I’ve debated on whether to post this recipe, or bread recipes in general. I just never remember to take the photographs, and I’m forever trying new recipes–never know how something is going to turn out. Here however, is my favorite wheat sandwich bread. It rises beautifully, has a great crumb, is moist and even stays moist for a whole week (never tried longer, ate it too fast). It’s a dream come true–right? Well, I was a skeptic, and have made this bread four times, three times successfully (the first time I misread directions and killed the yeast). This recipe really is as good as it seems. The original recipe is Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread, and my recorded version here shows minor variations in how directions are listed, and comments on my experience making it.
Makes 2 loaves
- 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (one package)
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 1/2 cups hot water
- 1/2 brown sugar: I have used honey in the recipe with equally delicious results, supposedly molasses can be used as well 1:1 ratio
- 3 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup shortening: I have not tried this, but butter or oil can be used interchangeably
- 3 cups whole wheat flour: My favorite version was 1cup whole wheat flour, and 3 – 3 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (adjust all purpose flour accordingly)
- 5 cups all-purpose flour: In most cases, for bread I recommend unbleached flour, however my most recent batch of 25# flour has been bleached because the store was out. Bleach or unbleached work well.
- Proof yeast in 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl, mix hot water, sugar, salt, and shortening. Stir to dissolve shortening and cool to lukewarm. This is the step I messed up, killing my yeast. The original directions listed this step with the first, without specifying bowls. Important lesson: ALWAYS read directions through once before starting, and then once again.
- Once the water mixture has cooled, stir in whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the white flour. Mix well.
- Stir in yeast.
- Add remaining flour one cup at a time, until you get a moderately stiff dough.
- Knead on a lightly floured surface, working in extra flour if needed to prevent dough from sticking to your hands. So for those who have never kneaded bread before, the best indicator for me is the change in texture: the dough becomes smooth and satiny. You almost don’t want to stop kneading because it feels so nice in your hands. I’ve made this recipe a couple times with children on hand, and the way I describe kneading is to vent all your frustration with your siblings:push it, pull it, pound it, work the dough, slam it down. now when they ask to help they ask if they can “beat the bread” rather than knead it.
- Unless you have wonderful helpers who have either been kneading the dough or cleaning your bowl while you knead, shape the dough into a ball and let rest while you wash and grease the bowl. Place the dough ball in the bowl, and roll it once to coat.
- Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, or about 1 1/2 hours.
- Once the dough has risen sufficiently, punch down. Cut into two pieces, roll each into a ball and let rest, covered, about 10 minutes while you grease loaf pans.
- Shape the dough balls into loaves. My favorite technique is to spread it out into a rectangle as wide as the loaf pan and as long as you want (don’t spread it thinner than about 1/2 inch-1 inch), then roll up, pinching the seam to seal. Place loaves seam down into greased loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled (about 1 1/2 hours).
- Hopefully, you read ahead and know to be preheating your oven because now you bake it at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. You can tell it’s done by first tapping the top: if it sounds hollow, flip you the loaf out of the pan and tap the bottom. If it sound hollow, your bread it done. If not, put it back in the over for 5-10 minutes. I’ve never needed to, but if the top of the loaf is browning too quickly, cover with aluminum foil the last 20 minutes.
Now, you shouldn’t need eating directions, but here we go. This bread is delicious on it s own if you desire. I’ve never withstood temptation and waited until the loaf was finished before digging in, so I’m not even going to pretend to give that request. The bread is delicious with honey and butter, toasted or untoasted, as a pb&j sandwich, or with a bowl of soup. this is the perfect all purpose, meal, or snacking bread. To store, I just wrap each loaf in a plastic grocery bag (normally by the time it comes to store there’s only one loaf left). This is how amazing this bread it though: left ov the counter for a week with just a towel draped over it, yes the outside of the loaf was hard, but the inside was still soft and moist. That is what I call bread. Enjoy!