Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (240g) Whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup (120g) Bread flour
  • 1/4 cup (50g) Honey or sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (10g) Salt
  • 1 packet (7g) Instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups (300ml) Warm water (about 110°F or 45°C)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) Milk
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) Vegetable oil
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons (30g) Vital wheat gluten (for better rise and texture)

Instructions

  1. Combine Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, mix together the whole wheat flour, bread flour, honey (or sugar), salt, instant yeast, and optional vital wheat gluten.
    • Whole Wheat Flour: Rich in fiber and nutrients, but less gluten-forming proteins than bread flour.
    • Bread Flour: Higher protein content helps with gluten development for structure.
    • Honey/Sugar: Sweetens the bread and feeds the yeast.
    • Salt: Enhances flavor and regulates yeast activity.
    • Instant Yeast: Begins working quickly to leaven the dough.
    • Vital Wheat Gluten: Improves elasticity and rise in whole wheat bread.
  2. Add Wet Ingredients: Pour in the warm water, milk, and vegetable oil. Stir until a dough begins to form.
    • Warm Water and Milk: Hydrate the flour and activate the yeast.
    • Vegetable Oil: Adds tenderness to the bread.
  3. Knead the Dough: Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until it’s smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
    • Kneading: Develops gluten, the protein network that traps gases released by yeast, providing structure and chewiness.
  4. First Rise: Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1-1.5 hours.
    • Fermentation: Yeast ferments sugars, producing CO₂ gas, which expands the dough.
  5. Shape the Loaf: Once risen, punch down the dough, shape it into a loaf, and place it in a greased loaf pan.
    • Shaping and Punching Down: Deflates the dough and helps to evenly distribute yeast and air bubbles.
  6. Second Rise: Let the dough rise again in the pan until it crests the rim, about 30-45 minutes.
    • Proofing: Further fermentation improves the texture and flavor.
  7. Bake: Bake in a preheated 375°F (190°C) oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
    • Baking: Heat causes yeast to have a final burst of CO₂ production (oven spring). Proteins coagulate, and starches gelatinize, solidifying the bread’s structure. The crust browns due to the Maillard reaction and caramelization.
  8. Cool and Serve: Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Scientific Explanations

  • Yeast Fermentation: Yeast consumes sugars (from honey and flour) to produce CO₂ gas, causing the dough to rise and creating a light, airy texture.
  • Gluten Development: The protein content in the bread flour and optional vital wheat gluten helps to compensate for the lower gluten content in whole wheat flour, aiding in the development of a strong gluten network essential for the bread’s structure.
  • Hydration and Kneading: Whole wheat flour absorbs more water than white flour, so the dough might feel a bit drier. Kneading aligns the gluten proteins, forming a network that can trap the CO₂ produced by the yeast.
  • Oven Spring and Maillard Reaction: The initial high heat of the oven causes a rapid expansion of gases (oven spring), while the Maillard reaction creates a golden-brown crust.

This whole wheat sandwich bread recipe balances the health benefits and rich flavor of whole wheat with the structural advantages of bread flour. Understanding the science behind the ingredients and their interactions ensures a loaf that’s not only nutritious but also has the ideal texture and taste for a variety of sandwiches.

John Nguyen
John Nguyen
Articles: 103

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