Julia Child’s White Sandwich Bread

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Today I baked bread. It wasn’t planned, I just did. My inspiration? Not wanting to go out to the store. After 2 weeks of the plague, this being the third weekend, I’m the only one the flu is still clinging to. And with very little voice and a sore throat, I wasn’t in the mood to brave Sunday shoppers, or even take off my PJ pants to run to the bakery. But I really wanted bread. White bread. Good white bread. Anything grainy seemed too ambitious to chew, swallow and digest. I was berating myself for not stirring up a batch of no-knead bread yesterday, but flinched at the thought of its thick, crusty exterior anyway. And then it occurred to me while making coffee – If I’m going to be around the house all day, why not just stir up some old-fashioned white bread dough? Like people used to do when corner stores weren’t open 24 hours a day?

More importantly, it occurred to me that W will never ever remember one of us running to the store to pick up a bag of bread. But he will remember coming home from the dog park to a house filled with the smell of baking bread on a Sunday afternoon. There really is no comfort like it.

This loaf? Nailed it on the first try. It seems wordy at first, but is the sort of thing you can make once, and then every other time after that it could not be simpler. I can imagine easily scattering it with cinnamon or cheese before folding and tucking it into the loaf pans. (They’re just 4″x8″ pans, available anywhere that sells baking pans – and often at garage sales or Value Village for about a dollar.) If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at a traditional loaf – give this one a go. I plopped everything in my stand mixer and let the dough hook do the work, then brought it out and kneaded it myself a few times, just for good measure, and because it felt so nice and smooth. If you do this, don’t flour the countertop – it should be nice and tacky, but won’t stick to the counter. Promise. Some people dump on the flour for extra insurance, but then your dough absorbs too much and can be heavy and dry. All these measurements were perfect. The resulting loaf has a divine crumb and golden, soft crust. Perfect for kids, or grown-ups with sore throats.

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Also? It means we have bread for the week. (Or the next few days, anyway.) Homemade bread that’s perfect for sandwiches and toast in the morning.

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Your yeast should get foamy – if it doesn’t, toss it.

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Mix in half the flour. Just like making paper mache paste.

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Then add the rest of the flour and the salt – it needs a buffer so it doesn’t kill the yeast.

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Add some soft butter too. It’ll look shaggy.

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Then cellulite-y. It needs to be nice and smooth. Don’t worry about it being sticky at this point – you want it to be tacky.

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Let the dough hook – or your hands – go until it’s smooth and elastic. Knead it a few times on the countertop if you did it in the mixer – and don’t add any more flour (unless it’s really too wet).

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Put the ball of dough back in the bowl (no need to wash it out and oil it – in fact I find the dough harder to work with when it’s all oily) and cover with a tea towel.

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Walk away. Forget about it for an hour or so.

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Divide the dough in half and pat each piece into a rectangle a bit bigger than a standard piece of paper. No need to be exact here.

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Fold it in thirds like a letter, then place seam-side down in the pan, tucking in the ends. Not sure why Julia does it this way, but I can’t argue with the shape of that loaf.

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Cover with the tea towel again and leave for another hour or so.

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And then bake. Really, it’s not a whole lot of effort, all told. Especially for the reward of two beautiful, freshly baked loaves, that probably cost under a dollar to make.

This may just be my new Sunday thang.

Julia Child’s White Sandwich Bread

2 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
6-6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter, softened

Pour 1/2 cup of the water into a bowl (preferably that of a stand mixer) and stir in the yeast and sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes, unit foamy. (If the yeast doesn’t do anything, toss it out and buy fresh yeast.)

Add the rest of the water and about half of the flour. Stir until well blended. Add the rest of the flour, the salt and butter and stir with the dough hook (or by hand) until well combined and shaggy. Continue to knead (I let the dough hook go for about 8 minutes, poking it down once in awhile) until it’s smooth and elastic. You could do this by hand, too. If you used the dough hook, turn the dough out onto the countertop and knead a few times to make sure it’s evenly smooth. Doesn’t it feel great?

Shape it into a ball and put it back into the bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let it sit for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, until it’s doubled in size.

Butter two 4″x8″ loaf pans. Punch the dough down (love that part!) and pat each piece into a rectangle that’s about 9″x12″ – or a bit bigger than a standard piece of paper.

Starting at a short end, fold it in thirds, like a letter. Place seam side down in the loaf pans, tucking the ends in. Cover with the tea towel again and leave them for an hour, until they puff right up out of the pan.

Preheat the oven to 375°F and put the rack in the middle of the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the loaves are honey brown. Immediately turn the loaves out of their pans and onto a rack to cool.

Makes 2 loaves.

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March 04 2012 09:19 pm | bread

69 Responses to “Julia Child’s White Sandwich Bread”

  1. voula martin on 04 Mar 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    As I read this,drooling, I wonder why store bought white bread is the nutritional devil but homemade white bread is angelic… And then I decided who cares and got up to make some ;). Thanks for the inspiration, as always, and feel better soon!

  2. suchalab on 04 Mar 2012 at 10:54 pm #

    Oh my goodness, this looks so good I can smell it! Worth a try for sure.

  3. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite. on 05 Mar 2012 at 4:26 am #

    I made this for Tuesdays with Dorie last month and was stunned that I managed it on my first go. Normally yearted breads and I do not get along at all. Hope the lurgy leaves your house once and for all SOON. Hugs xo

  4. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite. on 05 Mar 2012 at 4:26 am #

    Gah. That would be YEASTED breads. Clearly not enough coffee going on over here!

  5. Jennifer @ Loving Bytes on 05 Mar 2012 at 7:50 am #

    I’m going to make this right now. My son had the flu all weekend and I’m bracing myself for the fact that it might cycle through our family of 5! Will be good to have some fresh bread either way!

  6. Kelly on 05 Mar 2012 at 8:38 am #

    I LOVE making homemade bread, but have yet to find “the” recipe worth making more than once. I will give this a try today.
    Thanks!!

  7. Suzy on 05 Mar 2012 at 9:39 am #

    This is my favorite white bread recipe…so simple and yet so delicious!

  8. Gemma on 05 Mar 2012 at 11:25 am #

    I am going to make this today. My kids are going to love me when they come home from school to warm, homemade bread dripping with honey!

  9. Jacqueline on 05 Mar 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    Those loaves are so lovely, I wish I had a “scratch and sniff” computer screen! You’ve convinced me that I can do this, will give it a go later. Thanks Julie and hope you feel better soon!

  10. Barb on 05 Mar 2012 at 6:19 pm #

    I can smell the bread, too! Glad you’re feeling better.

  11. Elizabeth on 05 Mar 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    Oh, how I wish I could eat that bread (no gluten allowed)…….

  12. Lisa on 05 Mar 2012 at 7:15 pm #

    That looks lovely! One of my favourite quotes about making bread comes from Elizabeth David (in my case, via a 1977 Bernard Clayton book called “The Big Book of Breads”, which my mother owns, and I found for $2 at a Servant Anonymous book sale – score!)

    “This is basic guidance to those who have already reached the conclusion that it is pretty ludicrous to spend three days planning menus to include shrimp-filled avocados, filet of beef in puff pastry, and no end of palaver over the grinding and percolation of coffee, if they cannot offer their guests a decent piece of bread.”

    I love the retro-ness of the menu, but the solidity of the advice about a decent piece of bread.

  13. Melissa on 06 Mar 2012 at 5:11 am #

    That looks similar to the America’s Test Kitchen version, which I love but haven’t made since I started teaching this year. Do you have any tips on how to keep it fresh? With just 2 of us in the house, it’s hard to finish and seems like such a waste to throw away a stale half-loaf.

  14. Ruth on 06 Mar 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    Melissa, I love slicing homemade bread (once it has cooled) and then freezing it. Then I steal a few slices at a time for toast or sandwiches. Otherwise the bread gets stale by the time our two person household gets them eaten!

  15. JulieVR on 06 Mar 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    Melissa and Ruth – I was going to say the same! Bread freezes beautifully – and it’s easy to grab a slice if you slice it beforehand.

  16. Ashley on 06 Mar 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    This looks amazing!

  17. Amy on 06 Mar 2012 at 9:04 pm #

    Looks like something I must make! Do you think it would work to sub the white flour with whole wheat flour? Hope you feel better soon!

  18. Katie on 06 Mar 2012 at 11:28 pm #

    Your loaves look so beautiful! I’ve got this bookmarked to try.

  19. Laurie from Burnaby on 07 Mar 2012 at 11:56 am #

    I slice up the whole loaf while it’s fresh and freeze two slices at a time. I take it out a few minutes before I need it and let it thaw. Really fresh bread for a long time.

  20. Char on 11 Mar 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    My 2 loaves are in the oven right now – minutes from finished. I did one with Chinese 5-spice powder (ran out of cinnamon) & dried cranberries – smells delicious so far. Thanks for posting the recipe – I love baking bread but need the inspiration to remind me to do it.

  21. 17: Bake Bread « Daisy Sewing on 11 Mar 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    [...] made this recipe from the blog Dinner With Julie. Actually, I made it twice because at first I was worried [...]

  22. Rebekah on 13 Mar 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    My roommates and I are enjoying this with jam right now. It turned out great!

  23. moorni on 15 Mar 2012 at 9:42 am #

    really good recipe and easy! I made it last week and used it for sandwiches all last week with the kids. they loved it. I also substituted a few cups of regular flour with whole wheat and it still turned out great. Thanks for the recipe!

  24. Courtney on 18 Mar 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    Made this this morning, and it turned out beautifully! I have a question for you Julie – we’re not big white bread eaters in my house ( although I am pretty sure this loaf will disappear pretty quickly!). I would like to try this recipe with WW flour – are there any adjustments I should make? Thanks!

  25. Sosae Caetano — new bread on 19 Mar 2012 at 2:16 am #

    [...] was so motivated by the first bread I ever baked, that I tried a new recipe today: Julia Child’s White Sandwich Bread. Oh. Wow. It is so yummy. In fact, my mouth, my tummy, and my soul are [...]

  26. Melanie on 24 Mar 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    Okay, so I have never baked bread before. Which is surprising if you know who my mom is. I forgot the salt, and I now know that my stand mixer is a piece of crap with a bowl that is too small and not enough power! Considering the not perfect conditions, it still turned out great! I will definitely make it again, and I think next time I may add some herbs to the flower to give it a little more flavour. It seems like a pretty forgiving recipe.
    Thanks so much for sharing, and for the photos so I knew I was not crazy when the bread looked shaggy. :)

  27. Yellow Suitcase Studio on 04 Apr 2012 at 7:14 am #

    Thanks for sharing! I made this yesterday and shared it on my blog!

    http://yellowsuitcasestudio.blogspot.com/2012/04/julia-childs-white-sandwich.html

  28. Sosae Caetano — sunday morning on 15 Apr 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    [...] like it right out of the oven, sliced thick and smeared with butter. (Please try this recipe – you will love [...]

  29. Vicky on 20 Apr 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    I was looking for some nice bread to go with Jamie Oliver’s Lamb shoulder with rosemary and garlic… this is it. Looks easy to make and delicious. One loaf is going straight to the freezer though.
    Thank you for sharing!

  30. Mom:tel on 14 Aug 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    It’s in the oven!!! Smells so good, can’t wait to try for dinner and make sandwiches for my girls’ lunches in the a.m.

  31. jennifer on 14 Aug 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    I DID IT!! of the dozens of terrible loaves I have made, this was the first time it ever came out EXACTLY as I wished. Thin crust. Tender crumb! Soft, with small holes. OMG i’m so happy!! *kiss* *kiss* *kiss*

    jen

  32. Khushboo @ Two Megapixel Food on 25 Aug 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    This bread looks amazing! I’ve never really had success with bread, but I’m sure Julia’s recipe will come to my rescue.

  33. Anonymous on 04 Nov 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    Thank you so very much for your blog post! I have been making this bread for my family for about 6 months now and follow your instructions to the letter. It always turns out perfect :) I’m fixing to put two loaves into the oven right now, as a matter of fact. Isn’t it funny how one loaf is always a little taller than the other? I find that the short one is usually the one I pat out first… strange but yummy, so who cares!?! I’m so glad you put step-by-step photographs in your post. That made me very confident from the start.

  34. Dixie Diva on 31 Dec 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    I’m not sure how I ended up at your food blog, but I’m glad I did. After an earlier homemade bagel baking disaster this week, I felt so triumphant after baking these gorgeous loaves from the posted recipe. My out-of-town guests devoured the bread! HAPPY NEW YEAR! Thank you!

  35. Soft White Sandwich Bread | becoming pigzilla on 05 Mar 2013 at 5:50 pm #

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  36. AMURICAN WOMAN! MAMA, BAKE FOR ME-EEE | Ali & Bread on 20 Mar 2013 at 8:29 pm #

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  37. Jennifer on 27 May 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    I have been making this bread for a few weeks now. My husband and I have decided that we’ll never by store bread again. I was telling my sister about it and she would like to make it also. She leaves in Colorado (I live in West Virginia) what would she need to do differently for this bread to turn out? Thank you

  38. phil on 09 Jun 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    I just purchased three cast iron loaf pans and made this recipe. I have been trying for a couple years to make good bread. This turned out perfect on the first try. It gave me such a confidence boost that I made honey wheat by the same method and it came out perfect too. I started with about 2 cups of wheat flour then added whole flour until that sticky stiff ball formed. 4 tablespoons of honey, salt, butter and a bit more flour made the same smooth ball of dough. I let the rising go 1:20 each to assure a fully risen loaf. So tasty and light with the normal 30 minute bake time.

    thanks to you and Julia, I am finally making incredible bread.

  39. Julie on 09 Jun 2013 at 6:55 pm #

    Phil – you totally just made my day. Thank you! I’m so glad you tried it and loved it – and I’m going to make a honey whole wheat batch tomorrow!

  40. click through the next document on 23 Jun 2013 at 11:49 pm #

    Couldn’t have put it much better myself

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  42. Lunalee on 07 Aug 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    I am always looking for the best white bread recipe and this is one of the best. My daughters are picky when it comes to bread.on this recipe i dont hear ” remove the crust mommy!!!!

  43. sleepy's chicago on 09 Aug 2013 at 5:10 am #

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  44. Jada from Victoria, Canada on 27 Aug 2013 at 10:53 pm #

    I made this bread yesterday for nearly the same reason as you: I didn’t want to go to the store. I sent it off with my husband for his lunch today and got a text message saying “you’re never allowed to buy bread again. This is delicious!” I’ve never been succcessful at baking bread, even in culinary school with all the direction of my instructors, but this turned out beautifully. Thank you so so SO much for this recipe! It is by far the best and easiest I’ve come across on the internet and in any book!

  45. ginny on 02 Oct 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    This was the most delicious bread I’ve ever ever ever ever ever ever evvvv-verrrrrr made. After about a year of trying to find my bread-baking mojo, I think this recipe did it. I hope my body can survive on this one food for the next several months. All other food seems like a waste of time now ;)

  46. jess on 24 Oct 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    Fantastic bread! I didn’t like how big the loaves turned out though, so I make this into 3 loaves. Hint: I use a meat slicer to cut the slices! Works like a charm!

  47. Danielle on 30 Oct 2013 at 11:29 am #

    Making this now as we speak, and so far so good :). Cannot wait for the finished product as this is my first time making bread. Yeast and I have our struggles. Thanks for the amazingly simple recipe sharing!

  48. Katie on 02 Nov 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    This recipe look delicious. Can you substitute the all purpose flour with a gluten free flour mix?

  49. Ash on 11 Nov 2013 at 12:14 am #

    What a great recipe! My partner and daughter are currently buttering up a slice of this and it’s just devine. Thank you so much. How would this recipe go if you used half bread flour half plain flour?

  50. Kayte on 12 Nov 2013 at 8:31 pm #

    Just tried it tonight. First time bread baker and the result is amazing. I am inspired!!

  51. Anonymous on 16 Jan 2014 at 10:37 am #

    Lovely recipe, and it worked first time! thank you for sharing

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  53. Sarah on 16 Feb 2014 at 1:21 pm #

    For some reasons when my bread rises it does not achieve a rounded top. It does rise out of the pan nicely but the top is flat. any ideas/help. It tastes delish and is our go to recipe.

  54. Creamy Rice Pudding (and Frozen Rice Pudding) » Dinner With Julie on 02 Mar 2014 at 3:55 pm #

    […] weekend – fortunately there was milk and cream and rice and coffee, and I know how to bake bread. We did not […]

  55. Keisha on 07 Mar 2014 at 6:13 pm #

    Can we freeze the other half of the dough?

  56. Martha on 08 Mar 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    made this but before I put the bread in the pans I added cinnamon mixed with sugar into the dough as I folded it and then mixed raisins into it. Wonderful cinnamon raisin swurl bread.

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  59. Erin on 22 Mar 2014 at 7:42 pm #

    I just popped mine out of oven and I am waiting on it to cool. They look great and cant wait to slice them up.

  60. Patricia on 04 May 2014 at 11:53 am #

    My bread is rising at the moment. I’ve been trying to find a good bread recipe for months and have had no luck so I’m really hoping this one is going to be good. I will keep you posted.

  61. Patricia on 04 May 2014 at 2:32 pm #

    Well, I have just had a couple of slices of the bread I just took out of the oven and it is delicious. It makes 2 large loaves of very light and airy bread. This is the only bread recipe I will be using from now on.

  62. Julie on 04 May 2014 at 7:33 pm #

    So glad to hear it Patricia! I just baked a couple loaves today too!

  63. Aiesha on 18 May 2014 at 7:19 am #

    Hi Julie. I love your recipe and want to try it. But one loaf is more than enough for me. Shall I just cut the recipe in half? Thanks in advance. Can’t wait to try the bread.

  64. Samantha on 18 May 2014 at 2:59 pm #

    I tried making my very first loaf of bread using your recipe, it turned out fantastic! Thank you for sharing!

  65. Julie on 21 May 2014 at 10:19 pm #

    Aiesha – yes, it should work fine that way. Otherwise just freeze the other loaf for later!

  66. Diane on 23 May 2014 at 10:25 am #

    I am in the middle of making this bread for the direst time, but I am using Robin Hoods Best for Bread multigrain flour, we don’t eat white bread in this house, I was going to use half whole wheat and half white but found the multigrain flour – keeping my fingers crossed. So far so good!

  67. John DeVries on 27 May 2014 at 3:33 am #

    I like cooking, have invented numerous different meals and friends say I am a good cook. However, I have never, ever had any success with bread. Oh its tasty and acceptable but nothing to write home about.

    And then I happened across this recipe. First time I produced magnificent bread. Wonderful shape, wonderful taste and when eaten hot with butter and mature Cheddar cheese it compares to any meal you could wish for.

    What I don´t understand is why the other recipes I have used failed so abysmally.

  68. Sandy on 09 Jun 2014 at 8:21 pm #

    My son and I have been trying to find great bread recipes and attempting to master them . We have an excellent cinnamon bun recipe but couldn’t find a great bread recipe! Well problem solved! This is THE one. Simple to make excellent results.

  69. BreadMaker on 28 Jun 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    Omg! I haven’t even put the bread in the oven and I am in love with this recipe! The dough actually rises!!! :P I can’t wait till it’s all baked and ready to scarf down!!

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