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It has been two years and MANY loaves of bread. But after all this time, I can honestly say that I’ve finally discovered the perfect sandwich bread recipe ever! The crust is slightly chewy, the sponge of the bread is light and moist, and the color is golden and not burned. This is the best bread recipe I have ever made, and now I’m sharing it with you guys! Yes I’m sharing because after all this frustration I can’t very well go and just let everyone else tough it out on their own.
- 1/2 cup (118 mL) raw whole fat milk
- 1 tsp raw cane sugar
- 4 tsp instant yeast
- 3 cup (400 mg) white unbleached wheat or spelt flour
- 3/4 cup (100 mg) whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup whole fat yogurt
- 1 small egg
*everything MUST be full fat! This will add moisture to the finished bread.*
In a small bowl, microwave the milk for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave another 30 seconds. This will scald the milk. Mix in raw sugar and allow to cool to 105ºF (40ºC). Once cooled, add the yeast and allow to sit in a warm place until foamy. Grease a metal or Pyrex bowl with oil or butter.
In a separate bowl, add the two flours, salt, and baking powder and whisk to combine. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or other large mixing bowl) add the yogurt and egg and whisk to combine fully. Add your yeast and milk mixture to the yogurt mixture, and whisk again to combine.
With the dough hook attachment and the stand mixer running slowly (or while mixing by hand slowly), add small portions of the flour mixture to the slurry in the mixing bowl until it comes together into a smooth ball. If it seems dry, add some milk until tacky but not sticky. If too wet, add more white unbleached flour. Turn up the mixer to high and knead for a couple minutes (if kneading by hand, knead approx. 4 minutes).
Remove the dough from the mixer and form into a ball, then place into the greased bowl and turn over to coat. Cover with a wet (not dripping) tea towel and allow to rise for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Grease two 9×5 loaf pans with oil or butter. Remove tea towel from dough and re-wet it. Preheat your oven to 350ºF (175ºC).
Gently deflate the dough, remove the dough from the greased bowl, and divide dough into two. Then, form the divided dough into two separate loaves. Place into the greased loaf pans and put the tea towel back over the pans, and rise for 30-40 minutes. About 5 minutes before the end of the second rise, remove the tea towel and allow the dough to rise without the moisture of the tea towel.
Bake the loaves in your preheated oven for 30-35 minutes (depending on your oven) until golden brown. Remove from the pans as soon as you pull the loaves from the oven, and using a large airtight container place the still-hot loaves inside. Replace the lid, leaving enough airflow for the heat to escape without allowing the loaves to dry out. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
Yes, this is a LOT of work. But by doing exactly what I’ve posted here, I managed to find the perfect soft, moist texture I’ve been searching for in bread. The extended initial rise and the slightly longer second rise, combined with the long cooling time in an airtight container is what makes the bread just right and gives it its tenderness.
This recipe is somewhat similar to the recipes for Crazy Dough that you see floating around. However, I use two different flours and have a totally different method for receiving the intended texture, as well as other changes. The resulting recipe is the bread my husband and I have been searching for, a cross between American processed sandwich loaves and Belgian traditional bread loaves bought at the grocer’s bakery. It’s just right, and I can guarantee you and your family will LOVE it!