The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

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Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Saturday my mother and I decided to spend the day together in the kitchen. It's been awhile since we've done anything like this. We decided to make two cheeses and two breads. She is a complete bread newbie and we are both new to cheesemaking so this was an adventure.


Friday night I made a soaker and biga for PR's whole wheat sandwich bread. I also fed my rye starter and built it to 150 grams for "Mini's Favorite 100% Rye".  Gathered all the bread making supplies that we would need. (flour, yeast, bread spices, PR's book, loaf pans, etc). Sent mom the recipes for cheesemaking so that she could prepare.


Saturday morning we set out, having a fairly strict schedule to adhere to. First, mixed the rye bread. I just love this formula. My spices are dried onions, caraway and fennel seed in equal amounts, to total a little more than 1 tbsp for three loaves of each spice. Rye was fully mixed and the clock started on it. I like to give it a full 8 hours unless it looks like it's going to overrise, which so far it never has. I think it might be because I use only 25 grams of starter when building my starter. It certainly isn't because the starter isn't active. My husband prefers the that the bread is as sour as possible so the more rising time that I can squeeze out of it the better.


Next, we mixed up the whole wheat sandwich bread. I love this recipe. I need to work on a better conversion to sourdough as the instructions for using starter that PR has don't work. He calls for an enormous amount of starter (equal to replacing the biga) and it caused my gluten to break down last time I tried it. I think maybe it was supposed to be used in addition to the commercial yeast? Perhaps I'll play around with it now that I just got my grain mill and see what I can do. I'm thinking that if I put whatever is not used in the starter over into the soaker that should work. Then, just use a basic formula for starter/flour ratio to figure out how much I need. Anyhow, we mixed up the sandwich bread, which would be a nice quick bread, ready to put in the oven in 1 hour and 45 minutes.


All was done by hand as mom doesn't have a "real" mixer. Just one of those $15.00 hand held ones. I guess I could have, should have checked out her bread machine but I was a little leary of trying a new gadget with my tried and true recipes. Maybe I'll try it on some pizza dough or something first, just to check out the dough cycle. I wish she lived a little closer (she's 40 miles away) so that I could easily run over and check it out. Rye was until all flour was wet, left to autolyse 20 minutes and then kneaded for about 10 minutes. This was a huge batch of dough, enough for 3 large loaves. The whole wheat was kneaded for 10 minutes, then a stretch/fold at 30 minutes X 1.


Next, we started the mozarella cheese. I took a cheese class about a week ago. That was so much fun. I couldn't believe how much better fresh homemade cheese is compared to store bought! I have been so excited to introduce my parents and husband to it. So, while we had been mixing up the breads, Dad ran to the grocery store for 3 gallons of milk, buttermilk and cheesecloth. After three phone calls and a second trip to the store for the forgotten cheese cloth all was "mis en place". (I had brought the rennet and citric acid for the mozarella) We heated 2 gallons of milk to 90 degrees, added citric acid, then the rennet. Sit, cut the curd, reheat to 105, ladle into a cheese cloth strainer. Boy did we get a lot of whey!! I will be trying whey for my next bread making batch. Has anyone tried whey with sourdough?  We drained the mozarella until very dry/firm. Then we heated at 30 second intervals in the microwave for the fun part-stretching. Stretching is a lot like kneading. Sort of like kneading silly putty. In fact, just like playing with silly putty!!


Popped the whole wheat in the oven and went outside for a gardening break. Did some aphid patrol and washed off the tomatoes. Back to the kitchen for ricotta. That didn't go so well because there was a little tiny, tiny "U" on the label of the buttermilk. It was Ultrapastuerized. Those sneaky boogers!! So, we backtracked and added lemon juice. My mother and I are nothing if not creative! So, our ricotta became a ricotta/queso blanco hybrid which was truely delicious.


Rye bread went in the oven and became "the best rye bread my father ever tasted"


Total for the day-2 pounds mozarella. 2 pounds ricotta/queso blanco. 1 Whole wheat sandwich loaf. 3 loaves 100% rye.


After a day of baking and cheese making I went home and baked a strawberry-rhubarb crumble. I've been dying to find some rhubarb and while hunting for rennet I went to the high end grocery store "AJ's" and also found frozen rhubard. Strawberries have been such a bargain this year and it got me in the mood for strawberry rhubarb anything. This crumble was so delicious. Really hit the spot!!


Sorry, no pictures today. Everything is nearly eaten, LOL!!

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Today was a lovely day in Arizona. Still in our little rental RV. The garden is taking off and I'm procrastinating on buying dirt for my new garden area where the tomatoes need to get transplanted. That will be a hard day or two of work. So, I bake and train my dog instead.


I started my PR's whole wheat sandwich bread last night. This has become one of my three "go-to" breads for me. (Eric's Fav Rye and Hamelman's multi-flour miche being a couple of others) I decided to double the recipe as my mother says it was her "favorite" out of all the breads she tried so far and I'm going to see her tomorrow. I substitute soy milk for milk in the recipe which seems to work just fine. This time I also had stone-ground flour from Flourgirl51 which I had never used before. (her rye flour is wonderful!) So, I was wondering how a 100% stone-ground whole wheat would turn out compared to one made with King Arthur's flour. The other changes I made were coconut oil instead of veggie oil (or butter) and barley malt syrup for the sweetener. (he leaves all these substitutions fairly open in the recipe and I have used the soy and coconut oil before but I used honey and King Arthur flour the last time.


Results-taste is excellent. Crumb is surprisingly very open and less dense than with the finer store bought flour!! Perhaps because I was concerned and kept it extra hyrdrated to the point of extreme stickiness? I also did a couple of S/Fs this time as with the double recipe I couldn't use my machine so my kneading was inadequate so this could also have effected crumb? I highly recommend this sandwich bread if you're searching for a solution to the whole wheat "brick" that so many readers complain about (although I have yet to have too much trouble with myself)


Onto other adventures in baking...Hubby begged for more crackers. Being "me" I simply couldn't leave a good thing alone so I changed my original cracker recipe. Thankfully, it came out even better. Here is the recipe. (can you believe I wrote it down?)


1/4 cup cornmeal


1/2 cup rye flour


3/4 cup spelt flour


1/8 cup nutritional yeast (finally found something to do with the stuff!!!)


1 tbsp sesame seeds


2 tbsp flax seeds


1 tbsp poppy seeds


1/4 tsp each of ground garlic, cumin, cayenne, chipolte


1 tsp salt and coarse ground pepper


1/4 cup olive oil


1/2 cup water


Mix into a loose, crumbly dough that comes together in a ball. Put into the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to about 450. These can cook on a stone. (except in the RV, I used a cookie sheet upside down, that's another story) I rolled out about 1/3 the dough as thin as possible on a Silpat. (you may have to kind of put this together with your fingers as you go, it's a bit crumbly) It will look a little rough, try to smooth out the cracks in the middle so that it's all one sheet, don't worry about the edges.


Bake about 6 minutes. Check to see that's it's toasted dark brown but not burned. Take out and cool flat (I used a cool cookie sheet for this while I cooled off silpat for another batch)


Took me awhile to get the timing right in my oven, I'm sure you'll have to do some trial and error to get just the right doneness without being burned.  I think the recipe is very flexible just so long as the oil/flour/water percent is about the same. (I used all spelt last time)


Tastes like an expensive, health food store multi-grain crispy cracker.


To go with-I made homemade hummus with garden fresh parsley/mint and Meyer lemon juice. MMMMMM!Whole wheat sandwich bread

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