Friday, April 19, 2013

Basic Sandwich Bread

Bread is my favorite. There is absolutely no way I would want to live without it. If the paleo trend of eating is the the right way to go, then I want to be wrong. I love food and I love bread too much to give it up. It makes me happy - especially when spread with just a little butter. Or peanut butter. Orrr honey. Or anything!! I can live without pasta, rice, cereal, and potatoes, but do NOT mess with my bread.

Like most children, I loved fluffy white sandwich bread growing up. I also loved my Mom's homemade bread, but there was a time for each. Now I can't stand the stuff that you buy in the bread isle at the grocery store. That is not bread. That is a conglomeration of chemicals and factory processing that just doesn't do it for me. What I really love are artisan breads - breads made with 3 or 4 ingredients, with a nice crusty exterior and a nice chewy interior that just needs a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt.

That kind of bread is a real treat, but it doesn't serve much purpose when it comes to making sandwiches and toast, especially for the kiddos. My toddler likes PB&J for breakfast. So when I make most of my bread, I like to get a lighter texture and a soft crust. I also want it to be nutritious - so it is mostly whole grain. Trying to make bread completely whole grain is absolutely possible, but I can't get that sandwich bread texture just right. One of my favorite snacks is just a slice of this bread with butter. It has good flavor but isn't too heavy, and it can still hold up a sandwich - without overpowering the sandwich by being thick and heavy.

I think the key to this bread is that the recipe, which uses a whole packet of yeast, only makes one loaf. Generally I would say most recipes use a packet of yeast for 2 loaves, but because this bread has a lot of whole wheat in it, I like that it gets that extra rise from the yeast. This wasn't perfect by any means, but it is one of my best loaves of bread so far.

When I make bread, I always proof my yeast in the warm water. If the water feels warm to my wrist, it is about right. I don't want it to be hot.

This is what my dough looks like. It is coming away from the bowl, but it is still pretty moist. I think a moister bread rises better than a drier dough

Doubled in size!

Second Rise in the loaf pan
The finished loaf. It slices pretty well, but is a little crumbly. I'm not sure how to remedy that yet. 
Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

3 -3 1/2 cups flour - I used 2 cups whole wheat and 1 cup white. You may end up using a little more - the 3 cups wasn't nearly enough so I think I used more like 3 1/2 to get the dough to form a ball.
2/3 cup warm water (115-120 degrees)
1 packet active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 stick melted butter
2 T honey
1 1/4 tsp. salt

Measure out warm water in a glass measuring cup. Sprinkle yeast on top and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Combine 3 cups of flour with the salt in your mixer fitted with the dough hook. Once yeast if proofed (it should look a little fizzy) add in the warm milk, butter, and honey and let it sit a couple more minutes. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and set the machine on low. Add flour as necessary to get a pretty wet ball and then let it knead for about 5 minutes. Oil the bowl and dough and cover with a tea towel and let rise for an hour. Punch down, and put into a greased loaf pan. Set oven to 350 and let the dough rise for another half hour or so. Then back for 35-40 minutes or until it is nice and brown and sounds hollow when you tap it. Let cool before slicing.

2 comments:

  1. Can you post pics of the bread sliced up? Some experts can almost visually "reverse engineer" by looking at a slice of the bread. Also, it would help to understand what exactly you meant when saying "too crumbly".

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    1. There ya go Timmay - I think it rose a little too much in the pan because I got busy with the kids. It isn't all that crumbly, just a little bit.

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