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Old-Fashioned Sandwich Loaf

by . Featured in COOK EAT REPEAT
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Introduction

While the everyday bread on my table is generally Jim Lahey's round, crackle-crusted Basic No-Knead Bread or some variant thereof, there are times when I just want a slice of old-school, tender-crumbed bread, and this Old-Fashioned Sandwich Loaf exactly fits the bill. As its name suggests, it is perfect for sandwiches - be they bacon, sausage, egg, fish finger - and the bread I always use for my Fried Chicken Sandwich if a good burger bun is not to be found. It also just happens to make the most wonderful toast.

It is my reworking of Dan Lepard’s Sour Cream Sandwich Bread, only I use spoilt milk instead of sour cream, adding butter to make up the fat, but quantities are given for either version below. And should you need it to be vegan, simply replace the spoilt milk with plant-based yogurt and the butter with vegetable fat, and reduce the salt and sugar to 1 teaspoon each. Whichever way you make it, it is a triumph, and bafflingly easy: the most stringent demand on you, in the course of making it, is that you knead it 3 times for 10 seconds at 10-minute intervals. What are you waiting for?

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

While the everyday bread on my table is generally Jim Lahey's round, crackle-crusted Basic No-Knead Bread or some variant thereof, there are times when I just want a slice of old-school, tender-crumbed bread, and this Old-Fashioned Sandwich Loaf exactly fits the bill. As its name suggests, it is perfect for sandwiches - be they bacon, sausage, egg, fish finger - and the bread I always use for my Fried Chicken Sandwich if a good burger bun is not to be found. It also just happens to make the most wonderful toast.

It is my reworking of Dan Lepard’s Sour Cream Sandwich Bread, only I use spoilt milk instead of sour cream, adding butter to make up the fat, but quantities are given for either version below. And should you need it to be vegan, simply replace the spoilt milk with plant-based yogurt and the butter with vegetable fat, and reduce the salt and sugar to 1 teaspoon each. Whichever way you make it, it is a triumph, and bafflingly easy: the most stringent demand on you, in the course of making it, is that you knead it 3 times for 10 seconds at 10-minute intervals. What are you waiting for?

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Old-Fashioned Sandwich Loaf
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin

Ingredients

Makes: 1 beautiful loaf

Metric Cups
  • 500 grams strong white bread flour plus more for dusting
  • 2½ teaspoons (7g) or 1 x 7g/¼oz sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (12g) fine sea salt
  • 125 millilitres spoilt milk (or sour cream) straight from the fridge
  • 150 millilitres cold water
  • 100 millilitres hot water from a just-boiled kettle
  • 3 x 15ml tablespoons (45g) soft unsalted butter (omit if using sour cream, plus more for greasing tin)
  • vegetable oil for kneading
  • 4 cups (500g) strong white bread flour plus more for dusting
  • 2½ teaspoons (7g) or 1 x 7g/¼oz sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (12g) fine sea salt
  • ½ cup spoilt milk (or sour cream) straight from the fridge
  • ⅔ cup cold water
  • 7 tablespoons hot water from a just-boiled kettle
  • 3 tablespoons (45g) soft unsalted butter (omit if using sour cream, plus more for greasing tin)
  • vegetable oil for kneading

Method

  1. Mix the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Pour the spoilt milk (or sour cream) into a measuring jug, add the cold water (which will take you to the 275ml / 1½ cups mark) then the boiling water (and I’m presuming you don’t need me to say that it should now read 375ml). Stir the soft butter into the jug; it won’t melt entirely, but that’s fine.
  3. Pour the jug of wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, stirring as you go, either with a wooden spoon, a Danish dough whisk or – and these are my tools of choice here – hands. Stir until all the flour – apart from a little that’s clinging to the sides of the bowl – is absorbed into the dough; if this takes a minute I’d be surprised. Form into a rough ball, cover the bowl with food wrap or a shower cap, and leave for 10 minutes.
  4. Pour a little oil onto the kitchen counter and spread it with your hand to give a light sheen to an area big enough to knead on. Take the dough out of its bowl and duly knead it for 10 seconds. How you knead is very personal: we all have our different styles; I push the dough away with the heel of my hand and bring it back with my fingers. Form the dough back into a ball, return it to its bowl, cover it again, and leave for 10 minutes. Repeat this process twice, and after the third 10-second knead, form the dough into a ball again, put it back in the bowl, cover, and leave for an hour.
  5. Line the bottom of a 2lb/900g loaf tin and very lightly grease the sides; I use an old butter wrapper for this. Take the plumptiously risen dough out of its bowl, and pat it out on your oiled surface so that you have a soft, puffy mattress about 2cm thick, with one edge about 4cm shorter than the length of your tin. Starting with this edge, and using both hands, tightly roll the dough into a scroll – or swiss roll, if that helps you visualise it better – and tenderly place it seam side down in your prepared tin; you may have to press the short sides gently to fit it in, as the scroll can get longer as you roll. Leave to rise for 1–1½ hours, until it’s peeking out just above the top of the tin. Turn the oven on when it looks like it’s nearly there.
  6. So, heat the oven to 200℃/180℃ Fan/400°F. Dust the top of the dough with flour and bake for 45 minutes, by which time the bread will be risen, with a rounded and deep biscuity-gold top. Unless your oven is misfiring, it will definitely be done. Armed with oven gloves, quickly take the bread out of the tin, and place it on a wire rack to cool before slicing into it. To keep the loaf fresh for as long as possible, store in a bread bin. The next best method is to wrap it in a tea towel.
  1. Mix the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Pour the spoilt milk (or sour cream) into a measuring jug, add the cold water (which will take you to the 275ml / 1½ cups mark) then the boiling water (and I’m presuming you don’t need me to say that it should now read 375ml). Stir the soft butter into the jug; it won’t melt entirely, but that’s fine.
  3. Pour the jug of wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, stirring as you go, either with a wooden spoon, a Danish dough whisk or – and these are my tools of choice here – hands. Stir until all the flour – apart from a little that’s clinging to the sides of the bowl – is absorbed into the dough; if this takes a minute I’d be surprised. Form into a rough ball, cover the bowl with food wrap or a shower cap, and leave for 10 minutes.
  4. Pour a little oil onto the kitchen counter and spread it with your hand to give a light sheen to an area big enough to knead on. Take the dough out of its bowl and duly knead it for 10 seconds. How you knead is very personal: we all have our different styles; I push the dough away with the heel of my hand and bring it back with my fingers. Form the dough back into a ball, return it to its bowl, cover it again, and leave for 10 minutes. Repeat this process twice, and after the third 10-second knead, form the dough into a ball again, put it back in the bowl, cover, and leave for an hour.
  5. Line the bottom of a 2lb/900g loaf tin and very lightly grease the sides; I use an old butter wrapper for this. Take the plumptiously risen dough out of its bowl, and pat it out on your oiled surface so that you have a soft, puffy mattress about 2cm thick, with one edge about 4cm shorter than the length of your tin. Starting with this edge, and using both hands, tightly roll the dough into a scroll – or swiss roll, if that helps you visualise it better – and tenderly place it seam side down in your prepared tin; you may have to press the short sides gently to fit it in, as the scroll can get longer as you roll. Leave to rise for 1–1½ hours, until it’s peeking out just above the top of the tin. Turn the oven on when it looks like it’s nearly there.
  6. So, heat the oven to 200℃/180℃ Fan/400°F. Dust the top of the dough with flour and bake for 45 minutes, by which time the bread will be risen, with a rounded and deep biscuity-gold top. Unless your oven is misfiring, it will definitely be done. Armed with oven gloves, quickly take the bread out of the tin, and place it on a wire rack to cool before slicing into it. To keep the loaf fresh for as long as possible, store in a bread bin. The next best method is to wrap it in a tea towel.

Additional Information

STORE:
Store in airtight container or wrapped in clean tea towel in cool place for 4-5 days.

FREEZE:
Freeze loaf or slices in freezer bags, removing as much air as possible, for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature. Layer slices with baking parchment or food wrap if using individually. Slices can be toasted from frozen.

STORE:
Store in airtight container or wrapped in clean tea towel in cool place for 4-5 days.

FREEZE:
Freeze loaf or slices in freezer bags, removing as much air as possible, for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature. Layer slices with baking parchment or food wrap if using individually. Slices can be toasted from frozen.

Tell us what you think

What 24 Others have said

  • This recipe has never failed me and is so delicious! I tend to do it in my mixer with the dough hook and just leave it in there between kneads to save on mess and it still comes out beautifully. I usually use sour cream but I’m sure it would work with yoghurt, creme fraiche or buttermilk too.

    Posted by Katymcs on 24th January 2021
  • The Holy Grail of bread recipes. I’ve always struggled before to make a loaf that looks good and tastes good but this Old Fashioned Sandwich Loaf is the business. Works. Every. Time.

    Posted by Lewiscollins on 20th January 2021
  • SO delicious! What a winning recipe, will definitely keep using it. I had a larger loaf tin, so increased everything x 1.5 and it worked out perfectly. I also used milk with lemon juice added instead of the spoilt milk/sour cream. I wonder if Greek Yoghurt would also work? The dough rose very nicely and was super plump after each rise. Thanks Nigella!

    Posted by adr2017 on 20th January 2021
  • Easy to make and just as easy to eat! I didn’t have spoilt milk or sour cream, so I added a squeeze of lemon to the milk to increase acidity. It worked a treat.

    Posted by BunnyMayfair on 9th January 2021
  • This is one of the best bread recipes ive made, never fails works every time !!! I also find it quite quick, my bread always seems to rise within a hour climbing out the tin !! such good bread for toast as well. Thank you Nigella

    Posted by Rosiecooks22 on 1st January 2021
  • I have just made this and it is literally the best home made bread I've ever done. My other 'arf is a white bread fanatic and gives it a resounding thumbs up. I made mine with soured cream.

    Posted by GinnyC on 30th December 2020
  • This was utterly gorgeous! Well worth the impatient wait for the milk to go spoilt in the fridge. My loaf raised so beautifully that it reached the top of the oven, had to take it to a lower shelf half way through. All in all an absolute winner, in true Nigella style.

    Posted by The1Deniz on 29th December 2020
  • This recipe is just amazing. I also substituted some of the white flour for Granary and had a mixed loaf. I also did another batch but made rolls with it and they were scrummy. It was the best loaf I have baked so far. Thanks Nigella

    Posted by Lisajane179 on 29th December 2020
  • No need to look further. This is, hands down, the only white bread recipe you will ever need!

    Posted by joshv41680 on 10th December 2020
  • I had to swap my old recipe to this, as my clients prefer this version. Tried it after the program went out, and my God, it was very popular. Have to watch it though, as the second rise is much faster. A lovely, lovely loaf. Thank you!

    Posted by Moncsika on 1st December 2020
  • Made this today! It’s amazing, I have tried various bread and roll recipes over the past few months but this is THE BEST! Love your Cook, Eat, Repeat tv show. I didn’t have sour milk so added a splash of lemon juice to semi skimmed milk and it was perfect. Thank you Nigella x

    Posted by Levan on 30th November 2020
  • This is great bread, I have made it numerous times using sour cream. I have even added 100 grams of wholemeal flour add used 400 grams of white and it turns out beautifully, and makes me feel as if I am being more healthy.

    Posted by Jangale on 29th November 2020
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