I bake some sandwich bread pretty much every week. I like to change it up, but some loaves I come back to over and over. This is one of them.
I love this loaf because it is a nice blend of whole wheat and all-purpose. It doesn’t have so much whole wheat that it is heavy or the kids won’t eat it but it does have enough to make me feel a little better about eating it. The touch of honey makes for a slightly sweet bread (but not overly so) with a subtle honey flavour. This is a great sandwich bread and makes perfect toast.
I like to use instant yeast but active dry yeast will work as well. If you’re new to bread making, make sure your yeast is fresh and don’t rush it. Making bread is not hard but it does require time. And speaking of time, the rising time for bread is always just an estimate. Depending on how warm or cold your kitchen is, it can take less time or more time. The only way to really judge when it’s ready it by how much it’s risen. This is especially important for the 2nd rise. Make sure it’s risen above the edge of the pan (in the case of this bread, just above the edge in the centre) before baking, otherwise, you’ll get a dense loaf.
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 1/2 tsp. active dry or instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt (I used sea salt)
- 1/2 cup honey (reduce to 1/3 cup if you like it a little less sweet)
- 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 4 to 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- Add lukewarm water and honey to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle with yeast, stir and let stand 5 minutes. (Mixture should be bubbling a bit after 5 minutes)
- Add the whole wheat flour and the salt and mix lightly. Mix in vegetable oil. Work in all-purpose flour gradually, adding just a 1/2 cup at a time and mixing until dough comes together into a smooth, moist but not sticky dough. (I only needed to add just over 4 cups to reach this proper dough consistency).
- If using a stand mixer, knead on low for about 5 minutes. If kneading by hand, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Add in only enough additional flour to stop the dough from sticking.
- When dough is smooth and elastic, place it in a well oiled bowl. Turn it several times in the bowl to coat the surface of the dough, and cover with a plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the bowl to a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal sized pieces. For each piece, press dough down while moving it into a rectangle shape, with the short side roughly as long as your loaf pan. (I used 81/2 x 41/2 inch loaf pans because I like a taller loaf but 9×5 would work as well). Roll up the dough from the short side, pinching it together with each roll. Pinch together the seam when finished and place seam side down into greased loaf pans. Allow to rise until dough doubles and crests about an inch above the edge of the baking pan in the middle (it will rise more in the oven). If desired, just before baking, spritz top of loaves with water and sprinkle with wheat bran.
- Bake at 375° F for 30 – 40 minutes or until thermometer inserted in the bottom of the bread reads 195-200° F. Immediately remove bread from pans and cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.