The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Rustic bread versus sandwich bread

Shajen's picture

Rustic bread versus sandwich bread

Question: what makes a rustic bread versus a sandwich bread? My husband's got me on a quest for (a) the perfect rye sandwich bread and (b) the perfect rustic rye for eating with stew. (The fact that rye is not my favorite bread and I never baked with it before I started on this quest doesn't help. But I'd really like to do this for him, if for no other reason than it makes him feel like he's sharing in the cost of the flour.)

Of the recipes I've tried, sandwich bread has sweetener and is handled less gently to create a tighter crumb, and the crust ought to be soft (though I haven't figured out what all makes that happen yet). Rustic bread generally has no sweetener and the aim is for big holes and crisp or chewy crumb. Is there anything else? And does anyone have general tips when aiming for one or the other?

TRK's picture

Rustic and sandwich are kind of imprecise terms, but generally people mean enriched bread (i.e. oil, egg, and/or milk added) baked in a loaf pan when they say sandwich bread.  Rustic bread is generally lean (i.e. just flour, water, salt, and yeast or starter).  It is the addition of milk/oil/egg that softens the crust of the sandwich bread.  The steaming most people use when they bake hearth breads also makes for a crisper crust.  The large holes in hearth bread are the result of hot bake (usually between 400 and 500) and a wet dough.  Sandwich bread is generally baked cooler (adding sugar and milk make the crust more burn more easily) and completely degassed before shaping.


Have a look at Bread Baker's Apprentice in a bookstore or library for an exhaustive treatment of this subject. 

ilovetodig's picture


As I read your question,. I was eating a piece of homemade rye toast with cheese melted on it thinking how delicious it was.  I experimented with the no-knead recipe and substituted 1/2 cup of organic rye flour and 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and about 3 tablespons of caraway seeds and it turned out great.   I think that next time I will try for 1 cup of rye  and leave out the whole wheat.  This is not a sandwich rye, but is great for soup or stew or toast.  I also made a loaf in which I substituted 1/2 cup each of whole wheat and oat bran and it is very good, too.  My husband is not a rye bread eater, but I love it and this loaf is as good as any I have ever bought or made.  The ease of making it only adds to the enjoyment!!  I used 2 cups white all-purpose, 1/2 cup of rye. 1/2 cup of whole wheat, 1 1/2 teas. salt, 1/4 teas yeast and slightly over 1 1/2 cups of water.  I hope you find your recipes and I would love a recipe for good sandwich rye if you get one. 
Shajen's picture

Thanks, TRK. I'm glad to know what it is that softens the crust--that's been bugging me. I do want to get BBA, but it'll probably have to wait for my birthday (two months).

And thanks for the suggestion, ilovetodig.