It’s Somer Saturday. I love bread, really really love it. Some of my fondest childhood food memories are of hot, homemade bread straight out of the oven slathered in strawberry freezer jam. Sorry gluten-free friends!
Do you know what’s in your bread? When I buy bread, I typically try to buy the bread with the shortest and most recognizable ingredient list. Last week I was in a small store and there wasn’t a single loaf of bread on the shelf that didn’t contain high fructose corn syrup or dairy in some form, in fact I think ALL of the loaves of bread contained both of those ingredients, plus 20 or so others, most of which were not wheat, but additives, preservatives and fillers. So I left the store, frustrated and without buying bread.
I have been making artisan bread in 5 minutes a day like a mad woman, but the sandwich loaf recipe had eggs in it, 5 of them. No thanks.
I needed a recipe that was quick, easy and soft instead of being heavy as a brick like some whole wheat breads. One that would slice beautifully and be as at home with avocado, lettuce, hummus and tomato as it is with PB&J or toast. I have been experimenting and was unable to come up with one that met all my requirements. Blast.
I pulled out my trusty family cookbook and decided to adapt my favorite recipe from my sister Holly and remove the oil, the honey and the white flour….. I did it and it turned out amazing.
Perfect 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
3 C. warm water
4 C. whole wheat flour (from hard red winter wheat)
2 C. white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour (Holly’s ratio was half wheat, half all-purpose white)
1/4 C. agave (her recipe used 2/3 C. honey)
1 heaping T. yeast
1/4 C. vital wheat gluten (great for higher rise, less dense bread)
1 T. salt
1 T. lecithin (I added this ingredient, mine is vegetable based, some are egg based, so double-check your source before buying) makes bread soft without the addition of oil, Holly’s recipe used 2/3 C. of oil. No wonder it was so yummy. Like cake bread or something!
Method: I combined all the ingredients in a big bowl with a wooden spoon, then I dumped all my ingredients into an ancient bread-maker that I bought ages ago at a good will store for $10 bucks, I never use the thing to cook bread, but I use it to knead bread and it does a smash-up job on the dough cycle. If you own a Bosch or other fancy gadget that will knead dough, then by all means, use it! (I love my Cuisinart food processor, but it sucks at kneading dough, it always gets sucked beneath the dough hook vortex and comes out the bottom and gums up the whole machine, sorry, traumatizing). While dough is kneading, preheat oven to 200 degrees. After the bread kneads for about 10 minutes, pull it out, divide in half and plonk dough into 2 lightly oiled bread pans.
If you have silicone bread pans, you can cook without oiling them. Turn the oven off, put bread in on the lowest rack and let rise for 20-30 minutes or until at least doubled
and then turn the oven on to 350 degrees with the bread still in, don’t worry about pre-heating time, just set the timer for 30 minutes and walk away. When the timer goes off, remove bread from oven and let sit in the pan for a few minutes so it will release easier. Cool on cooling racks. I slice my bread once it’s cool then store in a bread bag so I’m not having to slice it every time I want a piece.