Given how often I bake anyway, I hesitate to say that I’ve succumbed to the comfort-baking trend of bread-baking that appears to be influencing the masses… but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t influence me a little in my choice of baking project

There’s nothing quite like fresh-baked bread when it comes to comfort food, and the smell as it bakes is an extra bonus as it perfumes the house with the ultimate in homey scents.

That being said, I recently developed some carpal tunnel symptoms, so kneading by hand was right out. I thought about re-making this one for a nice, crusty loaf, but decided to go in a different direction when I saw this recipe for mixer-kneaded sandwich bread. It looked light and fluffy, and like it would make excellent toast, which sounded really good for breakfast in the morning. Plus, the rise time was pretty short, which meant I could whip it up in relatively short order.

The dough came together easily and, despite its high moisture content, looked gratifyingly stretchy after the five minutes of mix time. While it took longer than expected to rise on the counter, it had a HUGE oven spring. The resulting loaf was tall, fluffy, and delicious. I’ll definitely be making this again!



Easy Buttermilk Sandwich Bread (adapted slightly from Bake at 350)

1 cup plus 2 tbs. milk

2 tbs. unsalted butter

3 1/4 cups flour

1 tbs. sugar

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 1/4 tsp. instant yeast

1 egg

2 tbs. white vinegar
1 tbs. melted butterIn a measuring cup, combine milk and 2 tbs. butter, and heat until butter melts. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Add milk mixture and mix to combine. Add egg and vinegar and continue to mix for 1 minute, until fully incorporated. Beat for 5 minutes on medium speed, until dough is soft and stretchy. Line a 9×5″ loaf pan with parchment and spray with cooking spray. Press dough into pan and cover with a tea towel. Let rise on the counter for about an hour, until dough rises to 1″ above the rim of the pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and make sure there’s a rack in the center of the oven with NO racks above it. Just before you bake, brush the top of the loaf with your 1 tbs. of melted butter. I suggest that you make a slash down the center of the loaf to control the oven spring. Bake about 35 minutes, until golden brown and firm. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove, using the parchment as a sling. Let cool the rest of the way on a rack.
Notes:
The original recipe called for 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, but I didn’t have any. Usually I just add 2 tbs. vinegar to regular milk, but I’ve noticed that if I add it to hot milk it curdles up something awful, so I decided to add it after the milk had been incorporated into the dough. It worked fine. The recipe also called for drizzling the melted butter onto the unrisen loaf, but if I’d done that my tea towel would have gotten all buttery, so I changed up the order of things.