Three rises give this basic sandwich-style bread a delicate crumb and a soft texture.
1 teaspoon sugar
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/4 cups warm water (100° to 110°), divided
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
How to Make It
Dissolve sugar and yeast in 1/4 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Add 1 cup warm water, flour, and salt to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface. Knead dough until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes).
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)
Uncover dough, and punch dough down. Cover and let rise 30 minutes. Uncover dough; punch dough down. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Roll into a 14 x 7-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Roll up tightly, starting with a short edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam and ends to seal. Place roll, seam side down, in an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 425°.
Uncover dough; gently brush with egg. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° (do not remove bread from oven); bake an additional 15 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.
An egg wash creates a glossy top crust on the baked bread, but be gentle when brushing the egg on the dough so as not to deflate the loaf.