Let’s start today off by agreeing that whole wheat sandwich bread doesn’t have to be tough. It doesn’t have to be dry. It doesn’t have to taste like cardboard. It doesn’t have to be boring. Can we agree on all of that? Ok, good.
Because this whole wheat sandwich bread is NONE of the above. It’s soft, tender, and just flat out delicious. Perfect for toasting and slathering with butter and jam. Or peanut butter. Or Nutella. Not that I would know. ahem. Perfect for sandwiches – whether ham and swiss or a simple pb&j or bacon, egg, cheese, and avocado – and ahhhmazing as a grilled cheese vessel.
The recipe below yields two large loaves but it can be easily halved if you only have one loaf pan. And if you don’t have the 9×5-inch loaf pans indicated in the instructions, but only have say, 8×4-inch pans, never fear. I made the recipe as is and just used the smaller pans. As you can see by the giant mushroom-shaped pieces of bread, the dough rose pretty high since there wasn’t enough space for it to spread out in the pan. This change did not at all diminish the texture or structure of the bread but you’ll need to watch the dough on its second rise to ensure you don’t over-proof it. Over-proofing will cause the bread to sink in the center when it is baked and it likely won’t bake evenly throughout. Not the result you’re going for when you invest the time into making homemade bread! In any event, put this on your to-bake list for this weekend and give youself and your family a delicious and healthier bread for sandwiches during the week. You won’t be sorry!
Love making bread? You might also like:
- 4 ½ tsp instant yeast
- ¾ cup plus 2 2/3 cups warm water, divided (105-115° F)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp table salt
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups bread flour
- 5-6 cups white whole wheat flour
- Canola oil
- 3-4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted (for brushing)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, dissolve the yeast in ¾ cup of the warm water. Stir in the sugar, salt, butter, remaining 2 2/3 cups warm water, and bread flour until just about combined. Gradually - about 1 cup at a time - stir in 5 cups of white whole wheat flour with the mixer on the lowest speed until the dough starts to form soft and slightly sticky mass. If after adding the 5 cups, you haven't reached this stage, gradually add the rest of the flour. I needed all 6 cups to achieve the right texture. Turn the mixer up to low and knead for 6-8 minutes. When finished kneading, the dough should feel soft and smooth.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and turn it around a couple of times to coat in the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to proof in a warm spot for about 60-90 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.
- Grease two 9x5-inch or 8x4-inch loaf pans; set aside. Turn the dough out onto a lightly flour surface, gently deflate it with your hands, and divide it in half. Work one of the pieces with your hands out into an 9x15-inch rectangle and starting at the short end, roll the dough into a tight log, sealing the end into the dough when you get to it to form a tight seam. Wrap the ends up under the log and place the dough, seam-side down in one of the prepared pans. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
- Cover the pans with a clean kitchen towel and allow the loaves to rise again in a warm spot for 30-45 minutes, or until almost double in size. Watch carefully at this point, especially if you're using smaller loaf pans, because you don't want to over-proof the dough. The smaller pans will require 20-30 minutes of rise time at this point.
- While the loaves are on their second rise, preheat the oven to 400° F with a rack in the lower-middle position of the oven.
- When the loaves are ready to bake, brush the tops lightly with some of the melted butter. Bake for 15 minutes, turn the loaves 180°, cover with a large piece of foil to prevent them from browning too much, and bake for an additional 15 minutes. The center of the bread should read 190° F on an instant thermometer - if it needs more time, bake at 3 minute intervals while repeating the temperature reading until they are ready. Cool the loaves in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes then transfer the loaves to the racks to cool completely before slicing and eating.
- To maintain the best level of freshness, the loaves can be sliced, bagged, and frozen for up to 1 month. Because there are no preservatives in this bread, it will start to go stale at room temperature within 2 days. When you freeze the bread, you can pull the number of slices you need off the loaf and either microwave on low for 30 seconds to thaw or put the slices directly in the toaster or under the broiler to make toast.
adapted from Annie's Eats