homemade soft wheat sandwich bread

It’s Friday, hooray!  I always look forward to the weekend – more time with the hubs, sleeping in on Saturday and just a general relaxed feeling knowing I don’t have to leave the house at a certain time.  We have our 36 week midwife appointment coming up this afternoon.  I think we’ll find out if she’s for sure head down at this one, although at my last appointment the midwife thought she was.  I will be full term on Tuesday, yikes!

I tend to go through bread baking kicks.  Lately I’ve been on one and am happy to say I’ve successfully made a sandwich bread that everyone in the house really likes!  And that’s a tough thing to do… Jacob can be is picky about his bread.  While my preference is 100% whole wheat bread, I’ve yet to make a loaf that he would be willing to eat too.  I came across a recipe on pinterest and decided to give it a go.  It’s made with half whole wheat flour and half white flour.  I should really call it compromise bread like I do with the rice I make (half white, half brown).

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I originally decided to make my own sandwich bread to save us some money.  I haven’t really mentioned it here, but with the new year we are (so far successfully!) making strides on paying our debt down.  Doing that means making sacrifices, and one of those is with the food budget.  I’m down to a strict $75 a week… which is tough for sure.  Rachel, the one who shared the recipe I’m about to share with you guys calculated the cost of making it yourself.  She came up with $3.90 for the 3 loaves.  That’s about the same price as one good loaf of bread.  You know, the kind without 10 million ingredients.  I omitted the flax seed because I had none on hand, so my actual cost would be a little less.

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I ended up making 2 regular loaves and 2 mini loaves.  Thinking it would last us a while I put half in the freezer after making them.  I did not need to do that, because today we are down to the last mini loaf which means I need to bake more tomorrow to get us through the next week!  This bread is amazing.  So soft and pillowy, yet it doesn’t fall apart on you.  I used it for french toast and loved it.  I highly recommend it!

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Soft Wheat Sandwich Bread

slightly adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

  • oil spray
  • 3 cups warm water (110-115 degrees)
  • 1 ½ tbsp dry active yeast (see note)
  • ¼ cup sucanat or packed brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached white flour, plus 1/2-1 cup more as needed (if dough is too sticky and for dusting the counter)
  • 3 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (I used regular whole wheat flour, but plan to use white next time I make this)
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed (optional – I didn’t use it and just added more flour in instead)
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp vital wheat gluten, optional (use more flour if you don’t use this)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (or canola)
  • a cold stick of butter, optional

Directions

  1. In your kitchen aid mixer bowl, add warm water, yeast, and sugar. Stir until combined and let stand 10 minutes. Should become foamy on top, if the yeast was activated.
  2. Meanwhile, in large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, flaxseed (optional), salt, and vital wheat gluten (optional).
  3. Add olive oil into the yeast/water mixture. Don’t stir. Then, stir in flour mixture until combined.
  4. Using the bread hook, mix dough on a low setting in Kitchen Aid Mixer for about 10 minutes. Add a little more flour if it’s too sticky. Stop and take it off the hook every few minutes to assure it’s mixing well. (I do this about 3-4 times.)
  5. Place in a large oil greased bowl. Turn dough ball around in the bowl to get it greased all around. Then cover the bowl with a smooth dishtowel. Set bowl in a warm place and let it rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  6. Punch down the dough in the bowl. Then, divide evenly into three equal parts (or however many loaves you are making) on a lightly floured surface.
  7. Roll out each portion of dough with rolling pin to remove air bubbles (I had never done this before!). Then, roll up each one into a loaf size and put into pan seam-side down. Spray tops of loaves with oil.
  8. Cover and let rise again only until it’s doubled, about 50-90 minutes. Note: Do not let it over rise or the bread will deflate when it bakes!
  9. Bake loaves on the middle rack at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown.
  10. Let loaves completely cool in the pan on a wire rack. Optional: Take a cold stick of butter after it’s done, and run it over the top as soon as it comes out.
  11. Then gently turn the loaves out and slice on a cutting board. Tip: Using a bread knife, saw back and forth and don’t press down on bread.

NOTE: I adjusted the rise times based on what worked for me.  From reading the comments in the original recipe I found out the author used rapid rise yeast, which is why her rise times were about half of what mine ended up being.  If you use regular dry active yeast, your times will be closer to mine.  Room temperature will also add some variation to rise times.

In other news, I knit myself a slouchy beanie!  I kinda love it.  It’s wool and super warm.  I pretty much wear it every morning when I wake up and am standing in the cold kitchen waiting for my hot cup of coffee to be ready.  It came together quickly too.  I’m planning to make a mini one for baby girl so that we match. :)

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What is your favorite sandwich bread to buy or make?  Do you have people in your house that are picky about the kind of bread they eat? 

Have a great weekend!

Heather

15 thoughts on “homemade soft wheat sandwich bread

  1. I have been wanting to start making our own bread but I need a recipe that doesn’t require a stand mixer. Do you think this will work as well without one?

    I would love to know where you got the pattern for your hat! I’m a beginner knitter and would love to make that hat for myself!

  2. I also do not have a mixer do you think this would still work?

    Would it work if I did it with all whole wheat too?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Melissa – My guess is that you can make it without a mixer (I haven’t tried), you would just have to do a lot of hand kneading, so it would be a bit more work. I haven’t tried with all whole wheat flour. You would probably need to adjust the liquid a bit (adding a little more) and it would turn out a bit more dense since whole wheat breads typically do. Please let me know if you try it!

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  4. I love really seedy bread- I fell in love with it from having it in Europe, and now it’s my favorite to have all sorts of crunchyness on the crust or inside the bread!

    • I’ve never done any baking in a bread maker so I’m not sure… but you can always try and hope for a surprisingly awesome turnout! Let me know if you attempt it!

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  7. This recipe is a WINNER! I love how simple it is! Since my husband is the only bread-eater, we let the loaves cool completely before slicing in half. I wrap the halves VERY TIGHTLY in plastic wrap (a few layers) and then put them in the fridge for 12-24hrs. Then I transport them to the freezer for long-term keeping. Whenever Daniel is down to the last slice, I pull another half out of the freezer & let it thaw on the countertop (still totally wrapped in the plastic). Once thawed, I’ll unrwap the loaf, and then “swaddle” it in a clean dishtowel and it lives on the counter. I also added a bit more yeast (maybe 1/4tsp) to give the bread a bit of extra height (and it turned out “fluffier” and less dense). Can’t say enough good things about this particular recipe!

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