The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hand Mixed Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

lbr's picture

Hand Mixed Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

I teach basic cooking and nutrition classes in the community to those who are on food stamps or are food stamp eligible. One request that I get occasionally from my clients is to learn how to make whole wheat sandwich bread. They usually don't have bread machines or heavy duty mixers so I am looking for a recipe that is pretty simple, easy to purchase ingredients but also gives great results. My experience has been that the first exposure to something new has to be spot on or they will never try it again.

Anyone with a tried and true recipe that fits this criteria? I would appreciate any ideas or helps. 


Thank you!



flournwater's picture

This works and includes some cost cutting measures.

I'd recommend you try it first before presenting it to your group.  You may want to make some adjustments.

2 ¾ cups AP flour

      Note: If using whole wheat flour I might try working with a formula

       of  1 1/4 cups whole wheat to 1 1/2 cups AP.

1 ¼ tsp salt

1 tsp instant yeast

7 – 8 ounces room temp. water

1 Tbsp veg. oil or olive oil

 You'll need a four quart mixing bowl, a 6 - 9 inch bowl scraper (about $1 at most kitchen shops) and a sheet pan or cookie sheet.

Combine dry ingredients in the mixing bowl; stir

Add 6 ounces of water and 1 Tbsp oil.

Mix using 6 or 9 inch nylon bowl scraper in a dough hook motion, reversing frequently  (7 minutes until smooth and hydrated)  If it seems too dry add more water, 1 tsp at a time, to achieve proper hydration.  Knead using the method demonstrated in the Richard Bertinet video (link below).

Roughly shape into log about 9 – 12 inches long, brush with oil and ferment (covered with plastic wrap) on countertop 1 ½ - 2 hours until swollen but not necessarily doubled in size.

Set up couche (Couche is parchment paper with a bit of oil rubbed onto it with bottles or jars on each side to for the confining couche shape)

Uncover the dough and degas modestly using fingertips.  Pick up at long ends and gently fold envelope style, then place on couche.

Lightly brush with oil and cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until noticeably swelled  (45 – 60 minutes) but not necessarily doubled in size

Preheat oven 500 degrees with sheet pan and water in steam pan

Deliver the loaf to the sheet pan by holding side of the parchment to form a “sling”

Spray water onto sides of the oven at 30 second intervals (3 times)

Continue baking 5 minutes

Reduce heat to 450  -  bake 10 minutes and rotate 180 degrees

Bake to internal temp. 205 degrees (10 – 20 minutes longer)

Cool on rack one hour.  When completey cooled it will store fairly well for about two days in a tightly closed plastic bag on the counter.

I've used veg. oil in place of olive oil, parchment paper and bottles or jars in place of a baker's towel, a sheet pan in place of a baking stone and AP flour in place of bread flour to bring it within the scope of your stated goal.

The kneading method described, using the dough scraper, is demonstrated in this video:

Notice how he uses the bowl scraper to scrape the sides of the bowl, raise the dough to the center of the bowl and pull it down into the center of the dough mass; mimicking the motion of a dough hook.  Disregard that he is mixing a sweet dough  -  the procedure works fine with bread dough.

clazar123's picture

There is a book with handmixed techniques. Try one of these recipes,perhaps.


lbr's picture

Thanks for the recipe flournwater, wow! I really appreciate the thought and detailed instructions. I will try this at home for sure.


I have the Artisanbreadin5 cookbook and there are two recipes for whole wheat sandwich bread. The first one I tried did not meet my high expectations for ww sandwich bread and now I am reluctant to try the other recipe-I have had success with other recipes from the book..but not this first ww sandwich bread.

rayc's picture

I make a ww sandwich several times a month, that I found on this site and it is great bread.  I use sourdough as a leavin, but there is a version using yeast.  Do a search for Jmonkey whole wheat sandwich and it should come up. 

It can be mixed by hand.  Using an autolyse makes things easier.


jennyloh's picture

Check out his book Artisan Breads Every Day. Easy to bake, tried it just 3 days ago, all by hand, and it turned out really good, a little sweet but easy. I did a loaf, and also made into buns. Did one that went straight into baking, another one sat in the fridge for 48 hours before shaping and final rise. Both turned out well. I believe many here had tried this recipe with great success too. I learnt something new from my search in this site too, keep the milk warm to get a better rise!!

rayel's picture

Hi lbr, what percentage of whole wheat were you thinking of? Appparently the percentage varies all over the place, and it's still called whole wheat. Thanks, Rayel

lbr's picture

Thanks everyone! I will be busy baking bread this week! It doesn't have to be 100% whole wheat- my goal is to help them learn that they can make a healthy bread at home for every day use. 

My job is through the local extension office and I even found a publication online through Extension where yeast breads are mixed in large zip-top bag- that made me laugh! Hey though- I may give it a try! Ha!


flournwater's picture

Do give it a try and let us know how it works for you.  Just be sure to use a good quality zip lock bag.  A poor quality bag could lead to a nasty mess.