Whole Wheat Bread

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

I’ve been making sandwich bread lately, and I think I’ve finally got at least one recipe that’s worth sharing. I’ve also learned a bit about making sandwich loaves. There’s a good tutorial on YouTube from King Arthur Flour that goes through the steps of making a white bread loaf:

Note: I’ve been using that recipe (halved for one loaf) to make white bread. It’s pretty good. Also, I do not have a silly dough whisk.

One of the big things I was doing wrong was using the wrong pan. It turns out there are two sizes of loaf pans. The larger size, 9″ x 5″, is for quickbreads, like fruit breads and nut breads. The smaller size, 8½” x 4½” is what you want for yeast bread loaves.

Another thing I’m learning is that dry milk is the secret to good sandwich bread. I think the dry milk is the difference between crusty, open-crumb European breads and spongy, closed-crumb American sandwich breads, maybe because of the added protein.

The Recipe

Makes 1 Loaf
Time: 5 hr 15 min (30 min work, 2 + 1 hr rising, 45 min baking)

This recipe is based on King Arthur Flour’s Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread, but I cut the whole wheat flour with some regular flour.

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose or bread flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup dry milk (if your dry milk is clumpy, force it through a sifter)
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 to 1 1/8 cups lukewarm water
Cooking spray for greasing things

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together all of the dry ingredients.
  2. Add in the vegetable oil, salt, and about 3/4 cup of the water. Stir together and keep adding water until you get a shaggy mass of dough that holds together but it’s soggy. You might not need all the water.
  3. Let the dough rest for 20-30 minutes to absorb the liquid. This seems to be important for whole grain flours, which are less porous.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly-greased surface and knead for 8 minutes.
  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly-greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for about 2 hours.
    dough before kneading

    Before…

    dough after rising

    …and after

  6. Grease an 8½” x 4½” loaf pan. Shape the dough into a log, and cover the pan with greased plastic wrap. Let the bread rise until 1″ above the rim of the pan, another hour or so. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 350F.

    whole wheat dough in pan before rising

    Before…

    bread dough in pan after second rise

    …and after

  7. Bake the bread for 40-45 minutes. After 20 minutes, tent it lightly with aluminum foil to keep it from over-browning. The loaf is done when it’s 190F in the middle.

  8. Remove the bread from the oven and turn it out onto a rack. Let it cool completely before slicing or storing.
    Finished Whole Wheat Bread

    Look at that pretty bread

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