Monday, December 22, 2014

Julia Child's White Sandwich Bread

I know, I know, I've shared some pretty excellent bread recipes with you before- but none like this.

This bread is a game changer.

This bread is amazing

This bread is just ridiculous.

We've talked before about my love of baking and that I generally make bread rather than buying it.

We've talked before about bread that my family has simply fallen in love with, like that Light Oat Bread I wrote about not all that long ago.

This guys is...well, this bread blows those breads out of the water.

It's perfect on every level.
It's soft, but strong.
It's just sweet enough.
It's buttery, light, delicious, yeasty, goodness.

There's just no going back- not after you've tried this stuff.
I stumbled across the recipe on Pinterest and found myself over at Dinner With Julie.  She has a great step-by-step photo tutorial for this recipe if you're new at bread baking and need a little guidance- we were all new at it at some point!  This is a great loaf to test the waters with, because it seems to be pretty much goof-proof.  Really.

The last time I made it, as I was turning it into the bowl to let it rise, I realized I had COMPLETELY left out the butter.  Oops!

Even though I had already used the Kitchenmaid to knead the dough I dumped the softened butter in and incorporated it the best I could, hoping for the best.

Dude.  It was still perfect.
This bread is absolute perfection when it's first sliced, still slightly warm inside, smeared with softened butter.

Nom nom nom...do it.  Just bite the bullet and give this recipe a try- you won't be disappointed!

Julia Child's White Sandwich Bread

2 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
6-6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter, softened

1. Pour 1/2 cup of the water into a bowl (preferably that of a stand mixer) and stir in the yeast and sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes, unit foamy. (If the yeast doesn’t do anything, toss it out and buy fresh yeast.)

2. Add the rest of the water and about half of the flour. Stir until well blended. Add the rest of the flour, the salt and butter and stir with the dough hook (or by hand) until well combined and shaggy. Continue to knead (I let the dough hook go for about 8 minutes, poking it down once in awhile) until it’s smooth and elastic. You could do this by hand, too. If you used the dough hook, turn the dough out onto the countertop and knead a few times to make sure it’s evenly smooth. Doesn’t it feel great?

3. Shape it into a ball and put it back into the bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let it sit for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, until it’s doubled in size.

4. Butter two 4″x8″ loaf pans. Punch the dough down (love that part!) and pat each piece into a rectangle that’s about 9″x12″ – or a bit bigger than a standard piece of paper.

5. Starting at a short end, fold it in thirds, like a letter. Place seam side down in the loaf pans, tucking the ends in. Cover with the tea towel again and leave them for an hour, until they puff right up out of the pan.

6. Preheat the oven to 375°F and put the rack in the middle of the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the loaves are honey brown. (I like to run a cold stick of butter over the tops of the loaves as soon as they come out of the oven).  Immediately turn the loaves out of their pans and onto a rack to cool.

Makes 2 loaves.

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