I’ve been making homemade sandwich bread for a few years and perfected the recipe (available here). But lately, instead of 10 weekly sandwiches my two sons only need 6 weekly sandwiches. Since I used so few preservatives, the bread only stays fresh for about 5 days. So I’ve been tweaking this slightly different recipe to meet my new requirements; (1) only 6 sandwiches per week, (2) no standing mixer, (3) requiring only 1 day from start to finish. This downsized loaf uses a regular 9’x5″ loaf pan, making for fewer and larger bread slices. It only needs 1-minute of hand-kneading, but the recipe does require more patience: I mix the dough at 6:30AM, form the loaf at 4PM, bake at 6 to 7PM, and slice at 11PM (or the next morning). In total, it’s maybe 15 minutes of work.
I tried to use refrigeration to work around my schedule, but the refrigerated loaf never warmed up in time for me to make a weekday loaf.
Rating: 4-1/2 stars.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess? Low/Medium.
Start time 6:00 AM. Finish time 7:00 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 are given below:
1/2 cup water (4 ounces)
1-1/4 cup milk (10 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar or honey
1 tablespoon granulated lecithin
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups bread flour (1 lb 3oz ounces)
2 teaspoons table salt
1/4 to 3/8 teaspoon ascorbic acid; fruit fresh or other powdered Vitamin C. Alternatively mix 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- Add water and milk to a Pyrex measuring cup (at least 2 cup capacity); heat in microwave for 1m until mixture reaches 105-degrees. Mix in yeast, sugar, granulated lecithin and olive oil; allow to hydrate for 5 minutes.
- Add flour, salt, and ascorbic acid (but not vinegar, if using) in large bowl. Add liquid mixture from step 1 and use a rubber spatula to fold until shaggy ball forms, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl. Cover bowl and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours. If your schedule prevents you from baking the next day, you can refrigerate the dough (still in the bowl) the next morning until ready to use.
- Spray your loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Gently turn the dough out onto a very lightly-floured work surface. Knead by hand for about 1 minute to form a smooth ball. Gently press the dough into a rectangle so that it corresponds to the length of your loaf pan. Move into pan and softly press so that it touches all four sides of the pan.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap (realizing that the loaf will grow above the top of the pan). Place it in a warm spot in your kitchen for between 1 to 2 hours; until the dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when you poke it with your finger.
- About 20 minutes prior to baking, begin pre-heating your oven to 425-degrees. Adjust an oven rack to middle position; any lower and your bottom crust will be too hard.
- Carefully remove plastic wrap, spray the loaf three times with water from a spray bottle, and carefully place loaf pan in 425-degree oven. Set kitchen timer for 30 minutes corresponding to the total cooking time. After 7 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 375-degrees and turn loaf 180-degrees. Bake uncovered for 8 additional minutes. Tent with aluminum foil to keep the loaf top soft; baking for remaining 13 to 15 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf will reads 200-degrees when the loaf is done. Carefully remove bread from pan, and let cool on a wire rack for 2 to 3 hour before slicing.