Friday, February 27, 2015

(The Best) Homemade Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread Recipe


I've had lots of requests over the years for my whole wheat sandwich bread recipe so I'm finally sharing it here!  I have tried a lot of sandwich bread recipes and this has now been my go-to recipe for at least three years.  It evolved from a combination of different recipes, technique and ingredients being tweaked and changed many a time to fit our tastes and ingredient preferences.  And it's finally perfect, I think.  I love that it makes two loaves at a time.  Currently, I make two batches at a time and bake them all together, yielding four loaves at once.

It was really hard finding a whole wheat sandwich bread that didn't contain a lot of added ingredients, sliced well, and tasted good (I don't like how most whole wheat breads are super sweet!).  Even the ones at the store had lots of extra softeners and preservatives OR were way too pricey for the amount we'd use.  So homemade it is.  But this, my friends, I think is the final recipe.  We now go through about half a loaf every lunchtime and seeing that we'll probably be up to a loaf a day in several years or so, I'd best be teaching the older boys how to do it, too, eh?

Alrighty.  Enough blabbing and onto the recipe.  And because I hate saving recipes and having to scroll through tons of pictures every time I use it, I'll give you the synopsis here and then a clearer description with pictures below.


(The Best) Homemade Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
(makes 2 loaves)

2 3/4 c. heated water
1 Tbsp. active yeast
3 Tbsp. sugar 
(I use unrefined organic but if sugar ain't your thing, you could sub in 4 Tbsp. honey)
3 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
3 c. whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp. salt
1/4 c. olive oil

Heat your water to approx. 100-110 degrees F.  I stick mine in the microwave for 1:20 and it is perfect. Pour in mixing bowl and add in yeast and sugar and stir gently.  Allow yeast to proof 5-10 minutes until grown and creamy.  

Add in flour, salt, and oil and using your mixer's dough hook, knead about 1-2 minutes only until dough pulls together and is well combined.  You could knead by hand, I suppose, but in full disclosure, I've never tried it.  Oil your bowl and cover.  Allow to rise about 30 minutes or so until doubled.  Punch down and knead a few times and form into two loaves.  Place each loaf in a well oiled loaf pan and allow to rise again approximately 30-45 minutes until doubled.  (I place mine in a warm 120 degree oven.)  Keep in oven and turn oven on to 375 degrees and bake 30-35 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool about 10 minutes or so before removing from pan.  Enjoy!

A bit more description:
After heating your water, pour it in mixing bowl and add yeast and sugar.  Allow to proof about 5-10 minutes until it's nice and creamy and looks like the pic on the right.

Add in the flours, salt, and oil and knead in your mixer for about a minute until the dough pulls nicely together...

and looks sort of like this.  Spray your bowl and flip your dough around so it's well oiled, too, and cover.  Allow to rise in a warmish place about 30 minutes until doubled.  (FYI, did you know you can use olive oil with a little bit of water added in a normal spray bottle and it works just as well as the spray oils with all the yucky additives?  True.)

After it's doubled, it should look something like this.  Except in one bowl.  I'm making a double batch here.  Punch down dough and divide in two.  Knead a bit and form each half into a loaf.

Place in a well oiled bread pan and allow to rise again for 30-40 minutes.  I heat my oven just a bit to 120 degrees or so and place the bread right in to rise quickly and without the need to transfer for baking.  In case you're wondering, I don't notice much of a difference between the glass and stoneware pans.  I think I prefer the glass only because it shapes nicer and I can see through the bottom to make sure the bottom has baked well.  

After the rise they should look something like this (again, with just two loaves ;)
Leave the loaves in there.  Set the oven to 375 degrees, the timer to 35 minutes, and bake until golden brown.  (With baking four at a time, sometimes I have to switch the top and bottom shelves for the last few minutes to make sure they bake evenly.)

Take 'em out and let them cool about 10-15 minutes.

Admire your beautiful loaves.

Keep admiring.  And smelling.

After the 10-15 minutes is up, you can now carefully remove them from the pans.  I first release them on the sides with a metal spatula and if the pan was well oiled, they should then come out easily.  Once completely cooled, three of my four go in a gallon freezer bag and into the freezer until needed.  

The other gets ogled by the boys until lunch is made.

Enjoy!

Please hit me with any questions in the comments!  I hope you enjoy!




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20 comments:

  1. Perfect timing! I made some using my old recipe yesterday for the first time in ages and then remembered why I stopped making it. It was good but troublesome to cut and kind of bland tasting. I will be trying yours next.

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    1. Oh good! I hope you like it! It's so funny, I love to share recipes until I find out that someone is actually going to use it then I get all nervous…I'm such a weirdo.

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  2. Okay. This looks amazing! I mean, really really delicious! And do-able! Saving and will be trying in a few weeks! Thank you for getting this together!

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  3. I started making bread because my sister-in-law gave me a bread machine for Christmas. I can't find a good recipe. I use one in the manual that is simple but it's not that great and it's a 2-lb loaf which is too big. Your bread looks wonderful! I may use half whole wheat white flour as I think the 100% whole wheat flour is just too much and makes it too dense. (Even though I have an awesome source for flour-organic and she grinds it up for me while I wait!)

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    1. This recipe does actually use about half white whole wheat for that very reason. From what I've found online, it's a different type of wheat berry…softer but just as nutritious as the regular whole wheat. (I hope, at least!)

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  4. So I'm totally *not* a "make your own bread" kinda girl but you've made it look so easy! I just might try this in a few weeks so thank you for posting it!

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  5. Can this be made without a stand mixer?

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    1. Hey Kari, I've never done it but I would guess you could mix with a wooden spoon and then knead by hand until it's all combined? I mean, that's what they did back in the day so it must work, right? But I can't guarantee since I've never done it myself! Let me know if you try it and it works!

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    2. I will. Seems almost all bread recipes call for a stand mixer :(

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    3. A food processor with a dough hook works very well, although you may be able to do only one loaf at a time, unless it's a really big processor.

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  6. Thank you for this yummy recipe! Printing it out now and will make soon. I thought I would get all into making fresh loaves of bread every morning but when I tried, I just ended up throwing out the dough - I am pretty sure I killed the yeast, but oh well. Now, would you say 1TBsp of active yeast is equal to one package of yeast? I'll try again and let you know how I make out!!

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    1. Hi Lisa! One of those small packages of yeast contains 2 1/4 tsp. but I bet you'd be okay using that and maybe just giving it a little more time to rise. My sister buys the huge packages for me from BJ's since it's WAY cheaper and we use so much!

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  7. Thank you!! From one of the people who kept wanting your recipe but wold forget to ask you for it!!! cant wait to try it!

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  8. Thank you so much for posting this! My husband made it yesterday (kneading by hand) and it turned out great. I'm going to have him teach me. And I'm thrilled to be able to put our bread machine in the closet. :-)

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    1. Yay! I'm so glad it worked for you! I started doing it this way after my machine died :) They definitely take up a lot of counter space!

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  9. Thanks for the wonderful recipe! I've made it twice, and it is indeed stellar for slicing and sandwiches. Lovely texture and great taste. I used all white whole wheat (as it's the only whole wheat I buy) and blackstrap molasses (as sugar ain't our thing in Lent).
    I did crack up at the cuteness of eating *half* a loaf for lunch, though you did acknowledge those days are numbered. ;-)
    Thanks again!

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  10. Yum and yum. My husband loves homemade bread, and this actually looks easy enough to be doable. Thanks for sharing! I can't wait to try it.

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  11. Weird question: when you defrost, do you just lay it on your counter for an hour or two?

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    1. Ideally, I take it out in the morning and yes, let it thaw at room temp but more often than not, I forget until lunchtime that we need a new loaf and pop it in the microwave for a couple minutes…but thawing slowly keeps it moister and is the better way to do it :)

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