Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Nothing like saying you do something “out loud” loud to stop progress in its tracks. So #ontuesdaysibake has taken a little hiatus right after I finally published a post about it! One plans, the gods laugh, eh?

Twin life has been rough of late with many many sleepless nights leading to a zombie mom, barely clinging to the bare minimum. I even took a week off of my part-time job to try and catch up on sleep and ease the mental load. This week we also met with a sleep coach to help us strategize and answer the questions that kept us from a consistent plan and making the progress we so desperately need.

Armed with the new structure the boys took a couple decent naps which allowed me to try out a new bread recipe. This felt like a priority after realizing the bread we’d been buying from the grocery store bakery actually had “soy bits” listed as ingredients. The challenge of avoiding soy continues.

joy-of-cooking

This “new” recipe is actually quite old. I found it in my 1948 edition of The Joy of Cooking. A very simple recipe yielding 2 whole wheat loaves. It’s actually written so simply I joked that this was my own technical challenge, Great British Baking Show-style. Ingredients are:

  • Whole wheat flour
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Yeast

The instructions are also sparse, directing one to soften cake yeast (I used 2 ¼ tsp of active dry) in ½ cup of the lukewarm water, combining that with the rest of the water, and then mixing the wet and dry ingredients “until the dough comes together.” The next step is to allow the dough to rise, covered, until it doubles doubled in size. No notes about kneading, expected texture, nothing. I’m guessing it’s because in 1948 that kind of detail wasn’t necessary, most folks knew how to bake bread.

I ended up using what I could remember from America’s Test Kitchen’s Family Baking book, and other knowledge gleaned from other bread recipes and random online reading over the years, kneading until the dough went from sticky to smooth, and getting to the “window pane” stage. Let it rise until it doubled (about an hour and a half) and then divided the dough in two, and shaped the loaves by flattening each half into a rectangle the length of the bread tin, docking it a bit with my fingers, and then rolling it tightly and placing it seam-side down in the tins. I let it rise again (for about the same amount of time) and baked at the directed 400° until light brown, then reducing to 350° until done, about an hour in total.

The resulting loaves were a little more compact than I had hoped, but the crumb wasn’t too dense. All in all, tasty and easy. Will be doing this recipe again!

whole-wheat-bread

Leave a Reply