Lately I (along with everyone else, apparently) have been baking bread– it’s really the perfect cooking project for when you’re stuck at home, since you have ample time to let the yeast do its thing without having to worry about timing it around your workday. After I made my last loaf of buttermilk sandwich bread I realized that my loaf pans were just not up to par, so I ordered a pair of new ones. And of course, that meant I had to inaugurate them with something new!
This one is similar to the last loaf, but the recipe makes two loaves and they turned out even lighter and fluffier than the other one due to the higher liquid content. I actually prefer the plainer flavor without the tang of buttermilk, and I can also see this making some delicious rolls, or even the base for a cream-cheese-and-jam breakfast pastry.
In this case, since I can’t leave well enough alone I decided to make it into a swirl bread for extra flavor. I was a bit concerned when I first mixed up the dough that it would be too sticky to roll– even after a lot of kneading in the stand mixer, it’s really more of a thick batter– but once it rose it formed a soft, airy dough that was just sturdy enough to roll out.
I made my first loaf with a mixture of melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar swirled onto the dough– pretty standard– but for the second I spread a thin layer of roasted garlic and onion jam that turned out pretty amazing. You could really put anything into this bread– both turned out excellent, making this my new favorite soft bread recipe!
Soft White Bread (adapted from A Farmgirl’s Kitchen)
- 1 cup milk
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 5 cups flour
- 1 package (.25-ounce) instant yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)*
- Add-in of your choice
- Heavy cream/egg wash
*If you are using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, sprinkle it over the surface of your cup of warm water and let it sit for about five minutes before starting the recipe. Make sure your milk/butter mixture is at about 110 degrees F before adding the water to it, or you could kill your yeast.
- Heat milk in the microwave until it just starts to bubble at the edges. Add butter and stir to melt.
- Add water, sugar, and salt and stir to dissolve.
- Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and add egg, flour, and yeast in that order.
- Beat for about 5 minutes on medium speed.
- Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and scrape your batter into the bowl. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and set aside for about an hour to rise until at least doubled.
- Line two 9×5″ loaf pans with parchment to create a sling. Spray with baking spray for added security.
- When your dough is risen, turn it out onto a generously-floured board and cut in half. Form each half into a loaf shape. If desired, roll out the dough and spread a filling onto it before rolling up and putting the loaf, seam side down, into your parchment-lined pan.
- Let shaped loaves rise for another hour, until puffy. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
- Brush the tops of your loaves with heavy cream or egg wash.
- Bake loaves for about 30-40 minutes, until golden brown and internal temperature registers 195-200 degrees.
- Let cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing (see how useful that sling is?) to a rack to cool the rest of the way. Remove the parchment before leaving to cool.
Cinnamon-sugar on the left, garlic jam on the right.