~White Sandwich Bread~
2.5 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Instant yeast
½ Cup Butter, chilled
1 ½ Cup Buttermilk
¼ - ⅓ Cup Whole milk
1 Large Egg, lightly whisked
SPECIAL TOOLS: Counter top stand mixer (optional)
Mixer dough hook and paddle attachments
2 9"x5" Bread pans
Large Cheese Grater
Spray Canola Oil
Clean cloth towels (non terry)
Yield - 2 9" Loaves, 18 2oz Rolls, 12 3oz Hamburger/Hot dog Buns
~For best results, make sure all ingredients (aside form the butter) are at at room temperature~
This is my updated version of a recipe from long ago in a far away post (~Toast and Tea~.) The first recipe is a much heartier bread so I wanted to find a more graceful, fluffy loaf for the times when you just want something like that! Even having called it light and fluffy, this bread is still very rich and warm with lots of flavor and structure that makes it a good all-around, all-purpose bread.
Lets get started!
Start by tossing your flour, salt and sugar into your stand mixer, set up with a paddle attachment, and turning it on to the lowest speed setting just to get everything going. After about 30 seconds, add your yeast. I think this 2-stage add tends to get the non-active ingredients mixed in with the yeast just right! It also prevents a large portion of the yeast hanging out with a large quantity of the salt. Happy yeast = happy bread!
Next for the butter! Many recipes call for melting your butter or on the other end of the spectrum, chopping it into tablespoon chunks. For me I like to go with the technique used most in making pie crusts. Easy as... pie... *cough* ok. Turn off your mixer then take your large cheese grater and grate your cold butter into the flour mixture. Turn the mixer back on to low speed and mix until the flour is incorporated. The mixture should look kinda mealy with few to no larger pieces.
In a microwave safe container combine your buttermilk, splash of milk, and the whole whisked egg. Give it a stir to mix thoroughly and pop it in the microwave for just about 20 seconds. This is just long enough to warm it to just above room temp. Instant yeast is pretty quick to wake up with a lesser amount of warmth but it doesn't hurt to give it a bit of a head start!
With the dough hook online, turn your mixer on to low speed again and slowly start adding your liquid. Sticking close to the edge of the bowl and moving around as you go, pour your liquid in a thin stream into the dry mixture. Once all of your liquid is in, hook until it comes into a rough ball. Remove the bowl from your mixer and let the dough sit for 15 minutes, cover with a soft towel. This is to let the dough rest and to let it Autolyse, reducing the time you'll need to knead (really not on purpose this time...)
~~~Food Science Notes (bread): Autolysis in Bread Dough~~~
After its nap, it'll be time to wake the dough from its slumber and get it hopping!
Turn your dough out onto a clean, lightly flour working surface an knead, turn, fold, and otherwise rough up for 10 minutes. The trick is to keep turning it and folding it over in between kneads to incorporate air and develop the proper gluten structure.
Get out your biggest mixing bowl and spray it with spray oil to coat the whole inside surface. Toss in your dough ball and give it a turn to coat it evenly. Wipe the edges of your bowl (just so it'll stick) and cover it with plastic cling wrap. Set your bowl in a room temp place free of cold drafts and let it rise for 1 1/2 - 2 hours until it doubles in size. If the dough doubles in size before time is up, punch it down and let it rise once more to double.
Once its ready, gently remove your dough from the bowl. Be careful while working with it here. The yeast activity forms bubbles in such a way that the air is like foam in a sponge so its fragile. Gently turn out the dough and cut it in half. Form the two haves into Boules. Give them a spray with oil and cover them with a soft towel to rest 20 minutes.
If you want to shape your dough into other shapes, Here is a longer list of methods! Shape your dough into12 larger rolls for hamburger buns, 12 hoagie rolls (no taper) for hot dog buns, or 18 dinner rolls. If you are making rolls/buns in any shape, transfer them now to 2 parchment lined baking sheets as you won't need to shape them further after this step.
Once your dough balls have rested properly, its time for the final shaping! Grease your bread pans with spray oil. Flip your dough balls over so the seam faces upward then gently press it out into a rectangle. Shape into the proper shape for Sandwich Loaves then place them into your prepared pans. Cover your loaves with a towel and let them sit at room temperature to proof.
Proofing time can vary quite a bit but for this it should be just over an hour at room temperature, slightly less in a proofing oven. Proof your loaves until they just about double in size and will spring back readily when poked and indented slightly. If you are proofing at room temp on the kitchen counter, preheat your oven to 350f.
With your loaves nice and puffy and your oven pre-heated, gently place your loaves in and again gently close the door. Bake loaves for 35 minutes. If you find your oven has a distinct hot-spot, you may want to turn your loaves half way through baking. They should register between 185 and 190f on the inside and should have a hollow sound when you tap the bottoms of the loaves.
For Rolls and Buns bake at 450f for about 12 minutes. These shapes should register between 180f and 185f on the inside.
Remove your two loaves to a wire rack to cool about 5 minutes to set then de-pan them and let them cool for 30 minutes before cutting into them. You can cut them before the half hour is up but there is a chance your crumb will collapse due to the escape of gasses before the crumb has reached its final set state.
This bread here, for me, has the perfect level of richness and heartiness making it the perfect white bread for anything from sandwiches and toast to things like bread puddings, french toast, croutons! You can also add many things to add a little something to this bread. Change out the fats, butter for oils. Even using flavored oils like nut or fruit oils add just a little something when your looking for a change from standard. Maybe add some nuts or whole wheat flour to make it heartier or spread the pressed rectangle with raisins and cinnamon to make a nice breakfast sweet bread! Lots of options make experimenting all kings of fun! Keep your minds open and keep on experimenting with everything in your kitchen!