There’s just something special about a loaf of warm, freshly baked bread… The way the whole house smells as it’s baking in the oven, and the first soft bite of a tender, chewy loaf. It’s like you cooked up the feeling of home in a loaf pan. We don’t think there’s anything that beats a homemade loaf of bread and this basic white sandwich bread sure brings a little extra something special to school lunches.
This recipe uses a special starter called Amish Friendship Bread Starter, which is a kind of sweet sourdough. It lends a sweet quality to this bread with just a hint of sourdough tang. It’s a versatile bread, a bit sweeter than your average white bread, that’s light and soft and very hard to resist. We love a slice fresh out of the oven with some salted butter as much as anything but it’s also a fantastic base for your favorite sandwich.
If you don’t have an Amish Friendship Bread Starter, you can find the steps to the process here. You make it by mixing together some flour, milk, sugar, and yeast and leaving it at room temperature to ferment over the course of ten days. It does take a bit, but the process involves little more than occasionally feeding the starter with more milk, sugar, and flour, and mixing it up every once in a while. On the tenth day, you divide the starter up into one cup portions to give to friends. It’s a wonderful base for all kinds of breads and other baked goods as well as a lovely gift to pass from friend to friend.
This bread is one of our favorite ways to use our Amish Friendship Bread starter. With just a little bit of kneading and a little time set aside for the dough to rise, you’ll have a fluffy, delicious bread that the whole family will love. And your whole house will smell like a bakery!
4 hours to prepare serves 6-8
- 2 1/2- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup starter
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
- Add the warm water to a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the top. Set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine starter, warm milk, salt, oil, and 2 cups of the flour and stir until well incorporated. Once foamy, add the yeast mixture and stir until well combined.
- Add remaining flour gradually until a soft dough forms that pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Remove dough to a floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and springy, about 5-7 minutes. Add more flour as needed.
- Grease a large bowl and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place, allowing the dough to rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
- Once risen, gently punch down the dough and again remove it to a floured surface. Shape into a rectangle and fold 1/3 of the dough (short end) towards the center, gently pressing the seam in with your hand. Fold the other 1/3 of the dough towards the center, pressing seam in again.
- Fold the dough in half lengthwise, lightly pressing edges together to seal the seam, before gently tucking each end of the dough under and sealing the ends.
- Move dough to prepared pan and gently press to make sure it spreads evenly across the pan. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise until it is just above the rim of the pan, about 30-45 minutes. (It will collapse if it rises more than 1” higher than the edge.)
- Discard plastic wrap and bake until bread is a light golden brown, about 35-40 minutes.
- Remove to a wire rack and let cool at least 30 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
Adapted from The Friendship Bread Kitchen.