Monday, January 19, 2009

Finally - Some Good Old Fashioned Sandwich Bread

I swear I have been planning to make sandwich bread for the family for about 9 months now. I had this dream of delicious and healthy bread, whole grains, and no preservatives. This was going to be the perfect bread for PB and J, swiss cheese sandwiches, and toast with butter and jam. As it turns out - all true.

I finally got around to making sandwich bread, and I took the advice of Susan from A Year in Bread and Farm Girl Fare (whose recipe I used) and baked three loaves at once. After they cooled, I put two into the freezer and we ate one of them throughout the week.

The bread is quite good, definitely better than the store bought alternative. It was a bit weird for me, having only baked crusty "artisan" breads as of late, to make a soft-crumbed and soft-crusted sandwich loaf. It came out just like sandwich bread. I'm not sure why that was so odd to me, but for some reason it was.

The original recipe uses a combo of flours including some white whole wheat. I didn't have enough of that in the house so I subbed some organic dark rye instead and it worked great. The dough handles very well, and really is not a lot of effort for the end result - three large loaves of healthy, delicious sandwich bread for your family.

Honey Wheat Bran Sandwich Bread
Adapted from A Year In Bread

4 cups | 568 g all-purpose flour
2 cups | 290 g bread flour
1 cup | 122 g oat bran
1 cup | 109 g wheat bran
1-1/2 Tablespoons | 17 g instant yeast
2 Tablespoons | 30 ml canola oil or melted butter
1/3 cup |102 g honey
5 cups lukewarm milk (about 85 degrees F)
4 cups | 453 g white whole wheat flour
1 cup | 155 g rye flour2 Tablespoons | 30 ml salt

Mixing and fermentation
In a very large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, bread flour, oat bran, wheat bran, and yeast. Pour in the canola oil, the honey, and then the milk. Mix well, then continue to stir vigorously. Stir in the rye flour, and then slowly add 1 cup of the white whole wheat flour at a time, until you've added 3 cups, or until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough. This should take a few minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 6 or 7 minutes, adding more flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or the work surface. This is too much dough for me to knead in the stand mixer, but it kneads easily by hand.

Place the mixing bowl over the dough, and let it rest for 20 minutes.

Remove the bowl, flatten out the dough with your hands, and sprinkle about half of the salt over it. Begin kneading the salt into the dough. After a few turns, sprinkle on the rest of the salt and continue to knead for 5 to 7 minutes, until the salt is completely incorporated and the dough is soft and smooth.

Place the dough in a large plastic straight sided container with a snap-on lid. With masking tape or a felt tip pen, mark the spot on the container that the dough will reach when it has doubled in volume. Set it somewhere that is preferably between 70F and 78F for about one hour. During the winter, I put it in the oven with the oven light on. Ideally, the dough should also be between 70F and 78F - you can check with an instant read thermometer.

Shaping and final rise (proof)
Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, flattening gently with your hands to break up any large air bubbles. Divide the dough into three equal pieces.

Shape the dough into loaves and dust the tops with flour. Place loaves seam side down in greased loaf pans.

Cover the loaves with a damp tea towel and let them rise for 45 to 60 minutes. The dough should rise well above the rim of the pans, and when you lightly poke it with a floured finger it should spring back just a little.

Bake in a preheated oven (on a stone if you have one) at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown and the bottoms sound hollow if tapped (you can carefully pop one out of the pan and put it back in if it's not quite done). Remove immediately from pans and let cool on a wire rack. Wait at least 40 minutes before cutting into a loaf, as it continues to bake while cooling. Store at room temperature or freeze in zipper freezer bags. Make sure loaves are completely cooled before sealing in bags.


Danielle said...

thanks for this recipe, e. we do a lot of sandwiches and this looks great.

Erica said...

Wow, I didn't even know you could make bread like that at home. I thought all homemade bread was crusty? I guess I was DEAD WRONG. It looks awesome, and I'm sure it's much tastier than the store-bought variety. Mmmm, I could sure eat a turkey and swiss sandwich right now!