Something possibly strange about me is that when I learned to make bread, I first learned how to make beautifully light loaves of 100% whole wheat bread. (Thanks to Bruce and Carla Crane, the owners of our store.) A basic white sandwich bread was my downfall. It seems that it’s usually the other way around. But either way, sometimes I just want white bread. And since I’ve had several requests from our customers for some instruction on a good white loaf, I decided that there’s no time like the present to do that.
Oh, but remember that white bread was my downfall? Every time I made white bread, it would end up dense and kind of flat. It was great for French toast, but not much else. Not sure I should be the one to tell people how to make good white bread. So about 3 months ago, I went on a search for a great recipe for white sandwich bread and tried to figure out why mine always ended up so dense.
I tested, failed, tested some more, succeeded, tested some more, failed, and tested some more. I did finally succeed and I’m now able to duplicate the same perfect loaf every time.
Here’s what I learned:
- White bread needs to be kneaded for 8-10 minutes. When I make whole wheat bread, I knead it for about half that time. So, when I made white bread, I figured I’d knead it for the same amount of time. White flour needs more time for the gluten to develop fully.
- White bread needs more flour in the dough than whole wheat bread. The dough needs to be stiffer. If it’s too sticky, it will spill over the sides of the bread pan a little when it’s baking. That doesn’t make for a very pretty loaf.
- Definitely always add dough enhancer. This is huge. Dough enhancer helps to create a more even crumb texture and it helps add a little more elasticity and softness to the bread.