Bittman Basics

Are You Ready to Make a Simple Sandwich Loaf?

Now is the time

Mark Bittman
Heated
Published in
3 min readApr 3, 2020

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Photo: Katrin Ray Shumakov via Moment/Getty Images

Whether you’re sequestered at home making toast and sandwiches, or trying your hand at bread baking, this loaf should be in your repertoire.

The ingredients for almost all bread baking are pretty much the same from recipe to recipe: flour, leavening (baking powder, baking soda, or yeast), water (or other liquid), salt, and sometimes fat or other ingredients for added flavor.

In this recipe, the food processor does the kneading here. Or you can use a standing mixer with a dough hook, which also does a good job. Either makes better dough than almost anyone can achieve by hand, but to make this dough without a machine: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon until you can’t stir anymore. Then start using your hands to work the dough into a ball. Turn it onto a flour work surface and fold, press with the heel of your hand, and turn as with biscuits, only much harder, repeating for several minutes, until the dough is smooth. Continue to the second graf of this recipe, below.

Simple Sandwich Loaf

Time: 3 to 4 hours, mostly unattended
Makes: 1 large loaf

Ingredients

  • 1¼ cups whole or 2 percent milk, or more as needed
  • 3½ cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for shaping the dough
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 packet (2½ teaspoons) instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the pan

Instructions

Heat the milk in the microwave or a pot on the stove until it reaches about 100°F; it will be a little hotter than lukewarm. Put the 3½ cups flour, salt, yeast, and sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.

With the machine running, add 2 tablespoons of the oil and the milk through the feed tube and process until the dough is a well-defined, barely sticky, easy-to-handle ball, about 30 seconds. If it is too dry, add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, and process for 5 or 10 seconds after each addition. If it is too wet…

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Mark Bittman
Heated

Has published 30 books, including How to Cook Everything and VB6: The Case for Part-Time Veganism. Newsletter at markbittman.com.