I love no-knead bread and quick easy bread, but when I have time on a weekend, I really enjoy making good old fashioned bread. The kind that requires kneading, takes up lots of time, and causes a mess. But that’s what weekends are for, right? It had been awhile since I had baked bread, so last weekend I decided to make Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread. I have made this recipe before, so I knew it would be a winner, and that TheBetterHalf would like it, even though it has whole wheat in there (he is a white bread kind of guy).
This recipe requires some planning. I mixed up the biga and the soaker on Saturday, and then made the bread on Sunday. I used the stand mixer to do most of the heavy kneading for me, which makes bread baking so much easier in my opinion. The planning and waiting is worth it, because this sandwich bread is amazing! It is so light and fluffy. The texture is identical to store bought wheat sandwich bread, but the flavor is so much better. It is wheaty and nutty without being overpowering. It is so good plain, with butter, toasted, made into french toast, etc. But I must say, the best way to use it is to make a delicious peanut butter and jelly on it!
Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
recipe from America’s Test Kitchen
2 cups (11 ounces) bread flour
1 cup (8 ounces) warm water (100-110 degrees)
1/2teaspoon instant yeast
3 cups (16 1/2 ounces) whole-wheat flour, plus extra for kneading
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 cups (16 ounces) whole milk
1/4 cup honey
4 teaspoons table salt
2 tablespoons instant yeast
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Bread flour for work surface
1. For the Biga: Combine bread flour, water, and yeast in large bowl and stir until uniform mass forms and no dry flour remains, about 1 minute. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature (70 degrees) overnight (at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours).
2. For the Soaker: Combine whole-wheat flour, wheat germ, and milk in large bowl and stir until shaggy mass forms, about 1 minute. Turn out dough onto lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Return soaker to bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours).
3. For the Dough: Tear soaker apart into 1-inch pieces and place in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook. Add biga, honey, salt, yeast, butter, and oil. Mix on low speed until cohesive mass starts to form, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Turn out dough onto lightly floured counter and knead 1 minute. Shape dough into ball and place in lightly greased container. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature 45 minutes.
4. Gently press down on center of dough to deflate. Holding edge of dough with fingertips, fold partially risen dough over itself by gently lifting and folding edge of dough toward middle. Turn bowl 90 degrees; fold again. Turn bowl and fold dough 6 more times (total of 8 folds). Cover and allow to rise at room -temperature until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.
5. Adjust oven racks to middle and lowest positions, place baking stone on middle rack, and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray two 81/2 by 41/2-inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to well-floured counter and divide into 2 pieces. Working with 1 ball of dough at a time, pat each into 8 by 17-inch rectangle. With short side facing you, roll dough toward you into firm cylinder, keeping roll taut by tucking it under itself as you go. Turn loaf seam side up and pinch it closed. Place loaf seam side down in prepared loaf pan, pressing gently into corners. Repeat with second ball of dough. Cover loaves loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature until almost doubled in size, 60 to 90 minutes (top of loaves should rise about 1 inch over lip of pan).
6. Place empty loaf pan or other heatproof pan on bottom oven rack and bring 2 cups water to boil on stovetop. Using sharp serrated knife or single-edge razor blade, make one ¼-inch-deep slash lengthwise down center of each loaf. Pour boiling water into empty loaf pan in oven and set loaves on baking stone. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until crust is dark brown and internal temperature registers 200 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 40 to 50 minutes, rotating loaves 180 degrees and side to side halfway through baking.
7. Transfer pans to wire rack and let cool 5 minutes. Remove loaves from pans, return to rack, and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours