Bread, Three-hour Sandwich Loaf

How to bake a loaf of sandwich bread in three hours


Whole Wheat Flour – 2 cups, light and loose
All Purpose Flour – 1/2 to 3/4 cup
Instant Yeast – 1 teaspoon
Milk – 1/2 cup
Margarine – 1 tablespoon
Salt – 1 teaspoon
Sugar – 1 tablespoon
Water – 3/4 cup


  1. Heat milk, margarine, salt, and sugar in a saucepan until the butter melts and the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Mix yeast and 1 cup of wheat flour in a medium-sized mixing bowl. If you keep your yeast in the freezer, give it time to warm to room temperature.
  3. Add water to milk and let liquid cool until it is no longer hot to the touch.
  4. Add liquid to flour and yeast and mix well with a spatula
  5. Add second cup of wheat flour and mix until smooth
  6. Add enough all-purpose flour to make the dough pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  7. Turn dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead for five minutes or until the dough feels smooth.
  8. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with a plate, and let it rise until it’s nearly double. This will take between 45 minutes and an hour, depending on the temperature. Don’t let it rise too quickly or for too long, or the yeast will exhaust itself.
  9. Grease a loaf pan.
  10. Push the air out of the risen dough, remove from bowl onto a lightly-floured surface, and shape into a loaf by folding it over four times, then rolling the long sides towards each other to form a roll. Work slowly so that the top side, the side on the counter, keeps enough surface tension to remain smooth. Don’t worry if you can’t maintain perfect surface tension, because the bread will turn out fine without it.
  11. Cover with waxed paper and let rise 30 minutes, or until the dough is halfway up the sides of the pan before turning on the oven to 350°.
  12. When the dough has risen about half an inch above the pan, and the oven is hot, remove the wax paper, cut a shallow slice into the center along the length of the dough, and place on the middle rack in the oven.



The yeast is warming in the bowl while you heat the milk, margarine, sugar, and salt.



Kneaded dough in the bowl, ready for its first rise. When you measure your flour, fluff it up in the container and pull out one cup at a time. You can shake off the excess or use a knife to scrape it off. I keep measuring cups in the flour bins. For the record, I’m baking with Lindley Mills’ Super Sprout Wheat and All Purpose Flour.


One hour later, the dough has risen. In this case, it has over-risen, but the bread turned out alright anyway. I should have checked it at 45 minutes. Bread baking is a very forgiving process. Knock out as much air as possible while the dough is still in the bowl before you begin shaping.




The folds: from top to bottom and from left to right.


From bottom to top, and right to left – you now have a square.


Pull the dough into a roll with the smooth side down. Work it until it is as long as the pan, stretching gently to keep as much surface tension as possible on the smooth side. This is super tricky. I find myself compromising between getting all the air out of the dough and not losing control of the surface tension.




Place the dough, smooth side up, into a greased loaf pan and cover with wax paper or a kitchen towel.


Fully risen and ready to go in the oven. But first, take a serrated knife and score the top down the middle.




All baked, but won’t come out of the pan. Not to worry, wait 10 minutes, try again and the bread should pop right out. If you don’t have a cooling rack, you can set the hot loaf on a small pan or bowl — anything that will let air circulate underneath the loaf.


Slice after the loaf has completely cooled. You can see by the holes at the top of the slices that I didn’t get all of the air out of the dough, but I did get a pretty smooth top crust. I’m willing to live with the compromise. This is good sandwich bread made with a minimum of fuss.