Tuesday, April 9, 2013

how to: homemade whole wheat sandwich bread

Today we're taking a break from DIYing to bake some homemade bread! As I promised in the adventures in bread making post, here's the photo break down of the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes baking method. I hope these photos make the process less daunting for those of you reluctant to bake your own bread. Remember that although you must allow the dough to rise and rest twice in the process, the hands-on time is minimal. Don't just sit there watching your dough rise, go for a walk, read a book, make dinner, clean...no, don't clean that takes all the fun out of the bread making process!

If you want this specific recipe for Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread inspired by Chris Kimball, I suggest you pick up the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes cookbook at your local library. Because I have not adapted the recipe at all, I'd rather not get in trouble with the copyright police... However, if you are willing to try another kind of five minute bread then check out the authors' blog. Here's the link to the master recipe or perhaps you'd like to try the brioche dough recipe. Hopefully, you'll be inspired to attempt baking your own bread at least once!

 Gather your ingredients for a family photo.
Mix the melted butter, yeast, honey, lukewarm water, and salt in a giant bowl.
Measure your dry ingredients. Question of the ages: is it possible to measure flour without spilling some? I think not. 
Pile the dry ingredients on top of the wet in a haphazard way.
Use your mixing muscle until everything is combined. You could use your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix everything, but I prefer to mix by hand in the large bowl. One less bowl to clean since I just leave the dough in this bowl for the rest of the process.
Cover the bowl, but make sure it isn't air tight. I've discovered that my 4 qt. pyrex bowl lid fits perfectly on top of my 8 qt. metal bowl, but it still allows the air to circulate through. Let the doughy goodness rise for about two hours. I usually set mine on top of the oven under the hood light. After the rising is complete, it will begin to collapse a bit with what looks like popped bubbles on the surface. Now is the time to put it in the fridge until you are ready to bake. Use within 5 days of first mixing (this amount of time varies based upon the dough).
Ready to bake? Sprinkle some flour on top of the refrigerated dough. Then scoop out about a 1 1/2 lb ball of dough. Pull the edges under with your hands while making a quarter turn each time to create a ball. Then elongate that ball since it's going in a loaf pan. I tried to get a picture of the dough ball forming process, but the photos were a flop! It's a bit difficult to capture with a camera while using both of my hands to form the ball...
 Plop the now rectangular like ball of dough in a greased loaf pan. No need to get the butter out, Pam spray works just fine. 
Let the dough rest outside the fridge for an hour and forty minutes. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees about 20 minutes before your ready to bake. Put a pan with a cup of hot water in a baking dish on another shelf (this produces steam in your oven) then pop the loaf pan on the other shelf. Bake for about 50 minutes or until the top is dark brown and firm. 
Here's the finished product. Homemade wheat sandwich bread! Perfect for ham and sharp cheddar paninis with spinach and chipotle mayo! 
Get bread making, friends! Still not converted? Then stock up on sandwich bread in the stores when it's 2 for $4 and sharp cheddar cheese when it's a $1.99 and make these delicious paninis!


  1. Great Job Catlin- looks super yummy! I have 50/50 luck getting my bread dough to rise. I think that I overheat the water and kill the yeast- yikes.
    Keep at it :)
    -Kim Helder

  2. Thanks, Kim! Ugh! I've done that before! If you have a kitchen thermometer, you could try using that to make sure you don't go past the yeast's favorite temperature :)