I owe this recipe to Smitten Kitchen, though I’ve adapted it with good success. Just look for “light wheat bread” on her website if you want to see the original or read a more detailed set of instructions for how to handle the dough. She says it all well. I’m gonna err on the my-baby’s-about-to-wake-up side of things.
And YOU owe this recipe to dear Heather, who told my mom she was waiting for me to get around to posting it. So, here it is. Hi Heather! Love you lots! And your pretty girls!
I’ll give you volume and weight measurements for the flour and highly recommend that if you haven’t invested in a kitchen scale, you do that. I bought one for under $15 from Amazon.com and I can set my bowl atop it, zero it out, add an ingredient, zero it again, etc. Way easier than measuring volume and much more accurate, since flour can settle dramatically and give you a very deceptive measurement. So, go buy a kitchen scale!
This recipe is for 2 loaves and I bake them in my 8×4 loaf pans, greased with Pam. Then when they’re completely cool I slice them sandwich-thin and store them in the freezer. Every morning I just grab two slices and make Mike’s lunch, and by the time he eats it they’re thawed.
5 c (22.5 oz) white flour (I use all-purpose, SK uses bread)
3 c (13.5 oz) wheat flour (sometimes I use a little more wheat and a little less white)
3 TBSP sugar (SK uses honey instead and adds it with the milk. For me, this is a laziness issue.)
1 TBSP salt
1 TBSP active dry yeast
Mix dry ingredients.
In a microwaveable bowl, combine 2.5 c milk and half a stick of butter, chopped up. Microwave as long as you need to so milk is quite warm and butter quite soft. Pour this into your dry ingredients. I use my Kitchenaid and just get it running with the dough hook till everything’s combined. Then I knead it by hand because I think it does a better job.
I think the trick to this is not using too much flour, not skimping on the butter, and kneading it to DEATH. The more you knead it (10 minutes?!?) the better developed the gluten strands, and consequently the less crumbly it will be. It holds together well as a sandwich bread.
Let it rise to double (2 hours?) and then divide into 2. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 12-15 inches long and as wide (a little wider maybe) as your pan is long. Roll it into a loaf, pinching it to itself as you roll it up. This gives it a good solid structure. Be careful to make your loaves long enough (i.e. the rectangle wide enough) that they’ll touch both ends of of your pans, so they can “climb” the pans. Otherwise they won’t rise as much or as evenly. Let them rise, rise, rise until they’re nice and tall in your pans (60-90 minutes?) and then bake at 350 for around 45 minutes. It should sound hollow and be nicely browned when it’s done. SK reads hers with a thermometer. I am not THAT much of a baker, haha!
There you have it!