Simple Sandwich Loaf
- 1 1/4 cups whole or 2-percent milk, or more as needed
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for shaping the dough
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 packet instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the pan
- Heat the milk in the microwave or in a pot on the stove until it reaches 100 F; it will be hotter than lukewarm.
- Put the 3 1/2 cups flour, salt, yeast, and sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
- With the machine running, add 2 tablespoons of the oil and the milk through the feed tube and process until the dough is a well-defined, barely sticky, easy-to-handle ball, 30 seconds.
- If it is too dry, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time and process for 5 or 10 seconds after each addition.
- If it is too wet, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time and process for another 5 to 10 seconds.
- Grease a bowl with 1 tablespoon oil.
- Shape the dough into a rough ball, put it in the bowl, turn it over once, and cover with plastic wrap.
- Let rest at room temperature until the dough has nearly doubled in size, 2 hours or more.
- Punch down the dough to deflate it and shape it into a ball again.
- Dust your work surface with 1/4 cup flour, put the dough on the work surface, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Grease a loaf pan with enough oil to coat the bottom and sides.
- Flatten the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle, then fold the long sides of the rectangle into the middle.
- Pinch the seam closed and transfer the loaf to the pan, seam side down.
- Flatten the top of the loaf with the back of your hand to press the loaf firmly into the pan.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until the top of the dough is nearly level with the top of the pan, 1 hour.
- Heat the oven to 350 F.
- Brush the top of the loaf lightly with water, then put it in the oven.
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the loaf falls easily from the pan and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
- Remove the loaf from the pan and cool on a wire rack before slicing.