I'm on a quest for the perfect homemade bread recipe. I am trying to make my own bread for us and never buy store bought again. So, it's pretty important that I find a great recipe. I found this recipe in The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. I thought it was a pretty good recipe, but not spectacular. My kids loved it, but they are bread lovers and will eat any bread... it's me who's the picky one this time. Ha, ha!
The recipe was specific on having the temperature of the milk be 110 degrees, but I'm too lazy to get out my thermometer and get it to that exact temp. Who does that? Is that even possible? But I don't think it would change the taste of the recipe... although the picture of their bread loaf was taller and fluffier than mine. It's a great bread recipe, but not the perfect one I'm looking for. So... back to my quest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know!!
American Sandwhich Bread
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup water, warm
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons honey
3 3/4 cups bread flour, plus extra for the counter
1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant or rapid rise yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1. Whisk the milk, water, 3 tablespoons of butter, and the honey together in a large liquid measuring cup. Mix 3 1/2 cups of the flour, yeast, and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the milk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 1 minute.
2. Increase the speed to medium low and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (If, after 5 minutes, more flour is needed, add the remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 tbsp at a time, until the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottam.
3. Turn the dough onto a clean counter and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball, about 1 minute. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and gently press it into a 9 inch square. Roll the dough into a tight cylinder and pinch the seam closed. Place the loaf seam side down in a 9 inch loaf pan, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until it has nearly doubled in size and springs back slowly when indented with a finger, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
5. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Brush the loaf with the remaining 1 tbsp butter. Set the loaf pan on the oven rack and place an empty metal loaf pan next to it. Fill the empty pan about half full with the boiling water. Bake until golden and the center of the bread registers 200 degrees on an instant read thermometer, 40 to 50 minutes. Flip the bread out onto a wire rack and let cool to room temperature before slicing, about 2 hours.