Duet: Homemade Sandwich Bread / Bread “Lost Without Your Love”

The food: Baking bread is the greatest smell on Earth. For many beginner cooks, the idea of making bread from scratch is downright scary. Take a deep breath. I’m a novice here to tell you that homemade sandwich bread is not so difficult, especially when you use this basic recipe. Yes, it takes a lot of time, but that will just make you appreciate the result even more. And I promise the result is so much tastier than a store-bought loaf.

Homemade sandwich bread

The music: Listening to Bread while baking bread is a bit cliché, I’ll admit, but it is truly the perfect pairing. This 70s band is the quintessential easy-listening act—I mean, look at their hair and leisure suits! I wouldn’t begin to claim that Bread is one of the greatest bands, or even a great band, but their smooth vocals and no-frills instrumentals will keep you in a calm mindset during the long, meditative process of baking bread. This 1977 album, the band’s last, is missing their biggest hits (remember “Baby I’m-a Want You” and “Make it With You”?), but offers up 11 songs that are pretty easy on the ears.

Bread Lost Without Your Love album

Homemade sandwich bread is made with just a few staples (below). Two important things to note: Yeast is what makes bread rise, so don’t forget it! Also, I suggest using bread flour rather than all-purpose flour. In fact, the two are fairly interchangeable. Bread flour has more protein to assist gluten development, which means you’ll get a chewier, denser loaf. If that’s not important to you, feel free to stick to all-purpose flour.

Bread ingredients

After mixing everything but the flour, you slowly work in the flour to form a soft dough ball. Adding all the flour too quickly will cause the dough to “seize up” and become difficult or impossible to work. Once you have the beginnings of a dough ball, move it to a floured surface for kneading. Again, take a deep breath. Kneading is easy—and an opportunity to alleviate stress! It just means folding, pressing, and flipping the dough again and again and again and again…

Homemade Sandwich Bread

You’ll do this process a couple of times, with breaks in between, before baking the loaf and giving your house a wonderfully nostalgic aroma.

You can double the recipe to make two loaves at once (I highly recommend doing this because it makes you feel a little better about investing so much time). If you can’t eat the extra loaf quickly enough—though I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t—it makes a fantastic gift. Also, do yourself the favor of making French toast with this bread. You can thank me later.

Homemade sandwich bread

Homemade Sandwich Bread

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups bread flour

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix juice, water, oil, sugar, yeast, and salt until yeast and sugar dissolve.
  2. Mix in 2 1/2 cups flour, half a cup at a time, to form a soft dough.
  3. Place dough on a floured board and knead for about 10 minutes, adding more flour one tablespoon at a time, as needed.
  4. Form dough into ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover with a damp towel (not letting towel tough the dough) and let rise in a warm area for 1 hour.
  5. Punch down dough and place on floured board. Knead for 2 minutes.
  6. Shape dough into loaf and place in a greased loaf pan.
  7. Cover with damp towel and let rise 30 minutes.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
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