Well I think we may have discovered our new favorite sandwich bread!! We make bread fairly frequently and I try out new recipes or adapt them almost every time. We've enjoyed the American Sandwich Bread by Cook's Illustrated (from The New Best Recipe) but the Buttermilk Variation brought the loaf to amazing levels!!
*side note - I love this cook book. It doesn't have any pictures but it has all of your basic recipes with extremely detailed directions, and you can almost 100% guarantee that it will, not only turn out, but be good. It's pretty much my go-to cookbook for the basics. And if you enjoy reading about the science behind all their testing and decisions you can - I love this stuff.*
Here's the Buttermilk Version (shortened to the basics):
3 3/4c unbleached all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1 c buttermilk (original calls for warm whole milk - 110 degrees)
1/3 c hot boiling water (original calls for warm water - 110 degrees)
2 T unsalted butter melted
3 T honey (I've used brown sugar too with great results)
1 envelope instant yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1. Mix 3 1/2 c flour and salt in standing mixer fitted with dough hook
2. Mix the milk, water, butter, honey, and yeast in a 4 cup liquid measuring cup
3. Turn the machine to low and add the liquid mix. When it comes together turn up the speed and mix until the dough is smooth and satiny - adding the last 1/4 c of flour a little at a time as needed.
4. Knead for probably 7-10min
5. Form a round ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled - about 1 hr.
6. Form dough into a loaf and press, seam side down, into a 9x5 bread ban. (mine aren't quite that size and it still works)
7. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise till doubled - 20-30 min
8. Heat oven to 350. Place an empty baking pan on the bottom rack. Boil 2 cups water. Pour water into the baking pan. Place loaf on center rack and bake 40-50min. Inside loaf temp of 195 degrees. (I've found with convection this only takes around 30-35min).