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The Fluffiest Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf

I have been a bread-baking fool over the last few days.

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The fluffiest whole wheat sandwich loaf!

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It all started Monday. I was trying to stretch the last remnants of our pantry and fridge til grocery day (as usual) and all my go-to pinch hitters were non-options… (I didn’t even have bread in the house!)  But I did have bread flour, and water, and yeast… and really one doesn’t need much more than that to make delicious bread.  (Well, that and a little time.)

So I made a basic whole wheat sandwich loaf (pictured above), which was a twist on my favorite French Bread recipe.  And it was SO good that it was gone by the next afternoon!!

So Tuesday I made two more…

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The fluffiest whole wheat sandwich loaf!

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And uuuuggggghhhh… toasted with butter!?!  This stuff was so perfect, I found myself eating it as a part of every meal and snack.  My daughter begs for it repeatedly too. 😉  (With “peent buttah”… aka: peanut butter.)

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The fluffiest whole wheat sandwich loaf!

(Oh goodness, I die every time I see those chubby fingers.)

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Anyway, when Wednesday rolled around I was faced with the decision of what to make for a friend of mine who just had a baby.  Lightbulb!  Homemade bread!  Afterall, people always bring dinner when someone has had a baby, but oftentimes (especially if the new parents have company staying at the house to help out) they also really need breakfast food.  I remember friends bringing breakfast food to our house during my many recoveries from surgery, and it was so helpful since I had guests helping me 24/7 and needed something to feed them!

So I made one delicious whole wheat loaf for my friend, and one extra special loaf of Cranberry Walnut Bread, using the same recipe with a few small alterations.  (You can find that recipe here, and I daresay it’s even more addictive than the plain wheat one.  But both are superb.)

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Make perfect yeast bread at home- It's healthier, cheaper, and a heckuvah lot better-tasting!

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And now, before I give you the printable recipe for this fabulous bread, I have to give credit where credit is due.  My bread-making skills have reeeeeally improved since Christmas, and the reason for that is this book right here.  Best Christmas gift I’ve gotten in awhile!  It explains the science behind cooking and helps you understand why certain recipes fail… enabling you to achieve the kind of results you only dream of!  My dream had always been to make bread that was satiny smooth with a really “open” texture (lots of holes in it) and a perfectly crackly (but not too hard) crust.  And by changing a few key things in my process, thanks to Cookwise, I’ve figured out how to do that!  Hence, my current bread-baking bonanza… I just can’t stop now that I’ve unlocked the secrets!!

The “secrets” I’m referring to are included in the recipe below… but mainly there are three.  1) Buy “bread flour”, not just regular all-purpose.  2) Allow plenty of time for the yeast to ferment. (This improves flavor and texture.)  And 3) Place a baking stone on the bottom rack of your oven, and bake your bread on the rack above it.  A strong heat source from below allows for maximum “oven-spring” before the top crust hardens and begins to hold the bread down.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe!  I think the process is as fun as devouring the finished product. :)  And I love knowing that I’m eating the freshest, healthiest possible option when it comes to bread.  No preservatives, no high-fructose corn syrup, no funky additives.  Just the good stuff.

Happy baking!

-Carissa

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The Fluffiest Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf
 
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
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This tender, silky bread has amazing texture and flavor, and is excellent toasted and smeared with butter for breakfast! It also works very well for sandwiches, and to accompany soups.
Author:
Ingredients:
  • 1⅛ C. warm buttermilk (or regular milk mixed with 1 tsp. lemon juice)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1¼ tsp. active dry yeast
  • 2 C. bread flour (divided)
  • ¾ C. whole wheat flour (divided)
  • 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed
  • ½ Tbsp. salt
  • cornmeal, for sprinkling
Directions:
  1. In a heavy-duty stand mixer (such as a KitchenAid), combine the warm buttermilk, oil, and sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the liquid and allow it to sit for 2 minutes, until it becomes slightly foamy.
  2. Add in half the flour (1 C bread flour and roughly ¼ C. whole wheat flour.) Using the paddle attachment, beat the flour into the liquid at medium/low speed (about level 4) for 2 minutes to incorporate air.
  3. Allow this mixture (called the "sponge") to sit for up to 2½ hrs. This extended fermentation produces better flavor and texture in the finished loaf.
  4. After the sponge has sat, add in the remaining flour, the salt, and the ground flax seed. Trade out the paddle attachment of the stand mixer for the dough hook, and use it to knead the dough at a medium/low speed (about level 4) for exactly 5 minutes. The kneading process will create elastic sheets of gluten, which will trap air and produce a well-textured bread.
  5. Allow the kneaded dough to rise in the mixing bowl for about 2 hours. (Spray the surface of the dough with oil, or cover the bowl with a damp cloth to prevent drying.)
  6. When the dough has risen, transfer it to a clean countertop that has been lightly moistened with water or cooking spray. Lightly moisten your hands as well and form the dough into a tight round. (Do this by turning it "inside out" and tucking the edges underneath so that the top is very tight and smooth.) Alternatively, you can divide the dough in half and form two rounds to bake in individual loaf pans.
  7. Allow the rounds to rest for 5-10 minutes while you prepare the baking pans and preheat the oven. Sprinkle a baking sheet (or two standard loaf pans) generously with fine cornmeal. Place a baking stone in the bottom rack of your oven, and place the other oven rack above it. Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
  8. Transfer dough to prepared pans. Lightly dust the top with cornmeal too, if desired. Then slash each loaf down the middle with a sharp knife (about ½ inch deep.) This allows for better rising. Allow the dough to rise one final time in the pans, for 45 mins to an hour.
  9. When the oven is preheated to 400 and dough has risen, turn the oven temperature down to 375. Place the dough pans into the oven on the rack above the baking stone. Bake for 33-35 minutes.
  10. After baking, remove the bread pans and immediately turn bread out onto a cooling rack to prevent steam from making crust soggy.
  11. Allow bread to mostly cool before cutting. (Cutting too soon could smash the bread.)
  12. Enjoy!

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You might also enjoy…

Cinnamon Raising English Muffins

Yeast dough for homemade English muffins! (Make it in your stand mixer.)

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Note: This post contains affiliate links.  See my disclosure here.

5 Responses so far.

  1. […] a double-feature in a long time!)  The first recipe was forFluffy Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread (find that recipe here), which is a simple, healthy, and heavenly bread that we love for toast, sandwiches, and soup.  And […]

  2. […] be as happy as a clam.  Other items I almost always make at home instead of buying are: hummus, bread, alfredo sauce, granola, and […]

  3. Katie says:

    Is the ground flaxseed necessary? Can I replace it with something else or just omit it?

  4. […] it at the store anymore.  Not even plain old sandwich bread!  (Speaking of which, here’s my whole wheat sandwich loaf if you’d like to start making your sandwich bread at home too.  Go […]