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John Setzler

The Perfect Sandwich Loaf

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Man, I am ready for this quarantine / shelter-at-home party to be over!  I was in the supermarket the other day and noticed that the flour section was almost empty and there was no yeast to be found.  Are y’all stayin’ at home bakin’ bread these days?  I have been taking advantage of some of this time to up my own game on bread.  I have been chasing a ‘perfect’ sandwich loaf for a long time so I decided to zone in on that and make it happen.  After 3 attempts, I finally have the recipe and technique to a point where I think it’s perfect.  The photos here are of that third loaf.  I am going to give you the recipe here and then the instructions on how to put it together.  I will give the ingredients in weight and volume measurements, but do yourself a favor if you want to make this and use your kitchen scale!  It doesn’t take a lot of variation in the flour vs liquid ingredients in this loaf to change the outcome.  

 

Ingredients:

 

115g milk (½ cup)

165g water (¾ cup minus 2 teaspoons)

6g yeast (2 teaspoons) 

420g King Arthur Organic bread flour (3 cups plus 1 tablespoon)

20g whole wheat flour (1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons)

21g sugar (2 tablespoons)

9g Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt (1 tablespoon)

40g butter, cubed and softened (3 tablespoons)

 

Proof the yeast:

 

Combine your water and milk and heat it up to about 100-105°F.  Dump the yeast in and just let it float on top for 10-15 minutes.  It should get nice and foamy.  When it does, just use a fork to whisk it into the liquid.  

 

Mix the dough:

 

Put the rest of your ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and just give it a quick stir to combine everything including the cubed butter.  Attach the dough hook to the mixer and turn it on a slow speed (I use 2 on my Kitchenaid.)  Drizzle in the liquid slowly.  The ingredients will combine and become a shaggy mess of dough.  When this happens and most of the dry ingredients are combined into the dough mass, turn the mixer off and just let it sit for about 30 minutes.  You can let this ‘autolyse’ go an hour if you like or you can skip it.  See my notes at the end about cutting corners on bread. 

 

Knead the dough:

 

Once this ‘autolyse’ rest has completed, turn the mixer back on to a slow speed (2 on my Kitchenaid) and let the dough knead for 10 to 12 minutes.  The dough will be nice and smooth and pulling away from the sides of the bowl cleanly.  

 

Bulk proof the dough:

 

Shape your dough into a tight ball and place it in a greased bowl.  Roll the dough around to coat the exterior with the oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  Place the bowl in a warm location.  I like to use my proofing oven at 85°F.  You can typically get a good proof in a standard oven just by placing the dough inside the oven and turning the oven light on.  This process will take 60 to 90 minutes most of the time.  Let the dough rise until it’s at least doubled in size.

 

Now is also a good time to preheat your oven or grill.  I have had my best results with this loaf using 350°F in convection mode, so that would be about 375°F without convection.  If you are going to cook this on a kamado or pellet grill, I would shoot for 350°F and give the grill a minimum of 45 minutes to preheat.  


 

Shape and bench proof the dough:

 

After the dough has finished its initial rise, de-gas it by punching it down in the bowl to deflate it.  Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.  Flatten the dough out into a rectangle that is slightly shorter on the short side than the length of your bread pan.  I use a 9” x 4.5” bread pan for this loaf.  So the rectangle should be about 8” wide on the short side.  Roll the dough, stretching it as you roll.  Place the dough seam side down into your bread pan that has been greased with butter.  I like to invert a second loaf pan over the top to cover this but you can use plastic wrap that has been sprayed with a little cooking oil also.  The oil will keep it from sticking to the dough as the dough rises.  You will let this rise in the pan for 60 to 90 minutes.  It should rise a good inch or two above the top edge of the pan.

 

Top the loaf:

 

If you want a topping on the loaf, now is the time to do it before it goes in the oven.  Use a water spray/mist to dampen the top of the loaf and then sprinkle on whatever you like.   I used Trader Joe’s “Everything But the Bagel” seasoning blend on mine.  

 

Bake:

 

350°F with convection of 375°F without for 30 minutes seems to be the sweet spot for me on this loaf.  

 

Cool:

 

Remove from the oven to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 15 minutes.  Remove from the pan and let cool completely before slicing.

 

Notes:

 

As you read through this, it may sound more complicated than it really is.  I may make a video of this process at some point.  When it comes to baking bread, there is one area where you must never cut corners.  TIME.  Just about anything you do that will speed up the process of baking yeast breads will have a negative impact on the outcome.  It’s like barbecue in that aspect.  If you take it off too soon, it won’t be perfect.  

 

I hope some of you will try this.  I would love to see some photos and hear your thoughts on it.  

 

Now that I have ‘finished’ with this recipe, it’s time to move on to some new baking project.  Someone suggested bagels.  That sounds like a good idea to me!

 

John Setzler

 

#AtlantaGrillBlog #MCMRecipes #SandwichBread






 

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Thanks, John. Another trick to help the dough rise is to boil water in a measuring cup in the microwave, then put the measuring cup to the back, put the dough in the microwave and shut the door and leave alone.

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48 minutes ago, Old Aviator said:

Thanks, John. Another trick to help the dough rise is to boil water in a measuring cup in the microwave, then put the measuring cup to the back, put the dough in the microwave and shut the door and leave alone.

 

Sounds like a good one for sure.  I am fortunate enough to have a small oven that has a proofing feature that I use religiously.. lol

 

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I've also been experimenting with bread, but using sourdough and no yeast.  Very interesting variations. 

 

 

Your sandwich bread looks just about perfect to me! 

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Hi John,

I just tried this recipe but I substituted sesame seeds for the "Everything but the Bagel" stuff.

The texture was great, but my bread was terribly salty. Either I screwed up or is it possible that the ingredients list somehow got transposed?

I used Morton's Kosher salt, one tbsp. It is a coarse salt which I think is the same as the Diamond brand.

Thanks,

Todd

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On 4/27/2020 at 1:11 PM, TODDH said:

Hi John,

I just tried this recipe but I substituted sesame seeds for the "Everything but the Bagel" stuff.

The texture was great, but my bread was terribly salty. Either I screwed up or is it possible that the ingredients list somehow got transposed?

I used Morton's Kosher salt, one tbsp. It is a coarse salt which I think is the same as the Diamond brand.

Thanks,

Todd

1 Tblsp seems like a lot of salt for a bread recipe.  The recipes I follow that use 2-3 C of flour only call for 1- 1 1/4 tsp. salt.  The salt is really there so it doesn't taste "flat" not really for flavor but to bring out flavor.  Hope this helps for next time.

 

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1 hour ago, gyosh said:

1 Tblsp seems like a lot of salt for a bread recipe.  The recipes I follow that use 2-3 C of flour only call for 1- 1 1/4 tsp. salt.  The salt is really there so it doesn't taste "flat" not really for flavor but to bring out flavor.  Hope this helps for next time.

 

 

That's why you should use 9 grams :)

Every brand of salt weighs something different when you use a tablespoon to measure it.  Don't be lazy when baking.  Weigh your ingredients if you care anything at all about consistent results.

 

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20200502_Chart.jpg

 

Here's a little spreadsheet I made myself for reference since i always get asked to give a recipe in volume measures.   As you can see, all salts are not created equal.  You will get hugely different results using different kinds of salts in volume measures.  10 grams of ANY OF THOSE SALTS is exactly the same amount of salt.

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Thanks John, 

I had a feeling that maybe the salt was different and that’s why I posted what I used. I do have a scale so I will weigh it all out next time. Thanks for the spreadsheet!

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