Preparation Time: 20-30 minutes, plus 60 to 90 minutes for rising
Baking Time: 50 to 60 minutes
Servings: 2 loaves of bread, each yielding 8 to 10 slices
A simple combination of flour, yeast, and water, bread has sustained mankind for thousands of years. Despite the simplicity of a loaf of bread, the vast majority of families purchase their bread from grocery stores and bakeries.
However, with this basic recipe, you can create basic white sandwich bread for your family. Even if it isn’t something that you do every week, learning to bake bread is an excellent skill that every home cook should accomplish.
Of course, there are many kinds of bread that one can bake, but if you have never baked bread before, the easiest way to start is, to begin with a loaf of basic white bread. We all know that white bread has a bad reputation in the nutrition world, but every now and then, it is okay to indulge. Besides, this bread will be free from excessive sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors, and fake food dyes.
So, while it may not be as good for you as a nutritious seven-grain bread, it is a far sight better than the plastic-wrapped loaves sealed with a twist tie from the local supermarket. Besides, if you love baking bread as much as we think you will, this basic loaf of white bread may just turn out to be the very first stepping stone in learning how to make a wide variety of different kinds of bread.
Everyone loves the taste and texture of warm bread with butter melting into the slice, but the reality is that cutting into a loaf of hot sandwich bread pretty much ensures that your slices are going to be ragged and awkward. Even ragged, misshapen slices of warm bread do taste fabulous, but if you’re wanting bread for sandwiches, you probably want to wait until the loaves of bread are completely cool before trying to slice the bread.
Even when it’s cool, though, slicing homemade bread can be rather challenging. Fresh bread is quite soft and often, you will end up with squashed pieces of bread rather than nice slices for sandwiches. To avoid this, you will want to use a very sharp, serrated bread knife. A knife with a smooth blade just won’t cut it. (Pardon the pun.)
To cut slices in homemade bread, you want to use a knife with jagged teeth. Gently saw at the loaf of bread using very little downward pressure. Take your time, and keep at it. Eventually, you will develop a knack for slicing the bread neatly and consistently.
Basic White Sandwich Bread Recipe
- 5 to 6 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 packages yeast
- 2 cups warm water
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon melted butter for brushing on the loaves
Step 1: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer with a dough hook, combine 4 cups of flour, the salt, the sugar, and the yeast with a wooden spoon, stirring to combine.
Step 2: Turn the mixer on low and pour in the water and vegetable oil, mixing well until completely combined.
If you don’t have an electric stand mixer, that’s okay. Simply stir this mixture until thoroughly combined, and then add the rest of the flour a half cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. You may not use all the flour. Stir or blend with the mixer until the dough begins to form a ball, pulling itself away from the sides of the mixing bowl.
Step 3: If you’re using an electric mixer with a dough hook, turn the speed up a little bit to the recommended speed for kneading the dough.
If you aren’t using a mixer, turn the dough ball onto a lightly floured surface and knead it by hand for about five minutes. Whether you are using an electric mixer or kneading by hand, the dough is adequately kneaded when it is shiny, stretchy, and smooth.
Step 4: Oil the mixer bowl and place the dough ball into the bowl, turning it to coat it on all sides with oil.
Cover the mixing bowl with a clean dish towel and let it sit undisturbed in a warm (75-80 degrees) place for 45 to 60 minutes. This is the first rising, and after about an hour it should be doubled in size.
Step 5: Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.
Spray two 9 by 5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray. Roll each half of the bread dough into log shape, turning under any ragged edges to create a smooth top surface of each loaf.
Step 6: Cover the loaf pans again with a dish towel and let the loaves sit undisturbed in a warm place for about 30 to 35 minutes to rise again.
The loaves should rise until they are about an inch above the top edges of the loaf pan.
Step 7: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and remove the dishtowel from the bread loaves.
Place them in the center of the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the loaves are lightly browned on top and sound hollow when tapped. Remove the pans from the oven, take the loaves out of the pans and place them on a wire rack to cool. Brush the bread loaves with the melted butter. Cool one hour before slicing.
April Freeman enjoys creating all kinds of recipes for her friends and family from her country kitchen in Middle Tennessee. She and her family raise beef cattle, chickens, and all sorts of fruits and veggies on their farm, and she specializes in featuring farm-fresh foods in the recipes that she creates and serves. April says that her slogan is “Are you hungry?” and she feels that one way of showing love and connecting with others is to serve delicious favorite foods to others. Her favorite thing to cook is pies of all kinds.