Sure, you could buy a loaf of sandwich bread and be on your way…but if you’ve never experienced the joy of biting into a fresh, fluffy slice of the homemade version, we highly encourage you to give it a try. Start with Alexandra Stafford’s recipe for soft sandwich bread (from her cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs) and you’ll never look back.
Alexandra (you can call her Ali) Stafford is best known for her popular food blog, Alexandra's Kitchen. You may also be familiar with her cookbook Bread Toast Crumbs, cooking tutorials at Alexandra's Kitchen, or her Instagram feed @AlexandraCooks featuring mostly simple, always seasonal, delicious dishes. She recently launched an online cooking class subscription series on Airsubs!
Reprinted from Bread Toast Crumbs. Copyright © 2017 by Alexandra Stafford. Photograph by Eva Kolenko. Published by Clarkson Potter Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
Tarragon Chicken Salad Sandwiches
6 cups (768g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2½ teaspoons instant yeast
3 cups lukewarm water
⅓ cup neutral oil
Softened unsalted butter, for greasing
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Add the water, followed by the oil. Using a rubber spatula, mix until the liquid is absorbed and the dough forms a sticky ball. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot to rise until the dough has doubled in size, 1½ to 2 hours
2. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 375°F. Grease two 8½-by-4½-inch loaf pans generously with the softened butter. Using two forks, deflate the dough by releasing it from the sides of the bowl and pulling it toward the center. Rotate the bowl in quarter turns as you deflate, forming the dough into a rough ball.
3. Using the two forks and working from the center out, separate the dough into two equal-size pieces. With greased hands, lift each half of dough into one of the prepared pans. Let the dough rise, uncovered, on the countertop near the oven (or another warm, draft-free spot) until the top of the dough just crowns the rims of the pans, 20 to 25 minutes.
4. Transfer the pans to the oven and bake until the tops are golden brown and firm to touch, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and turn the loves out onto a cooling rack. Cool the loaves on their sides for at least 15 minutes before cutting.