Well, this recipe is dedicated to my bread monster, Pat. Pat is a yeast lover of breads and beers. He loves bread so much that he is a snob. Generic bread brands like Wonderbread are garbage bread to him and he doesn’t eat stale ones too. It has become a norm that Pat will never hesitate to help me offload my car from a grocery trip because he knows there’s a pizza bun lurking somewhere in those bags and that is his reward. Starting to sound like I am training a pet, eh?
Sandwich bread is one item that goes through the kitchen really quickly and I usually end up having to make a trip to the grocery store middle of the week just to pick up a loaf. It’s starting to become a chore so I started looking into sandwich bread recipes but there are thousands of them out there. Many require 3-4 hours of time in total and usually makes 2 loaves. Knowing that homemade stuff usually don’t last as long as store ones because of the absence of preservatives, 2 loaves is too much before it stales and it’s not like you can just cut the recipe in half. How are you suppose to accurately measure half of 2 ¼ teaspoons of yeast?!
After some hunting, I came across one from Cook’s Illustrated whose recipe is only for 1 loaf and a total of 2 hours of required time. The recipe is perfect and the website explains the whole science behind the steps provided. Yes, it’s not as amazingly fluffy as the store baked ones but the crust is so tasty! To think that no one ever eats the end slices, I actually ate the end slice when I tasted the bread. The best part is probably the short rise time required. It might be good if you know your oven has uneven heating like mine because I ended up with one side of the loaf rising higher than the other. You can adjust the position of the pan when you load it in for baking.
Finally, I can say goodbye to the odd grocery store run just to buy 1 loaf of bread.
Yield : 1 Loaf of bread
Prep Time: 45 mins approx
Cook Time: 40-45 mins
- 11 ounces of bread flour, by weight
- 2 ounces of whole wheat flour, by weight
- 2¼ teaspoons of rapid-rise yeast
- 1¼ cups of warm water (120degrees F) + 2 tablespoon of warm water
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted + 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1 large egg beated with 1 teaspoon of water and pinch of salt
- in the bowl of stand mixer, combine bread flour, whole wheat flour and yeast. Add 1¼ cups of warm water, 2 tablespoon of melted butter and honey. Fit the stand mixer with paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 1 min. Increase speed to medium and mix for 2 min. Spray your rubber spatula with oil and scrape down the bowl and paddle. Continue to mix for another 2 mins. Remove the bowl and paddle from mixer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and leave the paddle in the bowl, preferably on the side of the batter. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place till doubled (20mins).
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and turn your oven to 375F. Spray your loaf pan with oil (loaf pan better to be a size of 8.5 x 4.5 inch, slightly smaller than your typical 9×5 load pan). set aside.
- Dissolve salt in 2 tablespoons of warm water. When batter is doubled, attach the bowl and paddle back to the mixer and add the saltwater mixture. Mix on low speed until water is mostly worked in.
- Increase speed to medium and mix for 1 min, scraping down if needed.
- Transfer batter to loaf pan and smooth surface with greased rubber spatula. Cover and leave in warm place until the bater reaches ½ inch below the edge of the pan (15-20min). Ensure you check back periodically so that the batter doesn’t rise and touch the plastic wrap or your rise won’t be good.
- Uncover and let it rise till it is levelled with the pan edge( 5-10min)
- Gently, brush the top of the risen batter with egg mixture. Bake for 40-45min until your loaf reads 208-210F.
- Remove and invert bread onto a wire rack. Revert the load and brush the top and sides with remaining 1 tablespoon of butter
- Allow loaf to cool completely before slicing.
Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated