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For sandwiches, toast, and French toast, you just can’t beat a classic American sandwich loaf, with its creamy-white interior, golden crust, and soft, easily sliceable texture.
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*
1/2 cup milk (skim, 1%, 2% or whole, your choice)**
1/2 to 2/3 cup hot water, enough to make a soft, smooth dough**
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) melted butter or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water OR 2 teaspoons instant yeast
*For added whole-grain goodness, substitute great-tasting King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour for up to half of the all-purpose flour in this recipe.
**Mix the cold-from-the-refrigerator milk with 1/2 cup of the hot-from-the-tap water to make a lukewarm combination.
Mixing: In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine set to the dough or manual cycle). Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
Shaping: Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8" log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 60 minutes, until it’s domed about 1" above the edge of the pan. A finger pressed into the dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly.
Baking: Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until it’s light golden brown. Test it for doneness by removing it from the pan and thumping it on the bottom (it should sound hollow), or by measuring its interior temperature with an instant-read thermometer (it should register 190°F at the center of the loaf). Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a wire rack before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature. Yield: 1 loaf.