I have been experimenting for a couple months now with a more foolproof form of the five-minute sandwich bread. I tinkered with loaf sizes and amounts of dough several times and I think this is the best combo. My basic premise is that too much dough is better than too little. No one ever complained about how tall and puffy their loaf of bread was (has anyone ever complained about homemade bread at all? OK, maybe our kids did. Hence making loaves that look more like "their supposed to look"). You also need to go easy on the whole wheat flour: 1/3 in your dough mix is likely the max.
This bread requires less equipment than it's artisan cousin: no pizza stone and no water tray. Very easy now that I think about it. If you have been nervous about trying the 5 minute bread dough, this might be a good time to give it a go.
My first few loaves were stubby and dense. I learned the keys: More dough. Smaller loaf pan. More rise time.
- Half a batch of 5 Minute Bread dough (recipe is here) - again, go easy on the whole wheat flour.
- Medium sized bread load pan
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Lightly flour the inside of your loaf pan (I avoid oil - it makes for a crustier crust, which renders it offensive to small children)
- Cut your batch of dough in half and shape/smooth it as you would for the pizza or artisan bread.
- Stretch it out to loaf shape and plop it in the pan.
- Cover with wax paper or plastic wrap and leave to rise for 2 hours. Mine looked like this when it was near the end of the rise.
6. Remove paper or plastic. Put into oven and cook for 60 minutes (give or take- I use same "brown top" benchmark that I use for the artisan loaves.
7. Let cool a few minutes when it comes out of the oven. It will continue to steam a bit and that allows it to pop out of the pan nicer.
8. Let cool fully before slicing as it will cut easier. This is a purely hypothetical statement as we have never been able to let it cool fully- it smells too damn good. The crust usually softens a bit too. After it has cooled, if you still want your crust to be more Wonderful, pop your homemade loaf in a leftover bag from some store-bought bread. Give it a couple hours or an overnight stay and it will be super-soft.
Here's links to the many ways we use this dough (We're always experimenting, so expect more to come):
- This post covers the Basic Dough (Start here!)
- Pizza Dough
- Basic Artisan Loaf
- Easy Naan
- Cinnamon Rolls
- Pull Apart Monkey Bread