Thursday, June 27, 2013

Perfect Sandwich Bread

This sandwich bread is hearty and delicious.  It makes a terrific PB&J, toasts up beautifully for breakfast, and makes a rockin' grilled cheese sandwich.  The recipe makes two nice sized loaves.  You should definitely eat one fresh out of the oven and the other could be given away or stored in the freezer for a few weeks.  If you give it away you'll get lots of love in return, and if you store it you will have the gratification of having fresh bread without any of the work.  Just be sure to pull it out a few hours in advance to let it defrost.

Perfect Sandwich Bread
adapted from Peter Reinhardt's Artisan Breads Every Day

1 tablespoon (9g) instant yeast
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (425g) lukewarm milk (95°F)
6 1/4 cups (794g) bread flour
2 teaspoons (14g) salt
5 1/2 (78g) sugar
6 tablespoons (85g) vegetable oil
1 egg

The night before:
In a large bowl, whisk the yeast into the milk and set aside for 5 minutes.  Combine the remaining ingredients and then add to the milk mixture.  Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to a floured work surface and knead by hand for 6 minutes.  The dough should be soft and supple, but a bit sticky.  Form it into a ball and place in a clean, lightly oiled bowl.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight or up to four days.

On baking day:
Remove the dough 2 1/2 hours before you wish to bake it.  Transfer to a lightly floured work surface.  Divide dough into two equal pieces.  Take one piece and flatten into a large rectangle approximately 5 inches by 8 inches.  Take one of the 5 inch sides and roll the dough up to form a loaf.  Pinch the seam closed and rock it back and forth to even the seam out and then tuck the ends under and place in a lightly oiled 4 1/2 by 8-inch pan.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Loosely cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 2 1/2 hours or until dough is about 1 inch above the pan.  Preheat oven to 350°F and then bake loaves for 20 minutes, rotate and bake an additional 20-25 minutes.  Internal temperature should read about 185°F and loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

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