Finally, I’ve perfected the sandwich bread that I’ve been working on for the past few months. While Chris Kimball’s original recipe (which I made here) was excellent, it only lasted for a few days before going stale. In the worst case it sprouted mold after 3 days. The final loaf I made today is just as delicious as Chris Kimball’s original, but also satisfies my goal of baking a loaf that will last a full week. During the upcoming school year I intend to bake it every Sunday so my two boys can eat sandwiches all week long.
The changes I made to Chris Kimball’s original recipe are:
- I replaced the butter with an equal amount of vegetable oil. While butter does add flavor, it also adds saturated fat, and I’m trying to make a healthier loaf. Plus, the vegetable oil makes for a softer, longer lasting loaf. Since this bread will be used to make sandwiches, the loss of the very subtle butter flavor isn’t a big deal.
- I have made his recipe about four times, and each time I found the dough to be too stiff and had to adjust the water each time. In the end, I added one extra tablespoon of water to the recipe. The recipe now reads “Almost 1/2 cup of water”, by which I mean to measure out 1/2 cup (4 ounces) and remove 1 tablespoon.
- Because I wanted a kid-friendly texture and to promote longevity of the finished loaf, I added a few natural “dough conditioners” to help. I made the following additions:
- 1 tablespoon of granulated lecithin, which is a vitamin, makes for a moister loaf that is not too dry. Chris Kimball’s original loaf had a problem of drying out after a few days.
- 1/8 teaspoon ascorbic acid (Vitamin C ) will inhibit the growth of mold by slightly alters the pH of the loaf.
- 1/8 teaspoon powdered ginger will help the yeast rise, resulting in a lighter, fluffier loaf. Very kid friendly.
- Slicing bread before bread has cooled completely will cause moisture to escape from loaf, resulting in a dry loaf. I sliced one loaf after almost 2 hours of cooling, but the escaping moisture will encouraged molding after 3 days. It you intend to keep the loaf for more than 2 days, it is important that you wait a full 3 hours before slicing.
- I am eying a new loaf pan for a standard sandwich bread shape. My current over-sized slices are delicious for the summertime.
Cost: 90-cents for 29-ounce loaf.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess? Low/Medium.
Start time 4:00 PM. Finish time 6:30 PM. (But don’t slice for another 3 hours)
Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared and baked the bread today are given below:
1 cup milk (8 ounces)
Almost 1/2 cup water (3-1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon rapid-rise yeast or dry active yeast
1 tablespoon granulated lecithin
3-1/2 cups bread flour (18-1/2 ounces)
2 teaspoons table salt
1/8 teaspoon ascorbic acid (or 1/4 teaspoon fruit fresh)
1/8 teaspoon powdered ginger
- Adjust two oven rack to low and low-middle position. Put a broiler pan on the bottom rack, which will be used in step 8. Pre-heat to 200-degrees, then turn off your oven. You will use the residual heat of the oven to speed the first rise. If you don’t mind waiting for 2 hours for the first rise (less in summer), then you can skip the pre-heating portion of this step.
- Mix together milk and water in a Pyrex measuring cup (at least 2 cups); net weight should be 11-1/2 ounces. Heat in microwave for 1 minute until mixture reaches 105-degrees. Mix in vegetable oil, sugar, yeast and granulated lecithin; allow to hydrate for 5 minutes.
- Add dry ingredients (flour, salt, ascorbic acid and powdered ginger) to the bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook.
- Turn on standing mixer to lowest speed and slowly add liquid; use a rubber spatula to scrape out measuring cup. After the dough has come together, increase speed to 4 on KitchenAid mixer (medium-low on other models). Continue mixing for 10 minutes, stopping twice to remove the dough from hook. The dough will become smooth. If the dough is too dry, add 1 more tablespoon of water. I like to use a spray bottle. Lightly flour a work surface and gently turn out the dough. Knead for about 15 seconds to form a smooth ball.
- Lightly oil a large glass bowl, put dough inside and roll around to lightly coat the dough ball. Cover with plastic wrap and place in your warm (but turned off) oven. The dough should take between 40 and 50 minutes to double in size. If you don’t mind waiting about 2 hours for the first rise, then you can let the dough rise at room temperature.
- Gently turn the dough out onto floured surface. Gently press the dough into a 9″x12″ rectangle. Note that the 9″ should correspond exactly to the length of your loaf pan. Roll the dough into a 9″ cylinder, firmly pressing down to ensure that the dough sticks to itself while it rolls. Pinch the seam closed along the length of the cylinder. Spray your 9″x5″x3″ (LxWxH) loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Put your loaf into the pan and softly press the dough so that it touches all four sides of the pan. Spray the top of the loaf very lightly with non-stick cooking spray or dust with flour to ensure that the plastic wrap will release.
- Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap, realizing that the loaf will grow a few inches above the top of the pan. Place it in a warm spot in your kitchen for 45 minutes until it almost doubles in size. A finger pressed into the dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly. Meanwhile pre-heat your oven to 400-degrees, and bring 2 cups of water to boil on the stovetop.
- Carefully remove plastic wrap, spray the loaf twice with water from a spray bottle (optional), and place loaf pan in oven. Pour your 2 cups of boiling water into the pre-heated empty loaf/broiler pan, and close the oven door immediately to trap the steam. After 5 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 325-degrees . Bake for 25 additional minutes, rotating half way through baking time. After 15 minutes, optionally tent with aluminum foil to keep the loaf top very soft. The bread will be done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads 195 degrees. Carefully remove bread from pan, and let cool on a wire rack for 3 hour before slicing.