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Our Favorite Bread By Hand and By Machine

Author:

Tender, moist sandwich bread is hard to resist. And this recipe gives you three options for making it: take your pick of mixer or food processor — or simply knead by hand. We love the way it's shaped, with two tall pull-apart loaves in each pan.

At a glance

Prep
Bake
Total
Yield
three 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaves

Ingredients

Choose your measure:

  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 5/8 cup (5-ounce can) evaporated milk; or 5/8 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup (5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) vegetable oil, butter, or vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup honey or sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast or active dry yeast
  • 7 to 8 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Instructions

  1. To make the bread by hand: Combine water, milk, and the fat of your choice in a saucepan and heat until lukewarm.
  2. Pour the warm liquids into the mixing bowl, and add honey or sugar, salt, yeast, and 2 cups of the flour. Beat 2 minutes vigorously by hand.
  3. Gradually stir in enough flour to make a dough that cleanly pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. To knead the dough: Fold the far edge of the dough back over on itself toward you. Press into the dough, pushing away with the heels of your hands. Repeat in a continuous rhythm. (After each push, turn the dough about one-fourth of the way around.) Knead for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, elastic, and springs back when you push on it.
  5. To make the dough in a mixer: Dissolve the yeast and sugar or honey in lukewarm liquid in the bowl of your mixer, then add 7 cups of the flour, the fat, and the salt. Use the flat beater to mix on low speed until the ingredients are thoroughly combined; then switch to the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes on medium speed, adding additional flour if necessary to make a smooth, soft dough.
  6. To make the bread in a food processor: Check the capacity of your food processor, and divide the recipe if necessary. Using the plastic dough blade, dissolve the yeast and sugar or honey in lukewarm liquid in the bowl of your processor. Add the flour, fat, and salt. Process for 60 seconds. If the mixture hasn't formed a ball, gradually add more flour until it does. Process for a total of 90 seconds; if you work the dough longer than this it becomes too hot.
  7. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning it over to grease the entire surface. Cover the bowl and set it in a warm place. Let the dough rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until puffy.
  8. Lightly grease three 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" bread pans.
  9. Turn the dough out and divide it into six pieces. Round each piece into a ball, and place two in each bread pan. Cover lightly and let rise until puffy, about 45 minutes.
  10. While the bread is rising, preheat your oven to 375°F.
  11. Bake the bread for about 35 minutes, or until it's golden, smells fragrant, and has an internal temperature of 190°F.
  12. Remove the bread from the oven, turn it out of the pans, and cool on a rack.
  13. Bread will keep on the counter for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.