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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

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 Sometimes I just have to laugh when I think about how far I’ve come in terms of cooking and baking. The fact that I do things like make my own bread—from scratch—astounds me. Six or seven years ago I was grabbing bread off of the grocery store shelf, probably not even realizing that it was possible to make bread in my own kitchen!
I definitely don’t have time to make yeasted sandwich bread on a weekly basis, but when I find myself with a spare weekend afternoon I can’t resist! There’s something extra satisfying about slicing bread that you kneaded with your own hands (err—kitchenaid mixer!) and no one—no one—can argue about the goodness that is bread hot from the oven!
This recipe makes two loaves, so you can share one with a friend or wrap it well and store it in the freezer until you’re ready to eat (you may want to slice first so that you can pull out a few slices at a time). This was good toasted and not, stuffed with meat and cheese or peanut butter and jelly or plain. While soup season has passed, I can’t wait to make this next winter and dip it in a bowl of steaming soup!

One Year Ago: Chewy Peanut Butter Butterscotch Cookies
Two Years Ago: Spinach Artichoke Flatbread Pizzas
Three Years Ago: Spring Greens Dinner Salad

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
from The Hungry Mouse

-2 cups lukewarm water
-2 tbsp sugar
-1 packet dry active yeast
-2 tbsp butter, softened
-3 cups whole-wheat flour
-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 tbsp kosher salt

1. Add the water and the sugar to a large mixing bowl and whisk until sugar dissolves. Stir in the yeast and whisk to dissolve. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.
2. Add the flours and the salt to the yeast mixture. Cut the butter into a few pieces and mix well to combine (use the dough hook of your stand mixer, if you have one). Knead for 3-5 minutes until a smooth, elastic ball forms.
3. Place ball of dough in a large greased bowl. Cover loosely and allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour, until doubled in size.
4. Punch the dough down, knead it a few times, and divide into two pieces. Knead each piece separately, folding in thirds and forming a loaf. Repeat with second piece of dough. Place each loaf in a greased loaf pan. Allow to rise, uncovered, in a warm place for an hour.
5. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake loaves for 35-40 minutes, until tops are light brown. After five minutes of cooling, remove loaves from pans to cool completely on a wire rack.
*Bread should be wrapped well and kept at room temperature. Bread can also be frozen.