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