White Sandwich Bread
20 oz water, room temperature
1 Tbsp Instant or Active Dry Yeast
7 C unbleached all purpose or bread flour* (~1.75 lbs)
1 Tbsp granulated sugar or honey
1 Tbsp kosher salt
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
Measure all of your ingredients before you start mixing. Cut the butter into ½” dice.
Place the water, yeast, sugar (or honey), and flour into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix on low speed to form a shaggy dough. Turn the mixer off, cover the bowl and let sit for 20 minutes to allow the flour to hydrate. Next, add the salt and turn the mixer on medium speed to knead for about 6-7 minutes. Add the diced butter, a few pieces at a time, to the dough with the mixer running. Allow the butter to be incorporated into the dough before adding more. Once all the butter is added, check consistency – the dough should be soft (but not sticky) and should not be sticking to the bottom/sides of the bowl (if needed, add flour a few tablespoons at a time to adjust).
Scrape the dough onto your lightly floured counter and knead for a few turns by hand to bring the dough into a ball. Lightly coat the mixer bowl with butter or oil, return the dough to the bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise for 1-3 hours until doubled in volume (exact time will depend on how warm your kitchen is).
Once dough has risen, uncover and punch down to deflate the dough. Scrape the dough out onto your counter and divide it into two equal pieces. If you don’t want to bake both right away, knead one half into a ball, return it to the bowl, cover tightly and refrigerate 1-3 days until you are ready to bake it.
Generously butter your 9” x 4 ½” loaf pan. Shape the dough into a loaf by patting it into an 8”x12” rectangle. Starting at a narrow end, roll the dough into a tight cylinder, pressing down on the edge as you go. When rolled all the way, press on the seam to seal it shut, roll the loaf seam up and pinch the ends closed to form an even, long oval. Place the formed loaf into the buttered pan seam side down. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap (or a large inverted plastic storage container) and let rise until dough is doubled (it should be just above the top of your pan).
About 20 minutes before you are ready to bake the bread, preheat the over to 400F. Generously spray the top of the loaf with water and then use a sharp knife or razor blade to slash the top of the loaf (this helps the loaf expand in the oven without tearing the top). Bake for approximately 35-45 minutes until the top crust is a deep golden brown and internal temperature reads 200F.
Remove bread from the oven and let stand in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the loaf from the baking pan and allow to cool on a rack. Store in a bag or airtight container.
* Swap in up to up to 2 ½ C of whole wheat flour for the all purpose to make a wheat bread.
This bread makes fantastic toast and the best grilled cheese sandwiches!