Favorite White Sandwich Bread

A delicious loaf of white bread is a treat for my family. We usually eat whole wheat bread around these parts using this favorite recipe but sometimes when I’m feeling extra nice I’ll surprise my kids with some white bread that I’ve made. With bare shelves at grocery stores and not wanting to leave my house other than once every two weeks or so, I’ve been grateful to pull this recipe out and make some bread with the six easy ingredients I have on hand. It seems like I’ve been letting the little things go more these days (rationing my whole wheat flour is one of them)  and my kids are not complaining about the increase of white sandwich bread in our house.

The best white sandwich bread!
Jump to Favorite White Sandwich Bread Recipe

Bread Flour or All Purpose Flour?

Most of the time I keep all purpose flour on hand because it works well for just about any recipe. This bread recipe works with a basic 10-11% protein all purpose flour from the grocery store, but it is at its absolute best when you use bread flour (11-13% protein) or add some vital wheat gluten to compensate for the all purpose flour. I also sometimes will substitute 1 cup of the bread flour for 1 cup of whole wheat flour if I want to increase the whole grains my family is consuming.

Kneading Dough

I prefer using a stand mixer to mix bread dough. For smaller batches I like using a KitchenAid. For larger batches I use a Bosch Mixer. I add all the ingredients to the stand mixer except for the flour. The way flour is measured and scooped can have an effect on your bread. I always subtract about half a cup of flour from the lowest flour range given in a recipe and begin there. For this recipe I start with 2 1/2 cups of flour and then as the dough kneads, I add the rest of the flour about 1/4 cup at a time. I don’t want to over-flour my dough which results in tough bread. The bread flour you use may have a different protein content than the flour I use which can effect the amount of flour that needs to be added to the dough. Always check signs of readiness for the dough: Can you roll the dough up into a ball in your fingers with only a little bit of sticky residue? Does the dough clear the sides of the bowl (it’s okay if it’s sticking a bit to the bottom)? Check out this post for more information about kneading dough. Once the flour has been added, knead the dough for about 8 minutes. I like to set a timer and just let the dough knead! This is important in developing the gluten strands which will form a beautiful crust and structure. After those eight minutes you can transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and let it rest and rise.

Be careful not to over-flour your dough. Once it forms a ball but still leaves sticky residue on your fingers, it is ready!

Shaping Dough

Shaping the dough is another important step in a perfect loaf of bread. Press the dough out with your fingers into a rectangle shape (use your bread pan as a guide for how wide the dough should be). Roll the dough up, pinching in the seams as you go along and creating a puffy center of dough. Pinch the seams closed and place the bread seam-side down into the loaf pan. My favorite loaf pans are these (affiliate link). They require no oiling and the bread will pop right out after cooling for about 5-10 minutes. The bread really needs the structure before putting it in a loaf pan (don’t just plop it in there and expect for the best!).

Baking With Kids: Add a Swirl

We are going on week three here of having kids at home full-time and I try to dedicate one day a week to work on a baking skill with them. This past week it was this delicious white bread. It’s a fairly basic yeast-dough recipe and the results are awesome. My kids love to pick a filling and swirl it into their bread. We had cinnamon swirl bread and “pizza” bread…both delicious. I love seeing their creativity and excitement at getting to create something that’s all theirs. 

Swirl Breads: If you want to add a swirl to your bread, simply pick a small amount of ingredients, layer it on (like you would a pizza) and roll up tightly, making sure to pinch the seam closed on top. Bake as directed. A few ideas from my kids:

  • Cinnamon Swirl: 2 Tablespoons white sugar, 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • “Pizza”: 10 chopped up pepperoni, 2 Tablespoons red sauce, ¼-½ cup shredded cheese
  • Cheese bread: ½ cup your favorite cheese sprinkled over the bread 
“Pizza” bread on the left, Cinnamon Swirl bread on the right

This recipe makes one delicious loaf of white bread, though it can easily be doubled or tripled I usually multiply it by four or five and slice and freeze the leftover bread. It slices well and is the perfect bread for a sandwich or to snack on. We use our leftovers for french toast on lazy mornings…which seems to be every morning these days. So check your pantry and give it a go!

Favorite White Sandwich Bread

Our family favorite white sandwich bread. Light, fluffy and sturdy enough for a sandwich, this white sandwich bread is perfect for cold cuts, peanut butter and jelly, grilled cheese or to eat plain.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 38 mins
Rise Time 2 hrs
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Servings 1 loaf

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/3 cup warm water temperature of baby's bathwater (or milk for a richer bread)
  • 3/4 Tablespoon instant yeast
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons neutral flavored oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3-4 cups bread flour see recipe note

Instructions
 

  • To the bowl of a stand mixer (affiliate link), fitted with a dough hook, mix together the water, instant yeast, sugar, oil and salt. Add 2 1/2 cups bread flour and begin kneading. The dough will start coming together.
  • Add flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough is just a little sticky but rolls into a ball in your fingers. You will also notice the dough no longer sticks to the sides of your stand mixer. Check out this post for how to know when to stop adding flour. I tend to go by the feel of the dough for when to stop adding flour more than an exact measurement. Knead for 8 minutes in a mixer or 10 minutes by hand. 
  • Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel, set in a warm place and let it rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. 
  • Turn the dough out onto the counter and shape into a rectangle. You will roll the dough into a cylinder shape. Starting at the edge closest to you, roll up the dough. Take care to press in the dough at the seam after each roll and pinch the seam closed at the end. Refer to the photos in this post for a visual.
  • Transfer the dough, seam side-down to a bread pan. I like using an 8.5 by 4.5 (affiliate link) bread pan but this loaf will fit a 9 by 5 bread pan too (the bread may not rise quite as tall if you use the larger pan but will be a bit wider).
  • Allow the dough to rise about 45 minutes to an hour, covered and in a warm place. The dough should just rise a little bit over the top of the bread pan (it will rise more in the oven). 
  • Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake the bread for about 35 minutes. Top with melted butter if desired. Let cool before slicing. I like to slice and freeze the slices for easy sandwiches or toast.

Notes

Bread Flour: This recipe originally called for 3 1/2 – 4 cups of bread flour. After making it more, I found that I tend to use closer to 3 cups of bread flour. I use a bread flour with 12.5% protein content. If the protein content of your bread flour is less, you may need a little extra flour. If it is higher, you may need to add a little less flour. If you don’t have bread flour on hand, you can use all purpose flour and add 1 Tablespoon of vital wheat gluten.
Previous recipe version: Originally this recipe called for mixing together all the ingredients except the flour. Then adding 1 cup of bread flour and letting the mixture rest for 10 minutes, then adding the rest of the flour and proceeding with the recipe. I’ve found that I tend to skip this process and my bread turns out perfectly. If you want to develop a bit more flavor, you can add this step in. I haven’t thought it significant enough of a difference to the finished loaf to keep it in the recipe instructions.
Keyword sandwich, white bread

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