I’m really intrigued by American sandwich loaves. For me, sandwich loaves are a home baker’s friend. Less temperamental with measurements than their rustic lean dough counter parts, sandwich loaves can usually be assembled and baked in the same day. So it’s perfect for the impulsive baker.
Local bakeries have a good amount of rustic breads readily available, like a sour boule or French baguette. But hearty sandwich loaves filled with nutritious grains are a bit harder to come by.
The sandwich loaves I typically come across are the industrial baked varieties, which as UK Bread Matters advocate Andrew Whitley so aptly describes as taking the freshness out of bread making, by engaging in “baking botox,” to create an additive-dependent bread that provides a soft cloying texture that remains unchanged day after depressing day.
I hear that.
So this pretty little ditty of a recipe has become part of my sandwich loaves memoirs; a home baker’s quest for the perfect loaf.
Buttermilk adds magic to almost anything it touches. The majority of liquids in this recipe come from tangy low-fat buttermilk. The scent of buttermilk baking is delightful; you will not be sorry. But if you prefer a non-dairy bread, you can replace the buttermilk for water, though it will not be quite as moist.
The grits add a pleasant crunch to the crumb and the hint of molasses gives a mildly sweet taste with a pop of color.
This bread only needs two rising, a “double in bulk” rise in a clean, greased and covered bowl, followed by a dividing and shaping rise before placing in the oven. It’s a quickie.
Once proofed, pop them into the oven and behold the glory that awaits you below:
1 cup Albers quick cook corn grits
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1-1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon rapid rise yeast
2 teaspoons molasses
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6-7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Combine the grits and 1-1/2 cup buttermilk in saucepan, bring to a soft boil and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Allow to cool to luke warm (under 120 degrees).
Grease two 8×4 loaf pans
Add the 1-1/2 cups buttermilk, molasses, yeast, olive oil, grits and salt, followed by 4 cups of flour and stir. Slowly add the remaining flour until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
Turn the dough out on a lightly floured board and knead until it feels smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes.
Place dough in a greased bowl and let double in size.
Deflate dough and divide into two equal parts, shape and place in the greased pans. Cover with a clean plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until double in bulk.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until internal bread temperature registers 185 degrees or greater.
Freeze other loaf for up to 1 month in freezer.