Sandwich bread

Bread is my personal culinary albatross. Other people seem to do it easily. But mine always end up chewy, doughy, or otherwise heavy. What I’m really looking for is a homemade version of white sandwich bread. And finally, I’ve found a recipe that gets me pretty close.

I can’t take credit for the recipe, which should be obvious as I’m a bread noob. I followed this delightful recipe, but I don’t want to make three loaves of bread at a time, so I had to adjust this recipe down to make one loaf.

1. Wet it: put 2C flour, 1 packet rapid rise yeast, and 0.5T sugar into a bowl. Microwave 1.33C whole until it gets to over 120 degrees. Add it and 0.5T olive oil to the dry ingredients. It’s going t be wet and lumpy. That’s ok. Cover with plastic wrap for 20 minutes.

2. Knead it: add 1C flour and mix with the wet dough, then, dump it out onto a board and knead.

If the dough sticks to your fingers or to the board, it may need a little more flour. But you don’t want to add too much. As far as I’ve figured out, you want the dough to be a little on the wet side. It should be soft and less dense than pizza dough

3. Rise it: after kneading the dough for a while, put it back in the bowl and cover again. Let it rise until it doubles. I waited 75 minutes, although that probably wasn’t long enough. Bread-making takes patience, which is probably why I’m so bad at it.

4. Flatten it: gently pull the dough out of the bowl and onto a board. It’s going to be kinda sticky. Use your fire to gently stretch it out into the dimensions of a rectangle. You want to make it a little longer than your bread pan. The finger motions you would use remind me of Bugs Bunny in that barber of Seville spoof.

5. Roll it: roll the dough up into a log. Apparently, this is called the jelly roll style. There is also an envelope style, but all explanations that I’ve read on the web are incomprehensible and seem unnecessarily burdensome.

6. Rise it: pick up the log, and put it in a greased bread pan. You’ll have to tuck in the ends and make sure that the roll seam side down. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise again. I let it rise for another hour, but it probably needed longer.

7. Bake it: after the second rise, bake in a 375 degree oven for 35 minutes.

8. Cool it: set the loaf out onto a cooling rack. The original recipe says I wait 40 minutes before you eat this bread. But freshly baked bread is too friggin delicious. I always take a slice off the end and eat it with a little bit of butter. There’s nothing finer.

This bread is wonderful: exactly what I’ve been looking for. The recipe is kinda difficult to commit to memory, and it takes a lot of steps. But it’s delicious. Light, cakey, and with just the right amount of chew.

Later that evening, I used the bread to make my favorite sandwich, a patty melt. And it was a perfect fit.


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