Another loaf of bread! I have been definitely getting almost knee deep in some bread dough lately and while it is a challenge, I love it. This is my second documented attempt at sandwich bread. It’s actually my fourth or fifth attempt at a sandwich loaf; the others were not reserved for this blog! I made a lot of mistakes the first couple times, but I kind of have the hang of it now.
This loaf is very different than the last loaf I posted. There is plenty of kneading time in this recipe but a shorter wait time, which is a way better trade off. As a result, you have the fluffy and soft bread you’re used to buying at your local grocery store but tastier and fresher.
For this post, I knew I wanted to take as many photos as possible because I feel that many are turned off of making bread completely by hand. I know I was when I started, so having visual aids help. To sort of demystify the process, I got creative. I just want to preface by saying that I have very accessible and beginner type equipment. I take my pictures with my little digital camera, and video tape with my rinky-dink handheld. It’s not the best, clearest quality but it still works.
I used my handheld this time, to tape how I formed the dough into a loaf! Loaves are folded using the envelope method, which is folding the dough in thirds, then once again in half before placing into the bread pan. These GIFs will demonstrate the process.
Turn your dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently flatten your turned out dough, using your fingertips, to about the length of your bread pan. Mine is larger than the standard size; which is why dough is bigger. Starting from the end closest to you, fold it into the middle of the dough and flatten slightly.
Grab the end furthest to you and fold into the middle, flattening slightly. This is why it’s called the envelope method; because it’s similar to how we fold letters before inserting into an envelope!
After folding, gently flatten the dough using your fingertips. We’ve got one more fold coming, so the flatter it is, the easier it is to complete the final fold.
Grab the end closest to you and fold it over; starting in the middle. Kind of like folding a paper in half, make sure the ends are all even.
Once folded, pinch the edges together. Start at one end, and work your way to the other end. Dust off any excess flour, so that the edges will stick.
Once the edges are pinched together, roll the log onto its seam. Gently pick up your log and place it into your greased loaf pan. If your dough elongates to a length longer than your pan, do not fret. Do what I did; the “dump and squish.” It’s not a technical term, yet! Place the dough in the pan and gently push it in with your fingers until the dough is comfortably in the pan. Cover and set aside for its second and final rise.
This loaf was tall, dark and very handsome! Sliced, it’s fluffy, nutty and slightly sweetened; thanks to the whole wheat flour and honey. My slices were so large, one slice was enough to make a sandwich! It was so delicious and disappeared very, very quickly. It was such a hit with my family that this recipe will 100% be my standby for loaves. I’m seriously considering not buying store bought sliced bread anymore!
I had fun making this loaf, and the instructional GIFs. I plan on making more instructional stuff in the future; possibly with better lighting and clearer video quality! I hope that these little GIFs will help you want to try making a homemade loaf of bread. It is a bit labor intensive but the end result is most definitely worth it.
Honey Whole Wheat Bread – adapted from Gold Medal Flour
Makes two small loaves or one really large loaf
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
- 1/2cup honey
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 3teaspoons salt
- 2 1/2 cups very warm water (120°F to 130°F)
- 4 1/2cups whole wheat flour
- 2 3/4 to 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
In large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. Add honey, butter, salt, 2 1/2 cups very warm water and 3 cups of the whole wheat flour. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl frequently. Beat in remaining 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour.
With spoon, stir in 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 cups of the all-purpose flour until dough pulls cleanly away from side of bowl.
On lightly floured surface, knead in remaining 1/2 to 1 cup all-purpose flour; continue kneading 5 to 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy. Grease large bowl with shortening or cooking spray; place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover; let rise in warm place 30 to 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Generously grease 2 (8×4- or 9×5-inch) loaf pans or one large loaf pan with shortening or cooking spray. Gently push fist into dough to deflate; divide in half. Shape dough into loaves using the envelope method (pictured above) and place in pans. Cover and let rise in warm place; 30 to 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Heat oven to 375°F. Uncover dough; bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F; bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until loaves sound hollow when lightly tapped. Immediately remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
- If loaves aren’t your thing, these could easily be split up into rolls. After the first rise, portion into rolls, making sure they are evenly distributed. Cover and let rise as normal. Bake at 375F for about 10-12 minutes.
- This bread can last up to a week in a bag or large plastic container at room temperature. I’d put it in the fridge after a week, if it lasts that long!
- Not into two loaves (or a really big loaf) of bread? This recipe can be easily halved.
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