White Sandwich Loaf

There is nothing glamorous here – this is just sheer, unadulterated, proper white bread heaven. This bread has a perfect crust; not so hard that it makes your teeth hurt but just enough to make it feel that bit special.

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I have yet to experiment with a nut milk but I shall report back ASAP for the vegans out there! I’m also looking forward to reducing the white flour and adding in some healthier grains – I shall get back to you on that one too.

The base for this recipe came from King Arthur Flour and I’ve just made a few adjustments which will be particularly helpful to anyone baking in a hot/humid climate.

As with any baking, there are always one or two tricks to perfecting any recipe:

If you’re cooking in a cold climate, preheat your oven for a couple of minutes – you don’t want it hot, you just want to create a slightly warmer ‘room’ to help your dough rise.

When using yeast, you don’t want to start with a cold dough so make sure your milk is not fresh out of the fridge. If you heat the milk, you don’t want to bring it even close to a boil. If it feels lukewarm, that is good enough. Around 30/32C (86/89F) will wake your yeast up.

The end, crusty pieces are PERFECT to dip into soup. Or, as it freezes well, you can save any extra ends/slices to make excellent breadcrumbs too.

White Sandwich Loaf

Perfect bread for literally any and every sandwich. I defy you not to pull this out of the oven and immediately slather it in butter.
Course: Baking, Bread, Brunch, Lunch, Snack
Cuisine: British, English
Keyword: Baking, Bread, Bread Loaf, Loaf, Sandwich, White Bread
Servings: 1 medium loaf

Equipment

  • 8×4 inch loaf tin
  • Small saucepan, if warming milk
  • Large chopping board/kitchen counter for kneading
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Wire cooling rack
  • I use a stand mixer but you can easily do this one by hand.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Plain flour (361 grams) White; all-purpose
  • 1/2 cup Milk I use whole, dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup Warm water* You may need up to 2/3 cup; *warm not hot water; around 30C/86F
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable oil Sunflower or light olive oil; nothing too strong in flavour
  • 2 tbsp Sugar I use golden caster, cane or brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp Fine salt I use pink Himalayan for all of my baking
  • 7 g Active dry yeast Or 1 packet instant / dry active yeast.

Instructions

Preparation

  • Gently warm your milk through in a saucepan – don't let it get HOT. 30C/86F is around about perfect if you have a sugar thermometer.
  • If using dry active yeast; activate it by pouring your warm milk into a measuring jug, add the yeast, gently stir and set aside until frothy, approx. 5 minutes.
  • If using instant yeast, skip this step and move straight onto your dough.

Make the Dough – By Hand

  • Combine all of your ingredients except the water in a large mixing bowl and using a fork, stir until a dough starts to form.
  • Add the warm water, bit by bit, and continue to stir until all of the flour is combined.
  • Once you have a shaggy sort of dough forming, transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes until you have a smooth, perfect ball of dough.
  • You may add a little extra of the flour or water if needed to get that perfect texture.

Make the Dough – Stand Mixer

  • Combine all of your ingredients except the water in the bowl of your stand mixer.
  • Attach the dough hook and, starting on the lowest setting, let the hook bring all the ingredients together.
  • Add the warm water as needed and turn the mixer up to the next speed setting until a perfect dough ball is formed; adding any extra flour or water as needed.

First Rise

  • Lightly grease a medium mixing bowl and place your dough inside. Cover with a slightly damp tea towel or cling film and set aside for 1-2 hours until the dough has increased nicely (it likely won't quite double in size).*
  • When your dough is ready, lightly flour or oil your kneading surface and gently remove your dough from the bowl.
  • *Note: if you're baking in a cold climate, you can rise the dough in a gently warmed oven or carefully wet a tea towel lightly with steam/hot water.

Second Rise

  • Lightly grease your loaf tin.
  • Carefully shape your dough into loaf shape and sit it inside your loaf tin. Cover again and set aside for the second rise, another 1-2 hours; the dough should rise nicely around 1" higher than the tin.
  • Towards the end of the rise, preheat your oven to 170C/340F fan / 190C/375F / Gas Mark 5.

The Bake

  • Bake your loaf for 30 minutes. After which time, gently tip the loaf out of the tin and check its doneness by tapping the bottom of the loaf. It should be golden brown and have a great, hollow sound when tapped.
  • If the loaf isn't quite there, put it back in for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Immediately remove from the loaf tin and set on the wire rack to cool. (It WILL stay nice and warm inside for that first butter slather!)

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