I love baking bread. I love the whole process, proofing the yeast, kneading the dough…first rise, second rise…the waft of fresh baked bread. Delicious. Satisfying. Time consuming, but fun. I made the mistake a year ago to buy some yeast so I could have fun making bread. I bought in bulk…4 total pounds of yeast. Fortunately, it was in 2 vacuum sealed bag, so one bag is still sealed. But now, before it expires in December, I need to use some yeast. So if you have ideas or requests, I’m taking them 🙂 That said, I have been working on mastering sandwich bread for our family. My favorite recipe to date comes from none other than King Arthur Flour. Of course those guys have figured out how to make good bread!
We have a few requirements. My husband wants it to be big enough so he doesn’t have to make 2 sandwiches in order to not be hungry by mid-afternoon. My daughter prefers “soft” bread. I prefer name-able ingredients including a majority whole wheat.
Then we have the technique. We had a lot of failed attempts. Sometimes the middle fell in…weird shaped bread. Sometimes it was just too big, we had to cut it to fit in sandwich containers. Some were too dense, some with too many holes, etc. But I think we found our winner! Each time it just gets better.
I would encourage you to read their blog on this bread, but I’ve made some modifications, for better or worse…so here’s our recipe!
1 to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water*
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons molasses, or maple syrup
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
Warm the water. Dissolve the yeast with the honey. Mix the flours, dry milk and salt in a bowl. Add water and frothy yeast mixture and molasses. Knead. Knead until it is smooth and soft. Set in a warm place to rise. My best tip is to turn on your oven when you start and after about 3-4 minutes, turn it off. Grease and cover a bowl with plastic and stick it in your warm oven until the dough doubles in size (about 1 1/2 hours). Then shape it and put it in a greased pan. Now, be patient here.
Let it rise until it is about 1″ over the edge of the pan. It may take an hour, it may take 2, just be patient! I have tried to speed this up by using that same warm oven trick, but it doesn’t work here. That makes the bread rise too quickly and then fall because there’s not enough structure. Just let it rise. Then bake. Bake about 25 minutes at 350. Cover with foil and bake another 10-15 minutes. It should sound hollow when you tap on it.