I have to ask this question as I really tried hard to achieve a soft crust for sandwich bread but couldn't succeed. I have tried lots of techniques and different recipes but I really couldn't make a bread having a very soft crust that we get in supermarkets. And many recipes say to bake the sandwich bread at 200 degrees C and many other say 180 degrees C, but what is the ideal temperature to bake a sandwich bread with really soft crust? I know that crusty bread is good but many people, especially children don't like to have a crusty sandwich bread!
Use a Pullman loaf pan (aka Pain de Mie pan). You'll also get a square loaf great for sandwiches. Grilled cheese, anyone?
The lid inhibits a "crusty" crust on all sides, just like a regular loaf pan does on all sides but the top.
I use my 9" Pullman all the time. These are my two favorite, foolproof Pain de Mie recipes.
I don't know that it's always the right temperature for soft crusts, but for those loaves, I always use 350F (175C).
The ideal temperature is going to vary depending on your specific formula, the size of your loaves, and so on, so I cannot comment on that.
To encourage a soft crust:
- Use a formula that is enriched with milk or butter for a softer crumb, as well as a softer crust
- Use a loaf pan, as only the top crust will get the extra development from being exposed directly to the air of the oven, which allows it to more easily dry out
- Don't use steam in the oven to encourage crust development
- Don't brush the top of the loaf before baking with anything or brush with milk or cream
- Do brush the top of the loaf after baking with melted butter
I've had the best success getting a soft crust by setting the bread on a cooling rack, spreading a little margarine (I just use the end of a stick rubbed into the bread), and then draping a damp cheesecloth over the bread while it cools. Then I slice and bag the bread - works quite well and we are in high, dry Colorado!
I put a dry towel over my loaves as soon as I take them out of the oven and remove them from the pan (I put them on a cooling rack). Leave the towel on the loaves for a minimum of 10 minutes. This works well for me, even on the odd times when I over bake the loaf.
In my experience covering loaves with a dry (never tried wet) cloth while they cool results in a soft crust. I never glaze the loaves either pre or post baking.