Why this recipe works Many people who might enjoy making homemade sandwich bread (which beats any store- bought loaf) don’t even try because they think it takes most of a day. Not so. It’s true, however, that “quicker” yeasted breads can lack the structure necessary for a satisfactory rise and that their interiors are often coarse. But we found that we could bake soft, well-risen, evencrumbed bread that was perfect for any sandwich without kneading or shaping—and it took just 2 hours to make (with most of that time being hands-off). To encourage maximum gluten development in a short amount of time, we used higher-protein bread flour and made a wet, batter-like dough; increasing the amount of water enhanced the gluten structure without requiring prolonged kneading. We also reduced the fat and sugar slightly and withheld salt until the second mix, which gave our bread more spring and lift. Using our mixer’s paddle instead of the dough hook and increasing the speed to medium not only shortened our mixing time but also gave our loose dough enough structure to rise into a dome shape—plus, we didn’t need to handle the dough or determine when it was perfectly kneaded. We highlighted the crust by brushing the loaf with an egg wash before baking and painting it with melted butter afterward. The test kitchen’s preferred loaf pan measures 8½ by 4½ inches; if you use a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan, start checking for doneness 5 minutes earlier than advised in the recipe. To prevent the loaf from deflating as it rises, do not let the batter come in contact with the plastic wrap. We do not recommend mixing this dough by hand.
- makes 1 loaf
- rising time 40 minutes
- baking time 40 minutes
- total time 2 hours, plus 3 hours cooling time
- key equipment stand mixer, 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pan, pastry brush, instant-read thermometer
- 2 cups (11 ounces) bread flour
- 6 tablespoons (2 ounces) whole-wheat flour
- 2¼ teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
- 1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons (11 ounces) warm water (120 degrees)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water and pinch salt
1). Whisk bread flour, whole-wheat flour, and yeast together in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk 1¼ cups warm water, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and honey in 4-cup liquid measuring cup until honey has dissolved.
2). Using paddle on low speed, slowly add water mixture to flour mixture and mix until batter comes together, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and mix for 4 minutes, scraping down bowl and paddle as needed. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let batter rise until doubled in size, about 20 minutes.
3). Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pan. Dissolve salt in remaining warm water, then add to batter and mix on low speed until water mixture is mostly incorporated, about 40 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.
4). Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top. Cover tightly with plastic and let rise until batter reaches ½ inch below lip of pan, 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover and continue to let rise until center of batter is level with lip of pan, 5 to 10 minutes.
5). Gently brush loaf with egg mixture and bake until deep golden brown and loaf registers 205 to 210 degrees, 40 to 45 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.
6). Let loaf cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove loaf from pan and transfer to wire rack. Brush top and sides with remaining melted butter. Let cool completely, about 3 hours, before serving.
problem The dough seems very wet.
solution Don’t worry; it should.
For adequate gluten development with minimal fuss, the dough for this sandwich bread is intentionally made to be more like a batter. You simply pour it straight from the mixer bowl into the loaf pan. Do not add any flour to yield a stiffer dough.
problem The loaf deflated while it was rising.
solution Keep the plastic wrap at a safe distance.
Avoid letting this delicate dough touch the plastic wrap as it rises. This could puncture the surface of the dough and allow valuable gas to escape.
problem The loaf is squat.
solution Knead with the paddle attachment.
Most yeasted breads call for extended kneading in a stand mixer with the dough hook. This dough, however, is made to be very wet and more like a batter, so the hook can’t grasp it. To mix the dough properly and develop enough gluten, you need to use the paddle attachment, with its wider surface area. Just 4 minutes of mixing with the paddle is enough to develop the gluten needed to allow this loaf to rise tall and develop a soft crumb.
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