Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
Everyone has their things.
Growing up, my mom was a stickler for writing thank you notes.
If someone gave you a birthday present, you wrote a thank you. If someone gave you graduation money, you wrote a thank you. Heck, if someone gave you a piece of gum or shared a glass of water, that was probably worth a note too.
My dad had his things as well. He believed in waking with the sun. Sleeping in, according to him, was a waste of perfectly good morning hours and an obvious sign of laziness. So on Saturday mornings around 6:30 a.m., he would call up the stairs, “Good morning, Kate,” and I was expected to be downstairs ASAP. This was incredibly painful for 14 year old me as I had probably stayed up till 2 am watching reruns of “Saved By The Bell” or “TRL” (I see you, Carson Daly).
I remember, at the time, hating these things my parents believed in. I would complain about having to awkwardly write a long, drawn out note instead of just calling to say thank you like all my other friends did. After all, I had a super fancy, brand new Nokia phone, and it was good for things other than playing Snake… maybe, I think.
Similarly, I was always the weirdo kid awake at 7 a.m. at slumber parties and church lock-ins, laying in my sleeping bag for hours, pretending to still be asleep and not the girl whose stomach was growling in protest from the delayed breakfast hour.
I never really got my parents. Now, so much makes sense.
My abhorrence for thank you notes has been replaced with a deep spirit of gratitude. Scouring TJ Maxx for discount stationary or spending $5 on a fancy letter-pressed card is totally acceptable to me because there’s something so romantic and sincere about putting pen to paper. In the same way, I am now a tried and true morning girl. A creature of habit, my recipe for a perfect morning (every morning) is 10 ounces of coffee, 1 tablespoon of almond coffee creamer, and a few moments of quiet before the baby wakes up and the opening credits of a busy day starts rolling.
Thank you notes and early mornings fit me like a glove. They’re familiar and feel good to my soul. They’re my bread and butter.
On that note, I have a recipe for you. This is my go-to recipe for whole wheat sandwich bread. It’s excellent toasted with peanut butter and honey, and equally delicious with thick slices of tomato, cheese, and basil sandwiched in between. It’s 100% fluffy, moist, and (hooray!) whole wheat. If you’ve never made bread before, this is a great recipe to start with as no bread machine or stand mixer with dough hook is required.
Read the instructions carefully before starting and make sure you set aside enough time for the proper rise. If you don’t let you bread rise enough prior to baking, you won’t get the height and fluff we’re looking for here. And let’s be honest- bread without fluff? Why bother?
Watch this quick tutorial for a how-to on shaping sandwich bread loaves if you need the run down.
- 1 cup (240 mL) warm water
- 2 teaspoons (10 gm) active dy yeast
- 1-1/4 cup (300 mL) milk (I use 2%), room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) honey
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) light oil (canola, vegetable, or extra light olive oil)
- 5 cups (600 gm) of whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons (20 gm) of vital wheat gluten
- 1 tablespoon (20 gm) salt
- In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over the water and allow to dissolve, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the milk, honey and oil. Add 2 cups of the flour, salt, and gluten, stirring just until combined. Add the remaining flour and stir until dough is a fairly uniform, shaggy dough.
- Allow the dough to rest 30 minutes.
- In a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment (or by hand, if preferred) knead dough until dough is smooth and only slightly tacky, about 7-8 minutes. If dough is too sticky, add up to 1/2 cup of additional whole wheat flour.
- Spray a large bowl lightly with baking spray and place dough inside, covering tightly with a sheet of Saran wrap. Allow to rest in a warm spot for about 1-1/2 hours, or until dough has risen and is approximately double in size.
- Once risen, remove dough from bowl and separate in to two equal pieces, handling the dough as little as possible. Gently form the dough balls in to small loaf shapes.
- Place dough in to two separate loaf pans (8.5" X 4.5" X 2.75") that have been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with Saran wrap and allow to rise again for about 45 minutes, or until the dough has just barely risen over the top of the pan. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Once risen, place loaves in the oven and immediately decrease the heat to 375 degrees. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until loaves have browned and sound hollow when tapped on the top.
- Allow to cool in pan for ten minutes and then remove to finish cooling on a cooling rack.
- It is vital that bread rises well prior to being baked. If your bread is not rising well, place loaves in a slightly warmer spot in your kitchen. I let my bread rise next to a warm oven.
- Allow bread to cool completely prior to slicing.
- Bread will keep on the counter for several days but will keep best in the refrigerator for up to 6-7 days. There's no preservatives in this stuff so it won't last as long as your supermarket bread- eat fast!
- Wrapped securely in aluminum foil, bread will keep in a freezer for up to four months.