned out two beautiful loaves, absolutely perfect for whatever sandwich you are craving. Not overly sour tasting, but soft and full of flavor. A definite keeper! 

Without the addition of any commercial yeast, this recipe definitely took longer to rise than most "normal" bread recipes. But that is okay with me. It just needed a little more time and it rose beautifully. The final loaves are extra tall, but they were just the right size for me to make a very nice sandwich on. 

One other unique part of this recipe is that it calls for you to bake it about halfway until the crust is completely set, and then you remove the loaves from the bread pans and continue the baking process directly on a baking stone to finish. I've never done this before but it seemed to work quite well, helping the crust brown evenly all over.

Soft Sandwich Sourdough
Adapted From Wild Yeast

  • 622 g flour (I used about 1/2 all purpose, 1/2 whole wheat)
  • 200 g water
  • 16.2 g salt
  • 65 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 31 g honey
  • 120 g milk, scalded and cooled
  • 411 g mature 100%-hydration sourdough starter

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all of the ingredients except about 10% of the water. Mix in low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, adjusting the water as needed to achieve a medium dough consistency (you may need additional water). Continue mixing to in medium speed to a medium-high level of gluten development.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container. Cover and ferment for 3 hours, with folds* after the first 1 and 2 hours.

Turn the dough into a lightly floured counter. Divide it in half. Preshape each piece into a cylinder and let rest, covered, for about 25 minutes. Generously butter two 8.5 x 4.5-inch loaf pans. Shape the dough tightly into blunt batards and place them, seam-side-down, into the prepared pans. Proof, covered, for 3 hours, or until the top of the dough has risen to about 1.5 inches above the edge of the pan.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven, with baking stone, to 425F. You will also need steam* during the initial phase of baking, so prepare for this now.

Once the loaves are in the oven, reduce the temperature to 400F. Bake for 15 minutes with steam, and another 10 minutes without steam. Then remove the loaves from the pans, place them directly on the stone, and bake for another 20 minutes or so, until the crust is a deep golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.

*For more information about folding and steaming check out the original recipe on Wild Yeast

Nutrition: Approximate calorie count, 1/12 of a loaf is 143 calories

Classic White Bread

While I love baking anything and everything, there will always be a special place in my heart for a simple loaf of soft white bread. There is almost nothing better than a slice of fresh from the oven, still warm, homemade bread slathered in salted butter. The yeasty flavor mixes with the heavenly aroma still emanating from the oven to produce the bliss that is freshly baked bread. I've made several different white bread recipes over the past few years and while I don't vividly remember them all, I know this one is right up there at the top of the list. Buttery, light and tender, this bread is ready for anything: sandwiches, toast, or a simple afternoon snack with some almond butter, really whatever you can think of, it's up to you.

This recipe was straightforward without any unusual ingredients. The basic cast of flour, salt and yeast along with some milk, some butter, an egg, and a hint of sweetness via the addition of a little sugar. That's how I like my bread, simple but with a little enrichment to really take it over the top. To finish it all off I brushed the loaves with melted butter when they came out of the oven (instead of the egg wash suggested) to produce a soft and buttery crust, yum!

I didn't have the size bread pans the recipe calls for (something I've since remedied) but it didn't seem to matter one bit. The loaves didn't get as tall as they would have in a slightly smaller pan but they still turned out beautifully. I've been eating this bread daily in the days since making it and I absolutely love it. Last night it made the best Texas toast, and this morning it was perfect slathered in homemade jam. I can't wait to find out what it will be good for next; whatever that is I know it will be delicious.

Start mixing it all together

 When smooth and supple, place in an 

oiled bowl to rise

 Doubled and ready to shape

 Cut the dough in half

 Shape into two nice loaves

 Nicely risen and ready to hit the oven

 Straight from the oven, golden and beautiful

 Pull out of the loaf pans and let cool on wire racks

 Slice it up, making sure you have a nice snack

along the way

Ready for anything

Classic White Bread
From The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

  • 4¼ cups (19 ounces) unbleached bread flour
  • 1½ teaspoons (.38 ounces) salt
  • 3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (.22 ounce) instant yeast
  • 1 large (1.65 ounces) egg, slightly beaten, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) butter, margarine, or shortening, at room temperature, or vegetable oil
  • 1½ cups (12 ounces) buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, whisked with 1 teaspoon water until frothy, for egg wash (optional)
  • sesame or poppy seeds for garnish (optional)

Mix together the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a 4-quart bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). Pour in the egg, butter, and milk and mix with a large metal spoon (or on low speed of the electric mixer with the paddle attachment) until all the flour is absorbed and the dough forms a ball. If the dough seems very stiff and dry, trickle in more milk until the dough is soft and supple.

Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mix on medium speed with the dough hook), adding more flour, if necessary, to create a dough that is soft, supple, and tacky but not sticky. Continue kneading (or mixing) for 6 to 8 minutes. (In the electric mixer, the dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick ever to slightly to the bottom.) The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 80° F. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Ferment at room temperature for 1½ to 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size (the length of time will depend on the room temperature).

Remove the fermented dough from the bowl and divide it in half for sandwich loaves, into eighteen 2-ounce pieces for dinner rolls, or twelve 3-ounce pieces for burger or hot dog buns. Shape the pieces into boules for loaves or tight rounds for dinner rolls or buns. Mist the dough lightly with spray oil and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rest for about 20 minutes.

For loaves, shape as shown on page 81. Lightly oil two 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pans and place the loaves in the pans. For rolls and buns, line 2 sheet pans with baking parchment. Rolls require no further shaping. For hamburger buns, gently press down on the rolls to form the desired shape. For hot dog buns, shape as shown on page 80, although without tapering the ends. Transfer the rolls or buns to the sheet pans.

Mist the tops of the dough with spray oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Proof the dough at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until it nearly doubles in size.

Preheat the oven to 350° F for loaves or 400° F for roll and buns. Brush the rolls or buns with the egg wash and garnish with poppy or sesame seeds. Sandwich loaves also may be washed and garnished, or score them down the center and rub a little vegetable oil in the slit.

Bake the rolls or buns for approximately 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown and register just above 180° F in the center. Bake loaves for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating 180 degrees halfway through for even baking, if needed. The tops should be golden brown and the sides, when removed from the pan, should also be golden. The internal temperature of the loaves should be close to 190° F, and the loaves should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

When the loaves have finished baking, remove them immediately from the pans and cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before slicing or serving. Rolls should cool for at least 15 minutes on a rack before serving.