The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Procrastinator's Sandwich Bread

BNLeuck's picture

Procrastinator's Sandwich Bread

Necessity is the mother of invention (or at least tweaking), right? It certainly is around here! I came to TFL (naturally) to find a solution to my problem: there was no more sandwich bread in my house. This is about as big a problem as no running water. My middle child is addicted to peanut butter sandwiches, and since she has a limited number of "healthy" foods she likes, we encourage her to eat them. (She's autistic; trying to get her to eat food she doesn't like/want is... well, next to impossible. Frankly, I'm just happy she eats anything but hot dogs and fruit snacks.) My usual recipe takes 4-5 hours, depending on the temp of my kitchen that day, and that just wasn't gonna cut it today. I needed something fast and simple.

I did a search for "basic white sandwich bread" and came up with a bunch of results, but near the top of the list was this post, with its GUMP Bread recipe. It had no comments, so no tried-and-true reviews or try-this adjustments, so I took it entirely on faith. The list of ingredients looked right, in proper amounts for a high-hydration sandwich loaf, so I figured how bad could it really turn out?

I made some adjustments for personal preference... butter for oil, regular milk for powdered milk and water, and flax seed for wheat germ. That last because I'd run out of wheat germ, not because I have something against it. And because I didn't have smaller loaf pans, I decided to make it all one loaf in my rockin' huge 9x5 Paula Deen stoneware loaf pan. These things are wicked deep and heat so evenly... I love them. I really do. And I thought to add vital wheat gluten because I'd heard it makes white bread do something interesting. (Very scientific, I know. LOL) So once I'd settled on all my ingredients and my loaf size, etc., I set about actually making the thing...

Procrastinator's Sandiwch Bread

  • .25c butter

  • 2c 1% milk

  • 2tbsp granulated sugar

  • 2tsp kosher salt

  • 5c bread flour

  • 4tsp instant yeast

  • 1tbsp vital wheat gluten

  • 2tbsp ground flax seed

  • more milk for brushing

  • 1tbsp 7-grain cereal

  1. Melt butter in microwave in a large measuring cup or bowl. (1 min on HIGH for me.)

  2. Add milk and heat to lukewarm. (1 more min on HIGH for me.)

  3. Add sugar and salt and stir to dissolve.

  4. Combine flour, yeast, gluten, and flax in a large bowl/the bowl of a stand mixer.

  5. Add liquid and mix to "shaggy mass" stage.

  6. Knead by hand or mixer until elastic. Dough will NOT clean bowl or form a ball; this is fine.

  7. Let rise until double, about 30 mins.

  8. Shape into a loaf, and put in greased 9x5in pan.

  9. Preheat oven to 350F; let dough rise 20-25 mins.

  10. Brush with milk and sprinkle 7-grain cereal on top, then score loaf as desired. (I always do mine diagonally, corner to corner.)

  11. Bake for 25 mins uncovered, with steam, then cover with foil and bake another 20-35 mins, until internal temp is 190F.

Now, since I really like how this turned out texture-wise, I intend to try cutting the yeast to about 1tsp, maybe 1.5tsp, and do an overnight rise in the fridge. Or somewhere else equally cold; this is Michigan, I'm sure I can find somewhere to put it this time of year! I think it'll really improve the flavor. But then it wouldn't be a procrastinator's bread, it'd just be a tasty sandwich loaf. I think I'm okay with that. ;)


Edited To Add: the pictures I completely forgot about...

Nevermind the foil. I like softer crust, so I let the loaf steam itself soft-ish for a few.

Crumb shot. It's very fine and tender, but it still has more flavor than that crappy Wonderbread. :P

Crumb close-up.


Franko's picture

This is great to see! I think it's excellent that you've taken the time to find and make a real, healthy, loaf of bread for your family to eat, rather than opting for junk bread. Nice loaf, and well baked . Good job!


BNLeuck's picture

I have to admit, I feel slightly bad using all white flour. But whole grains take longer to rise IME, and I just didn't have the time. I think, given the texture and taste, I might try a cup of barley flour in place of one of the cups of bread flour next time and see how it does. I might have to adjust the liquids and the vwg, but that's ok. Like any of us mind playing around with bread! LOL But it is a really nice starting point, and my middle child gobbled it up like it was going out of style, so put one in the win column.

Thanks again for the words of encouragement!

dosidough's picture

I missed BettyR's original post. It's always good to have quickie options.

How do you think this would work with a portion (30%?) of White Whole Wheat four? What kind of 7-grain cereal did you use? It has a nice fine texture that looks like it will 'stay stuck' pretty well.

Bake on....


BNLeuck's picture

I think it would work just fine with a small portion of whole grain. Anywhere from 1-10% would certainly work, I'd just up the vital wheat gluten to include 1tbsp for each cup (~4.25oz) of flour, on top of the one that's already in there. I think it gave the loaf elasticity, comparing it to other white sandwich loaves without it. 30% would probably work -- heck, I imagine even 100% could work. For anything over probably 15%, I'd add a half hour autolyse to soften up the bran. I realize it adds a half hour to the time, but ~2.5 hours is still better than most breads, especially with whole grain.

I used Bob's Red Mill 7-Grain Cereal, found here. I like it as a topping for breads, but I really like it as an additive in breads. I soak it overnight to soften it up and it adds a nice flavor and mild texture. Yum! I'm sure other things would work just as well as a topping: rolled oats, barley flakes, sesame seeds, poppy seeds... lots of stuff. That just happened to be what I grabbed first. :)

jrudnik's picture

Wow, that sure does look delicious! Sounds a bit different than the Vermont Sourdough I baked this weekend with an overnight retard!

BNLeuck's picture

Much different than an overnighter, and sourdough to boot! But really, the more I eat this, the more I like it. It has a very mild, neutral flavor, which is awesome for things like grilled cheese or PB&J. (Well, AB&J for me. No peanuts for this lady!) Whereas I like my honey wheat for turkey and provolone, I find the "kid classics" just taste better on a more neutral bread. I have no idea why. Well, maybe I do. I grew up on my grandfather's potato bread which was also pretty neutral in taste. Maybe that's it. :)

I think even with the depth of flavor that an overnight ferment would give this, it would still be neutral enough in flavor to compliment the "kid classics" while still doing decent justice to my meat and cheeses. I'm definitely going to up the health factor on this with barley flour, not ww or rye -- barley will probably keep the mild flavor profile better than the others.

jrudnik's picture

I also love the mild flavor for PB (that's pistachio butter) and (if I find anything that would possibly go with it) I have to stick to the store bought loaves, because while my rye has improved for those deli sandwhiches I still can seem to get satisfactory pan loaf height! Any tips? I'm looking for as big or even a bit bigger than store bought loaves?

BNLeuck's picture

First off: pistachio butter? Yum! Sounds like toast spread on a cold morning to me. :D

As for good pan loaf height, a few things... Stick to primarily if not 100% white flour. The pure whole grain loaves are just too dense to spring up in a pan loaf without massive amounts of vital wheat gluten. Besides, mild flavor means either white flour or something like spelt or barley, and they just don't have the oomph for sandwich bread on their own. (In my opinion.)

Another thing is to either 1) get a very deep loaf pan or 2) get used to mushroom-shaped loaves and use more dough for your pan size than you normally would. This has to come hand-in-hand with a nice tight surface because you want the loaf to go up primarily, not just glop over the sides. Standard stuff for freeforms of course, but especially important if you're going to overfill your pan. For example, a 9x5 typically holds, what? A recipe calling for 3 1/2 to 4 cups of flour? Whereas this one has 5 cups. My pans are super deep, so no mushrooming.

Something else I've noticed is milk makes all the difference. If I make a loaf with water, it's just not as light and airy. I believe (if I recall correctly) fat and protein, which milk has plenty of, help stabilize cell structure? Something I remember my grandmother teaching me re: cakes. I remember her telling me how pound cake recipes have changed from the basic 1lb flour, 1lb sugar, 1lb eggs recipe to include milk and other things to bring the calorie count down but still give a stable structure. It's not something I'm 100% on at 11pm. LOL But I can see the difference when I bake, and that's what matters!

orville76's picture

But this recipe started out as an experiment so I thought I would play, too.

I cut the recipe in half...I always do when it's just me and my guy.  I baked it in a pretty standard loaf pan.  For my 2.5 cups of flour I went with one cup bread flour, half a cup of whole wheat, half a cup of kasha, quarter cup of wheat bran and 3 Tablespoons of VWG.

I am just learning to mix some whole grain into my baking (he's whining I use too much white flour)...I was caught up in the whole I tried this and that I went to town.

Odd shape to the loaf, I admit...I did do a gluten cloak but it was kinda sticky so I didn't handle it too went into the pan almost like a boule.  It did kind of clean the bowl of the mixer but not really.


Absolutely delicious.  It was fluffy and nutty...and I baked a multi-grain loaf!  Hoo hoo!  Even darling husband agreed! :-)

I am still way an amateur but very pleased!

orville76's picture



orville76's picture

I think it looks nice considering I don't know what I'm doing