Classic Sandwich Bread
- 3 cups (361g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup (113g) milk (skim, 1%, 2% or whole, your choice)*
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup (113g to 152g) hot water, enough to make a soft, smooth dough* (see “tips,” below)
- 4 tablespoons (57g) melted butter or 1/4 cup (50g) vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water OR 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- To make the dough: In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. Or mix and knead the dough using an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine set to the dough or manual cycle.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise until puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. If you’re using a bread machine, allow the machine to complete its cycle, then leave the dough in the machine until it’s doubled in bulk, perhaps an additional 30 minutes or so.
- Gently deflate the dough and transfer it to a lightly oiled work surface. Shape the dough into an 8" log.
- Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 60 minutes, until it’s domed about 1" above the edge of the pan. A finger pressed into the dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly. Towards the end of the rise, preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes, until it’s light golden brown. Test it for doneness by removing it from the pan and thumping it on the bottom (it should sound hollow), or by measuring its interior temperature with a digital thermometer (it should register 190°F at the center of the loaf).
- Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.