Okay, I’m not talking about actual brown bread, in the recipe sense. It is bread that is brown, but it is a leavened bread, unlike actual brown breads. More accurately, I made a whole wheat sandwich bread, and it was pretty danged delicious.
Packaged bread (the kind made in a factory) is kind of gross, in the sense that you can take the whole soft loaf of the cheap stuff and squeeze it into a ball, and it won’t come apart. You could probably play some sort of deranged breadball game with it, if you wanted to. It’s also kinda gross because it’s saccharine sweet and it doesn’t properly mold or go stale. On multiple occasions when I did buy packaged bread, I would forget about it in my bread box for a good month, then panic and open the package, expecting copious green matter, or even rough edges of staleness. Instead, I would be “relieved” to find nothing amiss. I wonder if that bread is still hanging out somewhere in my digestive system.
Y’all. Good bread is supposed to get moldy and go stale. Good bread should also be eaten or frozen within a day or two, not kept in a bread box indefinitely. But I know the convenience factor is present in packaged bread, and I also know that sometimes, in contrast to sourdough, you want a mildly sweet bread to pair with cheese, meats, tangy veggies, or peanut butter and jelly. (Maybe you even want all of those things at once. You do you.) Packaged bread, unlike sourdough, is also delightful and soft and easy to slice.
My friends. I can give you two out of the three things that packaged wheat bread gives you, without the creepiness of month-long shelf preservation, with Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread. (In other words, you should eat this bread within two or three days of making it, and/or freeze the loaves until you can eat it properly.)
This bread is light, soft, a touch sweet, and pairs excellently with whatever you want to top it with or make a sandwich out of without being gritty. And with a good amount of whole wheat flour mixed in, it has more nutrition than a simple white bread, with more flavor and texture to boot. It comes together as easily as any simple bread, so try it in your next baking adventure!
That means now. Try it now. You won’t regret it.
Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
You will need:
- 4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (or two packages)
- 2 c warm water
- 1/4 c molasses (light or dark – darker molasses will be sweeter, make a darker bread, and have a more pronounced molasses flavor)
- 1/4 c sugar
- 1/4 c melted butter
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 c whole wheat flour
- 3-4 c all-purpose flour or bread flour
- In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water with a whisk and let stand 5 minutes. Add molasses, sugar, salt, and melted butter. Stir in whole wheat flour.
- Add 3 c all-purpose flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough is stiff and difficult to mix by hand. Allow the dough to sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Mixer directions: With the bread hook attachment, mix the dough on low speed until it is smooth, elastic, and slightly sticky to the touch (but not sticking to your fingers), about 8-10 minutes. Add flour as necessary to achieve this texture, up to 1 more cup.
- Hand-kneading directions: Lightly flour a countertop or breadboard, and turn dough out onto the countertop. Knead, adding up to 1 more cup of flour, until the dough is smooth, elastic, and slightly sticky (but not sticking to your fingers), about 10 minutes.
- Form a dough ball, and place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning dough in the bowl to coat evenly. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down dough, reshape, cover, and allow to rise again until doubled, about 45 minutes-1 hour.
- Lightly grease two 9×5 loaf pans. Punch down dough and divide into two equal portions, shape into oblong loaves, and place into the loaf pans. Cover and allow to rise until nearly doubled, about 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake loaves for 30-40 minutes until loaves sound hollow when tapped. Cool completely on a cooling rack before removing from the pans. Slice and enjoy!