Saturday, April 2
Tried It & Loved It: Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
I have been trying to make all our own bread. I honestly haven't bought bread in ages and when in comes to things like dinner rolls and pizza crust--I am so on top of it. I use my go to recipe for those items and I make those each time without fail.
Sandwich bread though--not so much. In fact, many times I just find something else for lunch--fruit, cheese, smoothies, etc. I have been trying to get better. I found a recipe awhile back that I really liked--but it wasn't entirely whole wheat. It was about half and half (all purpose and whole wheat flour). In fact, a lot of recipes I came across where half and half. I thought this was because most didn't like the taste of an entirely whole wheat bread. Not so. Turns out that all purpose flour has a greater gluten content which in turn makes the bread softer and lighter. Hmmm....well then.
I came across this recipe several weeks ago and I tried it....and yes, I loved it! She actually lists three separate recipes, each of which she has made and lists the pros and cons of each. I tried the third one, which was her favorite and I was quite happy with how it turned out.
Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread ~ ever so slightly adapted from Artistta
6 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105 - 115 degrees)
3/4 cup warm water (105 - 115 degrees)
1 cup whole milk (105 - 115 degrees)
4 tbsp. melted butter
4 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. sea salt
5 1/2 - 7 cups whole wheat flour (I used hard white wheat)
Mix yeast and 1/2 cup of warm water. Let sit about five minutes. The yeast should start to bubble and become foamy at the top.
In a small saucepan, melt butter and then add in milk, honey, salt and remaining water. Bring temperature to 105-115 degrees. Remove from heat immediately and mix in yeast mixture.
In a stand mixture (Artistta does this by hand, bless her heart!) with the paddle attachment, pour in liquid mixture and add in 4 1/2 cups of flour. Mix until flour is all moistened. Once it is moistened, change out paddle attachment for the dough hook and start adding in 1/4-1/2 cup flour at a time--until the dough forms a nice smooth ball. It should be a tiny bit sticky--but not overly so. Artistta gives a wonderful explanation:
If you are wondering why there isn't a specific amount of flour for this recipe or for most bread recipes, that's because there can't be. Humidity, how you measure out your flour and liquid ingredients, etc. all play a factor in how much flour you'll need in the end. This is where bread-making becomes an art form. When you first start making bread, it can be hard to know how much flour to add. Here are a couple rules of thumb. First, only add enough flour to your dough while it's in the bowl to get the dough to hold together nicely. It should still be pretty sticky. Then dump the dough onto a well-floured kneading surface and start kneading in small amounts (1/4 cup works good) of flour at a time. Once your dough is beginning to get a nice, smooth consistency that doesn't stick all over the place, stop and wash your hands and scrape any dough up off your working surface. Why? When your hands and working surface are sticky and covered in dough, you have a greater tendency to add too much flour to your dough because it keeps sticking to everything. When your hands and work surface are clean, the dough won't stick as much and it will give you a more true idea of how much more flour you need to add. In the end the dough should be smooth, moist and just a bit sticky.
If you are not brave like me and are using a mixer, knead for about 5 minutes on medium speed. After kneading, the dough should be smooth and somewhat elastic. Coat the dough and bowl with olive oil and cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place. I do this when "rising" bread: set your oven to heat to 350 degrees and set a timer for five minutes. When the timer beeps, turn OFF the oven. Your oven will be nice and warm, but not ridiculously hot--a nice cozy place to let bread rise. Rise until dough doubles in size.
Punch dough down and split dough into two even portions. Shape each into loafs, making sure all "seam" sides are on the bottom. Allow dough to rise a second time--again, allowing it to double in size.
Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Bread should sound hollow when tapped or you can stick a thermometer in and it should read 190 degrees.
Allow to fully cool before slicing into sandwich slices. We don't go through bread very fast at all around here, so once I slice it up, I stick the whole loaf in a zip top freezer bag and just pull out single slices as I need them. Preservation without the perservatives!