Bread is one of those avenues in pastry that’s easy to dabble in and difficult to master. There are very simple, black-and-white rules about making bread, but the reality lurks in the grey areas where slight changes in humidity or temperature can create different results. Much like their culinary counterparts, bread bakers are working with living proteins that have their own identities and attitudes. Nonetheless, everyone needs a great recipe for sandwich bread. I like the straightforward, chewy nature of this recipe, and the added cornmeal gives it some extra texture and flavor.
- 24 ounces bread flour
- 2 ounces cornmeal or semolina optional
- 16 ounces mineral water
- .75 ounces instant yeast
- 2 ounces sugar
- 2 ounces good quality olive oil
- .75 ounces sea salt
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, either in a mixer or by hand, and mix slowly for several minutes or until complete hydration of the flours.
Mix at medium speed for 6 minutes to achieve the desired gluten activity.
Allow dough to rest 15 minutes, then portion as desired and round into smooth little dough balls. Refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours; overnight is best.
When ready to use the dough, shape as needed and allow to proof fully at room temperature. Test the bread by gently poking it with your finger. If the indentation remains, your bread is ready to bake.
Make a shallow cut in the bread and bake at 425F until desired color is achieved and bread sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped.
Allow to cool fully before use.
After shaping the dough balls, these can be refrigerated for up to a week to continue developing flavor.
4 ounces is an ideal weight of dough for sandwich rolls; 2 ounces for bread sticks.
To make this bread softer, brush with oil, flavored oil, or clarified butter once you remove it and allow it to cool.