The Fresh Loaf

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Buttermilk and Honey Whole-Wheat Sandwich Bread

Buttermilk and Honey Whole-Wheat Sandwich Bread

Buttermilk Honey Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

This is one of my favorite breads. The honey adds a touch of sweetness while the buttermilk gives it a slightly tangy flavor. It’s great for toast and sandwiches. And, as Laurel Robertson (whose recipe I’ve adapted) in “The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book”  wrote, “It keeps well, when hidden.”

Whole wheat flour: 100%
Salt: 2%
Instant yeast: 0.6%
Water: 38%
Buttermilk: 38%
Honey: 8.4%
Unsalted butter: 2.8%


Whole wheat flour : 500 grams or about 4 cups
Salt: 10 grams or 1.25 tsp
Instant yeast: 3 grams or 1 tsp
Water: 185 grams or ¾ cup + 1 Tbs
Buttermilk: 185 grams or ¾ cup + 1 Tbs
Honey: 42 grams or 2 Tbs
Unsalted butter: 14 grams or 1 Tbs

Add the salt to the flour. Mix them thoroughly and then add the yeast, also mixing. Melt the butter (or, if you like, work it in later while kneading) and add the water, buttermilk, melted butter and honey to the flour, mixing well until everything is hydrated.

Dough development

You’ve got several choices on how to develop the dough.

  • Traditional kneading: Let it rise 2 to 2.5 hours in the bulk rise at room temperature.
  • Stretch and fold: After the final stretch and fold is finished, give it 2 hours at room temperature.
  • French fold: Give it two hours after the French fold is finished.

If you’re not retarding the bread, deflate the dough after the first rise with a stretch and fold, and let the dough rise once more before shaping. It’ll take about 1.5 hours or so.

This dough makes a great sandwich loaf, and I usually bake it in a greased 8.5” by 4.5” bread pan.

I’ll often make the dough after dinner. After the first rise is complete, I’ll shape it, put another pan on top and then place it outside if the temperatures will get down into the 45 to 55 degree range. If it’ll be colder than that, I place it in our “cold room” which is unheated, but rarely gets below 40 degrees.

If it’s going to be a hot summer night, I’ll pop it in the fridge, but that usually means that I’ll need to let it warm up for 2-3 hours in the morning. I’ll sometimes speed up the warming by putting the pan on an upturned bowl at the bottom of a picnic cooler, throw a cup of boiling water in the bottom of the cooler and then close it up quick.

Scoring and baking
I usually score the dough with a single slash down the center, but it’s not necessary. I bake at 350 degrees F for about 55 minutes. If you like, you don’t even need to preheat the oven. Just pop it in cold and turn the oven on.