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THE BEST WHITE SANDWICH BREAD

This is the best white sandwich bread ever! It is surprisingly easy to make and is perfect for sandwiches and toast (French toast, too!)!

Growing up (pains me to admit this), I was that kid. You know the one. They complain about any food that has color or nutritional value, including bread.
My mom would pack our school lunches with a homemade sandwich, and I would gag every time it was made with wheat bread (in full justification, I’m hoping the gagging was due more to the soggy tuna-laden bread rather than me being a stinker about eating whole grains).


INGREDIENTS:
  • 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar or honey
  • 2 3/4 cups very warm water
  • 1/4 cup neutral-flavored oil (like grapeseed, canola, vegetable, avocado)
  • Butter for top of loaves, optional


DIRECTIONS:
  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (or in a large bowl, if making the dough by hand), combine THREE cups of the flour, salt, yeast and sugar.
  2. Add the water and oil and mix until combined. The mixture will be thinner than bread dough.
  3. Cover the bowl and let the batter rest for 10 minutes; it will be slightly bubbly at the end.
  4. With the mixer running (or stirring by hand), gradually add another 3 to 4 cups of flour, until the dough comes together in a cohesive ball that clears the bottom and sides of the bowl and doesn’t leave a lot of doughy residue on your fingers when touched while still being just slightly tacky (not overfloured and dense).
  5. Knead for about 2 minutes until the dough is smooth and supple.
  6. Lightly grease a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl, cover with greased plastic wrap or a light kitchen towel, and let rise until doubled, about an hour or so, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
  7. Lightly punch down the dough and divide it into two equal pieces.
  8. Grease two 8 1/2-inch by 4 1/2-inch bread pans.
  9. Press each piece of dough into a thick rectangle about 8-inches long; roll it up, pressing on the seams, and pinching the final seam together.
  10. Place the dough loaves into the prepared pans.
  11. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap or thin kitchen towels and let rise until doubled and the dough has risen about 1-inch above the top rim of the pan, about an hour or so, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
  12. While the dough rises, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  13. Bake the bread for 30-32 minutes until golden and baked through.
  14. Remove from the oven and turn the bread out onto a wire rack. Immediately brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter (or use a stick of butter, peeling the paper back and rubbing it on the top of the hot bread).
  15. Let the bread cool completely.
  16. The bread can be stored at room temperature, covered in a bread bag, for a couple days, or frozen for up to a month or so.
Recipe Adapted From melskitchencafe.com

NOTES:
I always use unbleached all-purpose flour and haven’t made this bread with bleached all-purpose flour but I’m guessing it will work just fine. I’ve also made this bread with bread flour in place of the all-purpose – delicious if you have it on hand and like an extra chewy/sturdy loaf of bread!
If you don’t have instant yeast, you can dissolve the same amount of yeast in 1/4 cup water with a pinch of sugar until it is foamy and bubbly and then use it in the recipe (add it with the oil and water). 
As with all yeast doughs, particularly bread dough, I use the flour amount in the recipe as a guideline and encourage you to do the same. The exact amount of flour you use will depend on how you measure flour (this is how I measure flour), the climate and temperature where you live (humidity can be a factor), and several other things. Add flour gradually until the texture of the dough is soft, smooth, and only just slightly tacky to the touch. 

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