I love making bread. I never thought I'd say that, but I do. I look forward to baking different things on the weekends but I really love bread. I think it's partially because of the sick, twisted joy I get out of punching down the dough.
This has become my go-to standard, all time favorite bread to make.
I tend to do half wheat flour and half white flour to make it a little bit "healthier" (Hey, whatever works for me to justify my huge intake of bread products...)
American Sandwich Bread
makes 1 loaf
3¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup warm whole milk (about 110 degrees)
1/3 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons honey
1 envelope (about 2¼ teaspoons) instant yeast
Place oven rack to the lowest position. Heat oven to 200 degrees. Maintain oven temperature for 10 minutes then turn the oven off.
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine flour & salt. In a small bowl combine the milk, water, butter, honey, and yeast. Using the dough hook slowly mix the liquid mixture with the flour and salt. When the dough starts to come together evenly increase the mixer speed and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover, then place in the warmed oven to raise for 40-50 minutes, or until dough doubles in size.
Shape the dough into a rectangle and place, seam-side down, into a loaf pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Place an empty baking pan (not glass!) on the oven rack at the lowest position. Place the second oven rack at the middle position. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour the boiling water into the empty baking pan inside the oven. Bake the loaf on the middle rack for 40-50 minutes.
Remove the bread from the pan and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
Source: Brown Eyed Baker