Over a decade in the making, this white sandwich bread recipe is a Frankenstein's monster of the many many sandwich bread recipes I've tried in the past. It tastes just like it came from a bakery. It is in my book with other great bread recipes that work well every time. This the fluffiest, tastiest, cutest sandwich bread and it's the only recipe I'll make of it's kind.. The recipe is very specific and I don't recommend changing anything because it works so perfectly just the way it is. To set you up for out-of-this-world success, follow the steps very closely and you will have a gorgeous result. I can't make the same promise if ingredients are changed and steps are omitted. Trust the process :) Another important tip is that I use the ultra cheap small aluminum bread pans that you can find at the dollar store. I find that they give the bread a cute shape and the heat conducts through them so well.
Yield: 2 large loaves of bread
Time: 2 1/2 hours
6 cups of bread flour (820-888grams) *Divided in half between a regular mixing bowl and the bowl of a stand mixer. Reserve an extra 1/2 cup of bread flour on the side if you need it.
3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of salt
4 teaspoons of active dry yeast (16 grams)
2 tablespoons of vegetable shortening
2 1/2 cups of very warm water *120-125 degrees F (591mL)
2 tablespoons of softened butter
You will start off this recipe with the 6 cups of bread flour divided between two bowls: a mixing bowl and the bowl of your stand mixer. If you don't have a stand mixer that's fine, you can knead everything by hand. You should also have an extra 1/2 cup of flour on the side in case you need to add a little bit in. You're ready now to get started!
In the stand-mixer bowl, add your sugar, salt, and yeast and whisk it together with the bread flour. Next, drop in your tablespoons of shortening and use your whisk to break it up and whisk it in.
Affix your bowl to your stand mixer and attach your dough hook.. Turn it on to stir, and pour in your warm water while it's going. Scrape down the sides and the bottom to ensure everything is mixing well. Once the water is fully incorporated, it will look like soup. This is perfect.
While the hook is stirring, take your other bowl of bread flour and gradually add in the remaining cups in additions. Scrape down the sides after each addition. You want to see most of the dough wrapped around the hook while it's stirring while the bottom 3rd of the dough is sticking to the bottom of the bowl. Add remaining flour until you have a tacky and smooth dough. If it is very wet and sticks to your fingers after you've added all 6 cups of flour, slowly add in the 1/2 cup you have on the side. Drop in your softened butter while the mixer continues to knead the dough for you. The dough should be tacky but not overly sticky when it's ready.
Once you have a nice smooth dough, remove it from the stand mixer and transfer to an oiled bowl. I like to just spray a large mixing bowl with cooking spray before I put it in. Pull out a sheet of plastic wrap and spray one side of it with cooking spray. Lay it over top of the bowl and allow it to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Once the dough has risen and doubled in size, pour it out onto your lightly floured work surface and divide it in half. I like to use a kitchen scale for precision but if you don't have one, you can eyeball it.
Take one half of the dough and pat it into a rectangle. Roll it up and pinch the seams closed and place it in the loaf pan. Brush the tops with softened butter. Repeat this with the other half.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
Allow the two pans of dough to rise in a warm place for about 30-40 minutes while your oven preheats. You want to see the tops rise just enough over the sides of the loaf pan, but you don't want it to rise up too large
or the tops will deflate. Not the end of the world, it just won't look as cute. Refer to my reel to see what it should look like at this stage.
Put the pans in the hot oven and bake for exactly 30 minutes. This is the perfect amount of time to get the tops to brown to a nice rose color.
Once they are baked, flip the loaves out of the pans and transfer to a cooling rack. Allow it to cool thoroughly, otherwise the crumb will be gummy if you slice into it before it cools. The bread is still baking while it cools so you don't want to skip it. It's hard to be patient but it's worth it!
Slice and Enjoy! If you try this recipe, let me know how it turns out :)