Sunday, March 8, 2009

laurels whole wheat sandwich loaf

I'm the guy that brings a lunch everyday to work, without fail. My parents started packing a lunch for me in junior high so I can safely say it goes back at least that far. High school, University..still packing my own lunch, so why stop. A few things have changed over the years; the biggest, besides staying away from processed deli meats, is that I don't use store bought bread. Why buy delicious whole grain breads when I can bake a few loaves on the weekends, slice, and freeze for easy sandwich making.


Before I discovered Peter Reinhart I didn't really have good success with 100% whole wheat breads. It was edible, but not as airy or open as say a Cobs loaf for example. With this new found bread information, it was like a window into the bread world opened up in my oven and SNAP! This is what was missing. After this I branched out in the bread world and started purchasing even more bread books.. My sandwich bread recipe comes from one of these purchases - The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book.

A great recipe to start your way into whole wheat bread baking, and a delicious sandwich loaf.

Chris's Sandwich Bread
adapted from Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book.

  • 2 tsp (7 grams) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110F)
  • 6 cups (900 grams) whole wheat bread flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp (14 grams) salt
  • 2 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
Dissolve yeast in warm water.
Whisk flour and salt in later bowl, make well in center
Dissolve honey in the 2 1/4 cups of water, and stir in oil
Pour the liquids, along with yeast mixture into dry ingredients
Stir everything to combine nicely.
If using a machine, mix on low for about 10 minutes.
- If using your hands, knead dough for about 20 minutes (feel free to take breaks)
The dough should start becoming quite supple and elastic.
Let the dough rise in a clean bowl until double - 1 1/2 to 2 hours.


Punch down the dough to degas, and reform into a ball for second rising
After dough as double again (around 45 minutes), remove from bowl and degas again.
Cut dough into 2 equal portions and form nice round balls.
Let the dough rest, covered, for 10 to 20 minutes, so the gluten can relax
Shape the loaves, and place in greased 8"X4" loaf pans, for final rising (30 - 45 minutes).
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Dough should be cresting the loaf pans.
Place in hot oven for 10 minutes, before turning the heat down to 325 degrees.
Bake another 45-50 minutes. Loaves should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom or register around 202 degrees with an instant read thermometer.

7 comments:

Brooke said...

I am always so jealous of your breads! One of these days I will have to work up the courage to try again - but I'm always so disheartened by my leaden loaves.

Sarah said...

I think maybe you can just keep baking bread for me. ;) I can't help but feel this was a pointed post. And yet, off to the store I go for yeast and more flour.

Chris said...

Thanks Brooke. I feel your pain; it took me a long time to be happy with my whole wheat loaves. Just think, your bread can only get better - To Infinity and Beyond!

Sarah - you mentioned last time you were trying, just let the passion grow and you will have all your own breads with no need for my bread gifts.

Sarah said...

I own this. *gulp* Here we go again.

Sarah said...

This bread is divine. I don't even mind the kneading. Thanks for a simple, go-to, recipe. Haha. Now people are asking me for bread. :)

hanne said...

Chris, after our conversation about bread the other night, I decided it was *necessary* that I own the Laurel's Kitchen book. I can't wait to start using it! ps. I think it's interesting that you slash your sandwich bread. I've never tried that. pps. That's one bulbous top on that loaf! It looks great.

Chris said...

I'm glad you are going to pick it up! Yeah, I've started slashing my sandwich bread, don't know why really, but it makes things exciting. I'll have to track down a side profile of that loaf as the top was like a giant mushroom.

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