This is our master recipe for whole wheat sandwich bread. It’s an easy, foolproof recipe that makes an incredibly good bread. The key is in using a whole kernel, stone ground, artisan flour for the whole wheat flour portion. It’s worth the trouble of seeking out something really special.
We make up a batch of dough in minutes and put it in the refrigerator overnight. The overnight refrigeration allows the bread to rise slowly, improving the flavor, and creating a dough that doesn’t need much kneading. It makes two loaves that can be baked on different days, anytime in the next four days. It comes out perfect and is great for sandwiches. This recipe is three quarters all purpose flour and one quarter whole wheat flour. This seems to be the ratio that makes a really good sandwich bread without the whole wheat being overwhelming or causing the bread to crumble. It includes honey and oil because the germ is included in the whole wheat flour, so it needs some enrichment. Variations on this recipe can be made by changing the butter to oil, using different flavors of honey, using whole wheat flour from different mills and adding nuts or grains.
TIPS FOR MAKING BREAD
- Use the best ingredients – brands matter! We included the brands we used.
- The dough is made one day, and then refrigerated for 1 to 4 days, making baking flexible.
- Use a stand mixer – it makes life so much easier.
- Use a thermometer to test the temperature of the milk – the temperature is very important.
- Use a scale to measure the ingredients – it is much more accurate and this is especially important when baking. Measuring flour with a measuring cup can be off by as much as a third. Measuring by weight can also be much easier – just put the mixing bowl on the scale and zero the scale before adding each ingredient – so easy. Measuring by weight is so important that all the measurements are given in grams so you will have no choice. You can thank me later.
- Heat the milk to lukewarm (about 95 degrees F). Whisk the yeast into the milk.
- Using the scale, measure flours, salt, honey, oil and egg into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Add the milk mixture.
- Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed for 2 minutes.
- Switch to the dough hook. Increase speed and mix on medium low for 4 minutes.
- Increase speed and mix on medium for 2 minutes.
- Knead the dough for 1 minute on a lightly oiled surface and form it into a ball.
- Put the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl with enough room for it to double in size. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 4 days.
ON BAKING DAY
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Divide it in half. Shape it into two sandwich loaves. Place them in buttered loaf pans. Oil the top and cover lightly with plastic wrap. One can be put back into the refrigerator at this point to be baked on a different day.
- Let the dough rise for 2 hours or until it has a dome about an inch above the pan.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until golden brown, rotating once to ensure even browning. This should be about 40 to 50 minutes, or until internal temperature is about 185 degrees.
- Remove from the pan and cool on a rack. Wait until cool before slicing.