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.


  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".

    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.