Who doesn’t love white Sandwich Bread.. I love them too in two different ways – first is baking my own sandwich bread and second is slicing the loaf. Getting beautiful slices of bread makes my day lovely!
Usually, my preferred time for baking bread is afternoon, so that once bread cools down I can keep it in the fridge for a few hours. This allows me to slice the loaf in the night, cling wrap and keep in the fridge and have that as breakfast the next day!!
I remember very well that my first baked bread was also a white sandwich bread. It was a tiny loaf and that time I had no idea even about the right size of baking tin. It was a broad tin so I got a kind of rusk shape of slices but I was very happy as I got beautiful crumb. Slowly I learnt to use right size of tin according to the quantity of flour. Reading various wonderful blogs and doing lots of experiments helped me to learn about bread baking. While reading blogs I came across a wonderful blog from King Arthur Flour. While going through the blog I found one bread recipe which was baked in pullman loaf tin. This tin gives perfect square shape of bread slices – the exact shape we get from the market bought bread. It was quite impressive. In this tin, bread is baked with the cover on top of the tin which turns the rising dough into flat square shape. I searched online for this tin and found it a bit costly and I already had 3 different sizes of bread tin so it didn’t make sense to spend so much only for one tin.
For my baking requirements I usually shop at a baking institute in Bangalore . They have a very good store for most of the material related to baking, probably for the convenience of their students. Once while window-shopping I found some sturdy bread–tins with cover. These tins were local-made and so were in my budget. I bought two tins and thought of trying to bake flat–top bread loaf. For trial I baked white sandwich bread and it came out really good with square slices. This tin didn’t give sharp edges around the loaf but I didn’t mind because ultimately I got square slices and that was the goal!
Then I tried other tin which was little bit bigger than the previous one and it’s cover was tight unlike the previous one. This tin gave very sharp edges to the bread loaf with square slices.
So, now I have completely given up the idea of buying authentic pullman bread tin. I am quite happy with these two local made bread tins. To tell you the truth, while baking bread in these tins I really missed the beautiful dome shaped rise we witness during baking in the oven. To see bread rising in the oven has its own charm!!! I felt as if I am trying to grow a bonsai plant and restricting it’s freedom of growth. But bonsai too has its own charm and one needs skills to develop it!! So baking bread in an open tin or with covered tin – both have their own beauty!!
Maida (all purpose flour) 3 cups
Milk powder 1+1/2 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 1+1/2 tbsp
Instant active yeast 1 tsp
Oil/butter 2 tbsp
Water 1 cup+ 2 tbsp
(should be slightly warmer than lukewarm but not hot; can increase or decrease little bit as per the absorbing quality of your flour)
The measurement of bread tin in inches is – length 8 depth 3+1/2 width 3+1/2
All ingredients should be on room temperature except water.
If you can’t find bread baking tin with cover, you can still try this recipe in your regular tin.
For few more tips on bread baking you can check this link Wheat flour buns with pizza spices (2) (basic tips to follow if following a bread /buns recipe)
Collect all dry ingredients in a big vessel.
Slowly start pouring water and start collecting dry ingredients together in shape of a dough. Don’t worry about loose or tight consistency of dough at this stage.
Now start pouring remaining water 1 tbsp at a time and knead the dough for 15 minutes by adding oil/butter simultaneously.
Initially, kneading will look a lot messy, but slowly dough will be smooth. Keep the dough in an oil greased bowl for first proofing (bowl should be big enough to have extra space for doubled up dough). Apply some oil on top of the dough to avoid it drying. Cling wrap the bowl and keep it at a warm place for first proofing. I generally keep my bowl in switched-off microwave. First proofing takes 1 to 1+1/2 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
In the meantime grease bread tin and its cover with oil.
Once dough doubles up, sprinkle some flour on clean kitchen counter or grease it with oil. Take out the dough and punch it softly.
Knead the dough very softly and spread it in a rectangular shape according to the size of bread tin.
Start rolling it tightly in the shape of a log.
Seal the sides by pinching it.
Keep this log into the tin by keeping seamed side at the bottom and apply oil on top of the log to avoid it drying. Cover it with its tin cover and once more keep it in the switched-off microwave or any warm place for second proofing. Second proofing generally takes 15 to 20 minutes.
Just 10 minutes before baking, preheat your oven at 185-190 degrees for 10 minutes. Give milk wash to proofed dough and bake it in a preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or till the top of the bread starts becoming brown.
After 35-40 minutes uncover the lid and bake on medium rack with top rod on with fan for 5-10 minutes more. To check whether bread is done or not, tap the top of the bread; if it sounds hollow, it’s done! Be careful – don’t let the top of the bread become dark brown, so keep an eye.
Temperature of every oven varies,– so you should be little bit more careful and judge the baking time as per your experience.
Take out the tin from the oven, keep it on a cooling rack and apply butter on the top to keep it soft.
After 5-7 minutes take out the bread from the tin and let it cool down completely on the cooling rack. Don’t leave the bread for longer period in the bread tin. The heat of hot bread will turn it soggy from the bottom.
Later cling wrap the loaf and keep it in the fridge for 4-5 hours. Don’t slice the bread without keeping it in the fridge, no matter how much you are tempted. Keeping in fridge will settle down its crumbs and while cutting with serrated knife you will get wonderful square shape slices!!! Break into a happy dance… 💃💃