Last fall I shared my recipe for Rye and Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf. That is now my go-to recipe for rye sandwich bread, and it makes a perfect base for for reubens and other hearty sandwiches. In fact, it is so easy to make and my wife and I love it so much that I wondered if I could make a whole wheat version of it. So I substituted whole wheat flour for the rye flour, and changed the sweetener to honey which got me off to a good start. With a little more tweaking and testing, this recipe for Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread was born.
This bread has 66% whole wheat flour, with a bit of honey for flavor and a little oil to soften the crumb. I use either traditional red whole wheat or white whole wheat flour, or sometimes even a combination of both. The white whole wheat flour has a sweeter and milder taste plus a lighter color, while the traditional red whole wheat flour gives the bread a darker color and more of a classic whole grain taste. I find no real difference in the performance of the two flours, and both make a great bread. It is important to use high protein flours intended for bread baking. Soft wheat or pastry flours don’t give bread the lift that higher protein bread flours give. I am a fan of King Arthur flours, and I always use either their unbleached bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour for baking. For a real taste treat try using an heirloom whole wheat flour like Red Fife or Turkey Red.
I use the dough cycle of my bread machine to do the work of kneading and the first rise. If kneading by hand, around 8-10 minutes should do it. If using a stand mixer, knead at low speed for about 5-6 minutes. After the first bulk ferment, I form the dough into a rectangle and proof in a greased 8-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ loaf pan.
The dough typically takes 60 to 90 minutes to rise, depending on the room temperature, and is ready for the oven when it has risen 1″ over the rim of the loaf pan.
Be sure and let the dough rise high enough before baking to avoid the bread splitting when it expands in the oven. And let the finished bread cool thoroughly before slicing. It slices even better the next day. I freeze any leftovers, and I try and always have some of this bread in the freezer since we use it so often.