I remember when my grandma used to give me bacon sandwiches with a healthy heaping of mayo on white toast. It was one of the only things I would consent to eat for lunch as a kid. Nowadays, I don’t think I could stomach such a sandwich (seriously, Grandma?? bacon AND mayonnaise? perhaps hoping for a heart attack from your favorite pickiest eater?), but I do occasionally crave that nostalgic taste of a BLT or grilled cheese on white bread.
Now we all know white bread gets a bad rap these days. While some of the criticism is justified, and we recognize whole wheat bread is better for us, there are occasions when you just need white bread instead of wheat bread. (My husband would protest that you need white bread EVERYDAY, but I don’t give in that easily.) Sometimes, though, I do give in. And if you are still buying white bread for your own picky kids, this will come as quite the joy.
The flavor is leaps-and-bounds better than store-bought bread, and the texture is soft, yet strong enough to hold sandwiches and not tear. It’s actually not as hard to make as you might think. It just takes time. This bread rises 3 whole times.
After the second rise, you pat the dough down into a rectangle.
Then you form it into a loaf and crimp the seam together at the bottom.
Your bread should look like this after the third rise. And then the final product …
Tada! A real loaf of white sandwich bread!
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
Makes 1 9”x5” loaf
2 t. active dry yeast
1/8 c. (about 1 oz.) warm (105 to 115 degrees F) water
½ c. warm (105 to 115 degrees F) milk
½ c. (105 to 115 degrees F) water
1 T. shortening or butter, room temperature
1 T. sugar or honey
1 ¼ t. salt
2 ¼ to 2 ½ c. bread flour
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast and 1/8 c. warm water, and let stand for 5 minutes until the yeast foams. Whisk to dissolve yeast. Add milk, ½ c. water, shortening, sugar, and salt, whisking again to dissolve sugar. Add 1 ½ c. of the flour to the yeast mixture, and mix by hand for 1 minute. Gradually add the remaining flour until the dough is moist but not sticky. Knead for about 5 minutes on low speed with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic. Remove dough from bowl temporarily, and oil the bowl. Return dough to bowl, turning it once to coat it in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in volume (about 1 hour). Knead the dough briefly, and let rise again until doubled (about 1 hour).
Grease one 9”x5” loaf pan. Gently remove the dough and place on a lightly floured surface. Shape and pat the dough into a rectangle, then form the dough into a loaf. Place seam side down into the pan. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap, and let until the loaf crests the sides of the pan, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees, and bake until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped, about 25 to 30 minutes more. Remove the loaf from the pan to a rack, and let cool completely before slicing.