Thursday, September 8, 2016

Honey Sandwich Bread - Home style and Soft! Highly Recommended!!!

Have you seen this basic honey sandwich bread recipe everywhere? ... at Brown eyed Baker, Chef in You and Many have mentioned that it is a well written recipe originated from Cook's Illustrated but I also have found this recipe in the book, The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. Why? Then, I realised that The America's Test Kitchen is actually the home of Cook's Illustrated.

Why is this bread called the American sandwich bread? Not English? Not French? Not Aussie? Not Singaporean?... LOL! Why American? I wonder. Maybe because this recipe is derived from The America's Test Kitchen located outside Boston? Maybe.

It is true that this bread recipe is really good!!! Whether it is uniquely American or not, it is an easy basic bread recipe to bake as the dough is super easy to handle. In fact, this home-style bread contains no added sugar and a good amount of honey that gives the bread a sweet lovely taste and aromatic homely fragrance.

I really like this recipe and have been using it to bake our sandwich breads pretty often. For my curiosity, I have also tried baking this recipe with buttermilk and found that this addition works very well too. The addition of buttermilk has given the bread a spongier texture plus extra buttery and milky flavour. Then I asked myself... Which is better? Personally, I think both bread with milk or buttermilk are equally good. Of course... I wouldn't mind baking the bread with buttermilk if I happen to have leftover buttermilk in my fridge.

Like most people who has baked this recipe, I would highly recommend this recipe too!!! Will you?

American honey sandwich bread Cook's Illustrated
American Honey Sandwich Bread
Nice to know that NO sugar is added into this bread... Only honey!
The bread dough can be either made on the day of bake or one day in advance.
Leave it to prove in the fridge overnight, then shape and bake the bread on the next day.
Allow the shaped dough to rise in a warm place until it looks like this...
Baking this bread is always making my kitchen smelling so lovely!
American honey sandwich bread Cook's Illustrated
This was the first time I baked this bread and I'm impressed!!!
It is very soft and fluffy!
I've also tried using buttermilk to bake more breads...
And they are smelling so lovely too...
I wonder if it is my brain or my nose that is telling me that these buttermilk bread are extra fragrant.
American honey buttermilk sandwich bread
... but I'm pretty sure that they are spongier!

Want to watch my one-minute video? ... to see how I baked more lovely breads with this recipe. 

Here's the recipe that is adapted from the book, The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.

Makes one 10 cm x 20 cm loaf

3/4 cup (185ml) lukewarm whole milk* (40°C or 110°F)
1/4 cup (60ml) lukewarm water (40°C or 110°F)
30g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
45g (2 1/4 tbsp) honey
400g (2 2/3 cup) bread flour with 12% protein

1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast

Or two 10 cm x 20 cm loaves
1 1/2 cup (375ml) lukewarm whole milk* (40°C or 110°F)
1/2 cup (120ml) lukewarm water (40°C or 110°F)
60g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
90g (4 1/2 tbsp) honey 
800g (2 2/3 cup) bread flour with 12% protein
1 tsp salt
3 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast

vegetable oil spray to grease
extra milk to brush

*Substitute milk with buttermilk to bake spongy buttermilk sandwich bread. Please do not boil or scald the milk or buttermilk. Just warm the milk or buttermilk with gentle heat or low microwave power until lukewarm and without over-heating them.

Using a breadmaker with "dough' setting:
Add all ingredients according to this top-to-bottom order into a breadmaker. Select "dough" setting to combine the ingredients to form a dough, knead and allow dough to prove for 1hr or until doubled in size.

If breakmaker is unavailable, you can use an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook or your hand to knead the dough.

Using an electric mixer or your hand:
Whisk milk, water, butter and honey together in a large mixing bowl or a jug. Combine 3/4 cup flour - for one loaf or 1 1/2 cup flour - for two loaves, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook or just a plain mixing bowl if you are kneading by hand.

With the mixer on low speed or by hand, add the milk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 mins. While kneading, add the remaining flour, 2 tbsp at a time. Keep kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 20 mins or until the dough is stretchy enough to form window panel. Although this dough is firm and need strength to knead and handle, it is yet easier to handle than kneading a sticky dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball. Place the dough in a large lightly oiled bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm and humid place until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hrs.

You can make this bread one day in advance: After kneading, you can either proceed to prove the dough on the same day or place it in a container with cover and store it in the fridge overnight or up to 16 hrs until required. To use, let dough sit at room temperature for 30 mins before proceeding on to the shaping steps.

To shape:

Grease the insides of the loaf pan/s with vegetable oil spray.

Turn the dough out onto a non-stick surface or lightly floured surface if your dough is sticky. Divide dough into 3 equal portions and flatten each into about 20 cm / 8 inches long strips. Roll either the divided portion or all of the dough into a tight cylinder and pinch the seam closed.

Place the dough with its seam side down in the prepared pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, about 60 to 75 mins.

Place an oven rack in the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F. Brush the loaf / loaves lightly with milk. Bake for 25 mins or until the bread is thoroughly cooked. If the top of your loaves brown too quickly in the first 15 mins of baking, cover the loaves with a piece of foil very loosely and continue to bake for at least 25 mins in total.

Remove the bread/s from the pan/s immediately and transfer it or them onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.

To avoid the bread from drying out, store any uneaten bread in air tight container for up to 2 days in room temperature. To freeze, wrap sliced bread in portions in freezer bags and store in the freezer up to 2 months. Thaw in room temperature on the day before it is consumed.

Happy Baking
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  1. Hello zoe glad i found your page, really like how you post the pics with clear desriptions on it. May i know what brand is your breadmxer? What is the purpose by putting a glass of waterinside the oven.?thank you

    1. Hi,

      I'm using Breville breadmaker. I'm using my oven as a warm and humid place to prove my bread and placed a cup of water to keep my oven humid so that my dough won't dry out in the warm oven. Cheers!


  2. Hi Zoe,
    I am in Auckland, is about the same weather as Melbourne. I use the same method of proving in the oven but it takes more than 5 hours or more to get a double size, and sometimes the structure of bread is not soft at all. I am using Esmonds Active Yeasts.
    Can I know what brand of yeast you are using?

    1. Hi Lisa,

      I'm using ordinary instant yeast bought from Woolies or Coles. Nothing special :p I'm guessing that you didn't store your yeast correctly and so they are dead. Please check the label and see if you have done the right thing. Cheers!


  3. Hi Zoe,
    What brand bread flour did you use?

    1. Hi Cathy,

      I'm using Wallaby Bread Flour which is at least 12% in its protein content. Cheers!


  4. This looks so delicious and so easy to make....!! love your video...!!!

  5. Oh wow look so nice can almost smell it. Oooh i saw your video of that touch screen show something had no idea what you guys were talking about was fun to watch :)

  6. Dear, may I know this recipe can throw all ingredients into Bread Maker. Right? If dun hv veg oil. Can I use the water to spray?
    Hope to hear from you too.
    And I had left a message at the YouTube too. I am doubt the video 0.44 left a cup inside the oven. Wat is this purpose?

    1. Hi Poohbear,

      If you don't have vegetable oil spray to grease the pans, you can grease your pan by applying vegetable oil or softened butter. Please do not use water as it will not help you to remove the bread from the pan easily!

      As for the cup, I'm using my oven as a warm and humid place to prove my bread and so I placed a cup of water to keep my oven humid so that the dough won't dry out in the warm oven. Cheers!


  7. Absolutely fabulous Zoe!!! Nothing is better than home made bread, it's actually a simple thing but very few people I know have tried to or made bread at home!

  8. This bread looks amazing! Nothing better than a yeasty, homemade bread with butter!

  9. Hi Zoe, Are your oven temperatures for baking (ie, 180 deg/C in this recipe) fan-forced or non fan-forced? I've got a couple of loaves of this one on the rise right now...

    1. Hi, I'm using 180C with top and bottom heating with NO fan forced.