Whole-wheat Sandwich Bread

Of course you can buy your sandwich bread, and most of the time I do.  Occasionally though (and more often now that I’m beginning to realize what sorts of additives and preservatives they use to increase shelf-life) I like to make mine at home.  Besides, it’s so simple and there’s really nothing better than the smell of fresh-baked bread straight from the oven.

This recipe is an adaptation of a white sandwich loaf, but I really wanted to make it completely with whole wheat flour (most recipes for whole wheat sandwich bread call for a mixture of white bread flour and whole wheat flour).  As such, I have decreased the amount of flour and increased the liquid and yeast.

1.  Proof 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.

2.  Combine 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons softened butter, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon salt (this seems like a lot of salt, but trust me, it’s not) in a saucepan over low heat and warm to 105-110F.

3.  Pour the yeast mixture and the milk mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Add three cups of whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup flax-seed meal and turn the mixer on low/medium-low.  Let run for 10-12 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

4.  Once dough has been kneaded in the mixer, place it in well-greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

5.  Place in a warm area of your kitchen a let rise until doubled in bulk (about an hour).

6.  Take the dough out and punch down to deflate.  Form a rectangle on a well greased surface.

7.  Roll the dough into a log and place it in a well greased 9×5 inch loaf pan (I only had an 11×5, which was too big, and that’s why it doesn’t appear to have risen all that well in the end).

8.  Cover this with plastic wrap and allow to rise another hour, until doubled in bulk again.

9.  Preheat the oven to 350F and place the loaf pan on a rack in the center of the oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until bread sounds hollow when you tap on it. Allow to cool before slicing.  Serve with your favorite topping and/or sandwich fillings.

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