Jan 13
2010

Simple Sandwich Bread

in Bread, Fuji Favorites, Recipes by Type, Tips & Tricks

In his book Ratio, Michael Ruhlman writes, “Everyone should be able to make bread when they want to, but rarely do we because of the perceived effort involved.”   Ruhlman is right.  There are too many people out there who do not make bread because they believe that a significant amount of effort is involved, or that bread making is difficult.  If there is one thing I wish I could do as a food blogger, it would be to invite anyone who is scared of bread making to come over and make a loaf with me in my kitchen (the closest I’ve come to accomplishing this is with my one hour bread video).  I truly believe that the only thing standing in the way between you and a delicious loaf of homemade bread is confidence and a good basic recipe to get you started.

Loaf of Ruhlman Sandwich Bread

Ruhlman recently shared a recipe for a loaf of sandwich bread that I believe is about as easy as bread making gets.  The recipe uses a weight measurement for the flour, rather than using a volume (cup) measurement.  This is a great asset to the recipe, since the weight of a cup of flour can be drastically different depending on how you measure it.  If you stick the measuring cup into your flour bin and scoop out your flour, your going to end up with a lot more flour in that cup than if you were to spoon your flour into the cup.  The weight measurement helps reduce the margin of error.  Most of the work is done by a stand mixer,

Kitchenaid stand mixer & dough hook

and then a brief amount of work is done by you—just a tiny bit of shaping.

Shaping the loaf

The rest of the process really entails waiting: waiting for the bread to rise, letting the bread rest, waiting for the bread to rise a 2nd time, and then waiting for the bread to cook.  Easy!

A few things to note that I especially appreciate about this recipe are the suggestion to use a Dutch oven, a note on the internal temperature of baked bread, and a reminder not to cut into the loaf right after it comes out of the oven.  I learned the Dutch oven trick when I first made Jim Lahey’s recipe for No-Knead Bread.  That bread, however, is a rustic boule that is baked directly on the bottom of the pot, not in a loaf pan like this bread, and so it didn’t even occur to me to use the same technique.  Ruhlman suggests putting the loaf into a Dutch oven for the 2nd rise and for the 1st 30 minutes of baking time.  This technique helps to seal in heat and moisture, which helps with the rising of the dough, and then acts like a steam-injected oven when baking.  You can definitely make this bread without a Dutch oven, but it is such a nice bonus to use one!

2nd rise of the dough

Ruhlman notes that the bread is ready to come out of the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of about 200 degrees Fahrenheit.  If you have ever worried about whether or not a loaf of bread is done or not, this is a fabulous way to know.  I use an inexpensive thermometer that works like a charm.

Check the internal temperature of the bread

Finally, all of your “hard” work and temperature taking will be for naught if you cut into that loaf of bread when it comes out of the oven.  Bread should be allowed to come to room temperature after baking, because the heat retained inside continues to cook the bread, so slicing it too early interrupts this process prematurely and could leave you with a gummy middle.

I’m going to help you make a goal/New Year’s resolution (whatever you want to call it) for 2010: “I (insert your name here) am going to make fresh bread from scratch this year.”  See?  That wasn’t so hard!  Now go do it, and report back to me!

Ruhlman Sandwich Bread

Print This Recipe

“You can do it” Sandwich Bread

Adapted from Michael Ruhlman’s Everyday Sandwich Bread Recipe

Makes 1 loaf of bread

20 ounces all-purpose flour
12 ounces water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast

1. Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer.  Using the dough hook, mix the ingredients on medium speed until the dough is smooth and very elastic (about 10 minutes).  Remove the bowl, cover it, and let it rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in volume.  This can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours depending on how warm the area is where it is rising.

2. Remove the dough from the bowl, place it on a smooth surface, and then punch it down and knead it to get as much gas out as you can.  Then shape the dough into a rectangle that is approximately 8×11-inches in size.  Cover it with a towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.

3. Shaping the dough: Fold the dough rectangle in half and then use the heel of your hand to press the halves together. Fold in half again, and repeat the process until you have a round loaf.  Place it in an greased loaf pan, seam side down, and cover with a towel to rise (or place it in a Dutch oven and cover it) until it has doubled in volume (approximately 1 hour).  While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. When the dough has finished rising,use a sharp knife to make a slash down the center of the loaf.  Make the cut about 1/4-inch deep at a 30 degree angle.  Put the loaf into the oven and then turn down the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  (If you are using a Dutch oven, leave the lid on for the first half hour.)  Bake the bread for about one hour.  For the best results, the internal temperature of the loaf should be about 200 degrees Fahrenheit.  Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool before slicing into it.

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Paula - bell'alimento January 13, 2010 at 11:23 am

Beautiful post Rachael! I love the Dutch Oven trick ; ) Nothing like homemade bread fresh out of the oven!

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Diana@Spain in Iowa January 13, 2010 at 11:29 am

Rachael, This is my goal! I failed miserably last week!! I am literally jumping that you posted this and the dutch oven trick! I’m seriously trying this recipe tomorrow and will let you know the results :D

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jenjenk January 13, 2010 at 11:31 am

Beautiful!!! I’m planning on doing Healthy Bread in 5′s sandwich bread! I hope mine comes out nearly as nice as this!!

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Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction January 13, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Your bread looks beautiful! Ratio is one of my favorite books and I have been meaning to try to make some breads based on the ratios from the book.

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The Cookie Girl January 13, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I love homemade bread. The smell takes me back to my childhood.

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qsogirl January 13, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Somehow, even though I was receiving every post on your old blog in my Google reader, I managed to miss the move to your new website. The other night, Husband and I made chicken katsu, and I realized I hadn’t seen a post from you in a while. Yesterday I looked you up and was so happy to find you are still blogging, so I updated my Google reader.

I bake my own bread every week (I really don’t care for the taste of store-bought loaves, unless they’re the nice (read: expensive) bakery breads. But I am so excited about this recipe and I’m looking forward to trying it!– and I just got a kitchen scale for Christmas! perfect!

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Fuji Mama (Rachael) January 13, 2010 at 3:27 pm

qsogirl– I’m so glad you “found” me again! I’m not sure why that is happening to people…my RSS feed didn’t change! Something about the move set something off though! I’m with you, I can’t stand storebought bread! :b Let me know what you think of the bread!

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Bob January 13, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Holy crap, that looks flawless. I’d love to make it, but I don’t have a stand mixer. How long would you have to knead it by hand for?

Heh, I actually made a loaf of bread a while ago, it’s not easy in my new apartment. I don’t have more than a foot of counter space at a stetch and no table. The bread came out good, it was especially nice after all the sweeping I had to do after I made it.

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Fuji Mama (Rachael) January 13, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Bob– It would take a while…you’d mix it with a wooden spoon and then just start kneading the heck out of it. But not any worse than making any regular bread recipe without a stand mixer!

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k January 13, 2010 at 2:04 pm

can’t wait to make this tonight after I get my converter sheet out..lol

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Kelly Azuma January 13, 2010 at 2:13 pm

This is definitely the reason why I have avoided making bread at home. You are so right! I can’t say I will promise to make it though as I don’t have that mixing equipment, so might have to get that first… :) But I will definitely come back to it.

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Fuji Mama (Rachael) January 13, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Kelly– You could mix this by hand, it would just take significantly more elbow grease!

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Kris January 13, 2010 at 5:53 pm

I am so going to do this, thank you for putting it out there! And I love the print link thingy – so cool and handy dandy!
Now I have to saw that I lost you for a while but I have fixed up bloglines so I will be able to keep up once again. Oh and my partner James finally tried our Melanganie recipe the other day…we are waiting until we can open the jar and try it. Will let you know.
Ah it’s great to be reading you again.
cheers
Kris in oz

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Sarah January 13, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Having never made non-breadmaker bread, I’d so love to be able to take you up on your wish to show me how easy it can be! I’m going to have to squeeze some sort of oven into my itty-bitty Tokyo apartment and will definitely try bread making once I do…

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Memoria January 13, 2010 at 10:38 pm

I’ve never made bread in a dutch oven before. I’ll have to try it out that way very soon. Your bread came out perfectly. There is nothing like making your own bread. YUM!

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Lizzie January 14, 2010 at 4:02 am

This loaf looks great, Rachael! I haven’t made bread for ages (last time it was a chocolate- filled roll!). The dutch oven idea is clever – I’ve baked bread with a roasting pan of water in the base of the oven, but this is a much better idea! I will try this as soon as I can. Thank you!

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Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite January 14, 2010 at 8:11 am

Ah bread. Next to macarons, it’s my nemesis. Maybe 2010 will be the year of the bread success…. Thanks for posting this – definitely filing for later use…

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Chaitali January 14, 2010 at 8:27 am

I’ve been looking for a simple sandwich bread recipe for days! This totally looks like something I could make. Definitely bookmarking this page!

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Arlene January 14, 2010 at 8:38 am

I have been putting off getting a thermometer for ages, just can’t decide which kind. I want one that’s accurate for mostly roasting meats in the oven and would also love to use it as you did in the bread and trust what it tells me. I have found that you can spend as much or as little as you want with these things, and my question is, would this little Taylor thermometer be the answer for me?
Get your posts about every day – love them!

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Gaelle@whatareyoufeedingyourkidsthesedays.com January 14, 2010 at 10:54 am

You make it look like it’s so easy! Can I use the same recipe with wholegrain flour?

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Andreas January 14, 2010 at 11:09 am

Ah, you can read my mind. :)
I’ve been thinking about making sandwich bread to go with the next Washoku Warriors Challenge.

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Jen @ Tiny Urban Kitchen January 15, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I just went to friend’s house for a bread demo because she felt exactly the same way. And you’re right! It’s not that hard! (She mills her own wheat too, so it’s super healthy!) And I gotta say it was way yummier than any store bought bread. I loved it. I think I’ll make it a new year’s resolution to bake at least TWO more loaves. Thanks for the inspiration!

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A-Man January 20, 2010 at 9:09 am

Nice tasty bread recipe!
Thanks

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Fuji Mama (Rachael) January 21, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Gaelle– If you want to use whole wheat flour, only replace up to half of the all-purpose flour in the recipe with this. If the whole wheat flour is coarsely ground, substitute 1 1/8 cup whole wheat flour for 1 cup all-purpose flour. The reason for not completely replacing the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour is that whole wheat flour makes baked goods denser and coarser in texture. Hope that helps!

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Lexi May 28, 2010 at 8:21 am

@Fuji Mama (Rachael),
If you want to use all whole wheat you can also substitute about 4 oz water for fresh orange juice. It’s a great little trick I figured out randomly at home one day. Most commercial improvers (how commercial ww is light and fluffy) are mostly citric acid. Don’t worry it won’t make your bread taste orangey! unless you want it to and then add some zest! An oz or 2 of honey or sugar would also help with gluten development in ww bread!

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Fuji Mama (Rachael) January 21, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Arlene– Great question! Yes, I have had the same issue, especially when it seems like I buy a thermometer and then it doesn’t last very long. So frustrating! This particular thermometer was recommended to me by a very talented chef as being a great “all around thermometer.” I have definitely found this to be true. It’s not made for candy making, but that’s about it! The only downside is that the face is quite small (but wonderful that it doesn’t take up a bunch of room in a kitchen drawer). You can test the temperature accuracy (it comes with instructions on how to do this) and then recalibrate it if it is slightly off. I haven’t had any problems yet! For the price, it is especially a wonderful buy!

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Kristina@FormerChef January 22, 2010 at 6:17 am

Nice job! I usually make ABin5 bread, but might have to try this method now. I just got a Dutch oven and wasn’t aware of this method so I’m going to have to give it a try.
One question, do you remove the bread from the loaf pan as you let it cool? I’ve found that leaving it in can result in a soggy bottom on the loaf.

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Lori Lange @ RecipeGirl January 22, 2010 at 7:01 am

I absolutely can’t wait until I get Michael’s book in the mail- just ordered it! That Dutch oven trick is one I’ve never heard of. I look forward to trying some new, healthy bread recipes this year.

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Fran January 22, 2010 at 8:21 am

You’ve made me want to try the Dutch Oven method. I too made the no knead bread a number of times last year using the oven, but haven’t gone the route of making other bread using this method. Thanks for posting this — now I’ve got the impetus to try it.

I got the book not long after it came out and have had the Ratio chart posted in my kitchen but the Ratio iPhone app is like a miracle. You can use weight or volume and use metric or imperial measurements. It’s pricy as iPhone apps go, but well worth it if you like to have the trials and tribulations of doing the math taken out of your hands.

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Jennifer January 22, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Excellent post Rachael. And, yes, the difference between scooping and spooning a cup of flour is one-half ounce which is huge in baking.

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susan January 23, 2010 at 10:13 am

Thanks for the “Dutch oven” trick. I make all of the bread we eat at home, using 2/3 spelt and the remainder AP flour. It’s just a simple white bread but I look forward to seeing if it comes out differently with the loaf pan inside my oval casserole. I noticed some comments about the lack of a stand mixer. I almost always use my Cuisinart to make the dough. Use the little plastic “s” rather than the larger metal one. I use cup measures and just dump in the flour, yeast, and a little sugar and pulse to mix. Then I put a funnel in the top opening and pour in a bit of olive oil and my water while the machine is running. The dough will come together into a ball and thump around in there. If not, I add a bit more water, or flour if it seems too sticky. It kneads very quickly so you don’t need to let it thump in there for more than a minute. Rise once as usual, form loaf and rise the second time. I bake mine in my grandmother’s old aluminum pans for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Yes, remove from pan for better bottom crust and cool before slicing. Just found your blog so look forward to checking often. Thanks!

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Steph May 10, 2010 at 7:00 pm

I am going to try this recipe this weekend. I love this baking method. I’ve been thinking about downloading Ratios on my iPad.

The no-knead bread is on my list too.

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Liz June 17, 2010 at 9:21 am

HI,
Summer holidays are here and I’ve started making bread to try and help my picky eater who’s now 13! We’ve made it twice this week – he made rolls with chocolate chips in but last night hunger drove him to a sandwich snack and he gave in and tried the bread he’d half heartedly made with me and LOVED IT! contrary as ever. So I’m going to give your recipe a try and see how he likes that. I must admit I prefer the idea of weighing the ingredients rather than measuring by cup! thanks.

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Krista December 3, 2010 at 10:50 am

LOVE this recipe! Turns out absolutely perfect every time!! :)

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kristen August 23, 2011 at 5:45 pm

This recipe didnt even come CLOSE to working for me….. Bummed =(

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Fuji Mama (Rachael) August 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm

@kristen — Too bad! It’s such a great recipe of Ruhlman’s. What didn’t work?

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Phil R. November 9, 2011 at 4:02 pm

This isn’t my first time making bread and I’m on hour 3 and the dough isn’t rising at all. Am I crazy, or should there be sugar in this recipe?

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Fuji Mama (Rachael) November 12, 2011 at 5:01 pm

@Phil R. — I’m not sure what to tell you about your dough not rising. I know the yeast amount is correct! Are you sure your yeast is still good? Nope, sugar is not necessary. If you want to add some, you can!

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kristi November 28, 2011 at 4:52 pm

ummm,… isnt’ the liquid/flour ratio wayyyyy off? it’s way off.

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Fuji Mama (Rachael) November 28, 2011 at 5:04 pm

@kristi — No, this uses a 5 parts flour to 3 parts water ratio (see Michael Ruhlman’s post about it here: http://ruhlman.com/2009/12/making-sandwich-bread-with-the-53-ratio/), so the ratio is correct!

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Andreas June 20, 2012 at 6:08 pm

report!
ive been trying to make a soft and fluffy bread but none turns out right, i wonder where goes wrong. it usually turns out too hard than i want it, but at least they are edible XD. the recipe i use:
Ingred 1:
300 gr mixed flour (Hard and Soft flour)
5 gr active dry yeast

Ingred 2:
50 gr butter
2 yellow egg
1 white egg
50~ ml milk (i usually add a little more)
about 50 gr sugar (usually use powdered one)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Optional:
25 gr margarine (for kneading process if too sticky)

i can only make it with 300 gr flour because my oven is too small to fit it all at once. the hardest part is that i cant figure out when i have to take it out (dont have any thermometer). my small oven temperature only give out 100C 150C 200C 250C control knob.

i mix all Ingred 2 in a big bowl, mix the yeast in the flour, and then Ingred 1 into Ingred 2
then let it rise for 3 – 4 hours

im guessing to make it fluffy and soft, the dough needs to hold enough water. yet i always worried if i take it out too soon it will still lumpy inside. i dont have other parameter than the dough colour changing
i bake it at low temperature the first 10 mnts and 150C the last 10 mnts(i guess this is why it got hard and dry texture)

is there anyway to make it so fluffy and soft?

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Andreas June 20, 2012 at 6:12 pm

forget to add 25 gr whip cream powder into Ingred 2

and lately i dont let it rise for 4 hours, 3 hours the longest, usually 2 hours because i use the first 10 mnts 100C to make it rise faster

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LUZEL January 15, 2014 at 5:44 pm

TEACH ME HOW TO COOL

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LUZEL January 15, 2014 at 5:46 pm

teach me how to cook

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