Making an American Sandwich Loaf
Contrary to the European breads, the American sandwich breads are much softer and less crusty. This is mainly due to the use of lower-gluten flour and the addition of fat in the forms of butter, oil, or milk. I'm sure everyone likes the complex flavored European breads, which tend to have longer fermentation times and better starting ferment -- basically leftover yeasty dough from decades of bread making. But to make a nice soft PB&J sandwich or an Asian style breakfast sandwich (ham + egg), the American sandwich bread really offers the best texture. This recipe is from The Best Recipe (from people who publish Cook's Illustrated) and is very easy and efficient. The dough is made with all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, milk, water, butter, and instant yeast. Isn't it magical that these amorphous ingredients can come together and become this beautiful looking piece of food?
After only ~40 minutes of fermenting, the dough was rolled to an 8"x8" square -- basically to the width of the load pan
Roll the dough up into a cylinder, tucking in all the seams and let it ferment for another 20 minutes
Doubled in size!
Then after 45 minutes of baking -- voila!
PS. some notes for myself -- if you look closely, the center of the bread was looser than the perimeter. This is because when I rolled the dough, I stretched the dough before I started rolling and only loosely rolled it toward the end, so there was more dough on the outside then the inside. Also I think I slightly underbaked it. So the center is a little bit gummy!