Revisited: Lazy Sunday Sandwich Loaf
Today I’m winding the clock back to revisit a basic sandwich loaf that I first posted about in May 2012. In the three and a half years since I have probably made this loaf close to 75 times. This is the loaf I recommend to anyone who is just starting out making bread and looking for a simple recipe.
It’s got an easy ingredient list, stays fresh for a few days, and start to finish takes about three hours. If you want fresh bread for the week without much work this is the loaf for you, earning its ‘Lazy Sunday’ nickname. Start to finish you’ll spend ten or so minutes handling the dough so the rest of your afternoon can be spent outside, reading, napping, or whatever else you might like to do.
Whole wheat flour makes up just over 1/3 of the total flour in the loaf which is enough to impart a distinct taste but not so much that it toughens the loaf. Typically if you are using a very large percentage (say 75% or more) of whole wheat flour it is best to give it more time to hydrate so that the loaf isn’t too dense or dry. This might mean mixing the flour and water the night before, then adding the yeast in the morning (see my 100% whole wheat loaf for a demonstration of this).
I’ve simplified Reinhart’s original recipe but if you like there are things you can add to the dough to make it softer. He suggests adding gluten or powdered milk to your dough to achieve this. I used to do both of these things but over time found I was able to make a perfect loaf without them. Why bother making extra work for yourself?
As you can hopefully see, this bread also slices incredibly well. It is always best to let the loaf fully cool before slicing; three or four hours is ideal but at least wait two if you can. When I first started making this bread I had coworkers (Hi Andy) who semi-jokingly refused to believe I was making my own bread because of how nicely it was sliced.
Lastly I wanted to share some of the work of one of my incredibly talented friends and former roommates (and former blogger) who sent me this amazing watercolor painting that now sits framed above my desk. When she’s not busy earning her PhD, she does fantastic drawings and calligraphy that you can check out on instagram.
- 2½ cups bread or AP flour
- 1½ cups whole wheat flour
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1½ tablespoons sugar
- 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces and at room temperature
- 1¼ cups water
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine all ingredients. Knead on medium speed for 5-7 minutes or by hand for 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and clears the sides of the bowl.
- Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Butter and flour a loaf pan and set aside.
- Once the dough has risen turn out onto an unfloured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle about 6″x8″.
- Form the loaf by rolling up the length of the dough (working from the short side). With each full rotation pinch the creases to create a bit of surface tension. As you roll it will get a bit longer as well, just make sure that when you place it in the pan it touches each edge.
- Place loaf seam side down in the pan and cover once more. Let rise until it crests over the pan slightly, about an hour. While the rise finishes preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Bake for 45 minutes, until the top of the loaf is a deep brown. Promptly remove the bread from the oven and take the loaf out of the pan. Let cool fully on a cooling rack for three to four hours before slicing.