Do you know how to make your whole-wheat sandwich bread light and fluffy with a soft tender crumb? Here's my little trick that softens the gluten in the whole wheat flour. This will soon become your new favorite sandwich bread. I promise.
In a mixing bowl or measuring cup add warm water, yeast, honey, and oil. Combine well. Let stand 3 minutes until foamy. Tip- Instant yeast does not need activating but this method ensures our dough will rise.
Whole wheat flour
Add the whole wheat flour and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer with the hook attachment. Pour the hot, almost boiling milk and stir to combine. Leave it alone for 5 to 7 minutes until it becomes warm or close to room temperature. Tip - the hot liquid will soften the gluten in the whole wheat flour which gives us a nice soft bread.
When the whole wheat flour mixture is barely warm add yeast mixture. Combine on medium speed until well incorporated.
Next, add the all-purpose flour and knead for three full minutes on medium speed
Next, gradually add in the soft room temperature butter. Once all the butter is in.
Knead for another two minutes. The dough will curdle and break apart at first but will get smooth as elastic as it continues to knead.
You will have a smooth, soft, elastic, but slightly sticky dough. Remove from the stand mixer and place it in an oiled bowl.
The first rise - Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for about 60 to 90 minutes until double in volume.
Shape the loaf
Once double in size, remove the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Degas or remove air by kneading for just 15 seconds.
To shape the loaf first make a ball. Then flatten it with your fingers. Bring the bottom half over to the middle, Then the two sides into the middle. This will look like an open envelope.Finally, fold the top down almost towards the middle. Then roll the new top towards the bottom. This will look like a logHold the loaf with your two hands and roll so it is the same size as your loaf pan.
Cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap or clean kitchen cloth and leave in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until almost double in size.
At about 30 to 45 minutes when the dough is almost doubled preheat the oven to 395 F / 200 C for at least 10 minutes.
Place the loaf pan on the lower shelf of the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 356 F / 180 C
Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes. If the top starts to get too dark, tent with an aluminum foil sheet.
When the bread is done - it will leave the sides of the pan, the internal temperature should reach 190 F. If you tap the bottom you will hear a hollow sound.
Remove the bread from the oven and brush with soft room temperature butter - this will give you a soft delicious crust and shine on the bread.
Let the bread cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before you cut to prevent it from drying out.
Tips for making the perfect sandwich bread every single time
Measure all ingredients ahead of time so you don't forget anything at the last minute.
For accuracy use a weight measure for the ingredients because every cup of flour can weigh differently depending on how you fill it.
The milk must be warm (not hot) about 110F. If the milk is too hot it will kill the yeast, similarly, if the milk is too cold it will not activate the yeast.
Though instant dry yeast has a long shelf life, it can get ruined. Always check the expiry on the yeast. If unsure, combine the yeast with water/milk, sugar/honey, and oil/butter from the recipe and let stand 5 minutes. If it gets foamy the yeast is good to go if not best to buy fresh yeast or check the temperature of the milk
Keep salt away from yeast as it can kill the yeast. I like to combine it with the flour then add it to the yeast mixture.
A soft loose well-hydrated dough is not necessarily a bad thing, it often will give you soft fuffy bread so don't be tempted to add more flour than mentioned in the recipe.
Kneading is key to making good bread. While kneading by hand can be therapeutic using a stand mixer is easier and quicker
Leave the dough at room temperature to rise until double in volume. While not recommended when in haste you can place it in a warm (not hot) oven this will expedite the rise.
Bread does not have to be time-consuming. You can leave the dough in the fridge to rise for a few hours (even overnight) while you go about your chores. A slow rise will give more flavor to the bread.
Always preheat the oven for at least 10 minutes before you place bread in or the low temperature will spread the dough too much.