There are, of course many variations of the perfect sandwich loaf. Probably every bread-baking culture has its version. And probably a lot depends on the kind of sandwiches the people of the culture like to eat. So, for instance, Jewish sandwich bread, at least those breads from Eastern Europe, tend to be heavy on the rye flour, sometimes with caraway and always smothered with something like corned beef and onions. In France the perfect sandwich bread is a baguette-like roll called 'pain ordinaire', or ordinary bread. This is no ordinary bread, however. It is typically loaded up with a good hard, sharp cheese and washed down with strong coffee.
This bread is Italian in origin, at least from its herb content, but the style is definitely French. A hybrid of sorts. The original contained some coarsely ground black pepper, which I have omitted since I know my customers. Personally I like food with a little heat, but my house mates.... not so much. Anyway, this bread, because of the added herbs and spices is great for sharp cheeses, or pickled or cured meats (cold cuts, corned beef, sausage) and even crispy veggies. Or a combination. It has a fairly close crumb, which could be more open if you leave to rise a little longer. The crust is only a little chewy. But I actually like it the way it is, since the density helps hold the contents of the sandwich. Enjoy!!
Here's What You'll Need:
4 cups AP flour
3/8 cup uncooked corn meal (coarse - polenta)
2 tsp. granulated garlic
3 tsp. dried parsley
3 tsp. dried oregano
3/4 Tbs. yeast
2 tsp. salt
about 1 1/2 cups warm water
Here's What You'll Need To Do:
1. Mix all the dry ingredients, including the herbs and the yeast together and mix thoroughly.
2. Add the water mixing as you pour it to form a rough dough.
3. Knead this mixture on a lightly-floured tabletop for about 10 minutes until it becomes quite smooth. It will be a little tacky, but smooth, and not at all sticky. Adjust the flour and/or water as needed to get the right texture.
4. Place the kneaded dough into a lightly-oiled bowl, turn to coat, then cover and let it rise in a warm place until doubled. This will take 1 1/2 to 2 hours. You may stretch and fold the dough halfway through if desired to develop the gluten more fully.
5. Form into a loaf shape and place into a prepared loaf pan. Let the dough rise again until it is about 1 inch (2 1/2 cm) above the lip of the pan.
6. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F (175 C) for about 45 minutes. In a convection oven, bake at 300 F (150 C).
6. Cool on a rack.