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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Baking with Whole Grains: Quick and Easy Whole Wheat Bread Cooking View

Recently I was chatting with Ben about ideas for this whole grain baking series and he asked, “Why eat whole grains?  What makes them better?”  An excellent question to be sure, for anyone learning to eat more clean, whole foods.  There are many sources to explain this in much greater depth than I will here but essentially, a whole grain includes all three parts of a grain’s kernel.  As a result, whole grains have more protein, fiber and vitamins than refined grains such as white flour.  These characteristics mean that whole grains provide numerous health benefits.  For more information on whole grains and their benefits, the Whole Grains Council is a fantastic online resource.  (Side note – I’m totally pumped that my beloved popcorn is a whole grain.  Just be sure to use butter and salt sparingly to keep it a smart snack.)

When I started this series, I asked what recipes you would like to see and a great many of you enthusiastically requested a good whole wheat sandwich bread.  There are countless variations out there, and many I plan to try, but this is the first that you need to know about.  This, my friends, is a fantastic quick and easy 100% whole wheat sandwich bread.

Now, if you are relatively new to bread making you may be thinking I’m nuts for calling this recipe quick.  However, as bread recipes go, this really is about as quick and easy as it gets.  Throw all the ingredients into the bowl at the same time, mix up the dough, and let it rise.  No sponge, nothing fancy – you don’t even have to proof the yeast.  So yes, this may take about three to four hours from start to finish but only about 15 minutes of that is active.  The free time while the dough rises is glorious, and one of my most favorite things about bread making…rivaled only by the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven.  Play with the kids, read, knit, or all of the above – that’s what I do :)

King Arthur Flour has provided several great giveaways over the course of this series, and today we are giving away an awesome bread pan plus a flour coupon.  Head on over to the giveaway page to enter!  Also, be sure to check out King Arthur Flour’s Whole Grain Baking book and their website for tons more well developed and well tested whole grain recipes.

Quick and Easy Whole Wheat Bread
Yield: 1 8½-inch loaf

Ingredients

2 tbsp. (1 oz.) orange juice
1 cup (8 oz.) lukewarm water
4 tbsp. (2 oz.) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 6 pieces
3 cups (12 oz.) whole wheat flour**
3 tbsp. (1¼ oz.) sugar
Heaping ½ cup (1¼ oz.) dried potato flakes or 3 tbsp. (1¼ oz.) potato flour
¼ cup (1 oz.) nonfat dry milk
1¼ tsp. salt
2½ tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast

Cooking View

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix together.  Knead the dough (by hand or with an electric mixer) until a soft, smooth dough is formed.  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel.  Let the dough rise until puffy and nearly doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours.

  • Lightly grease an 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pan.  Gently deflate the dough on a lightly floured work surface and pat into an 8-inch square.  Roll up tightly into a log and pinch the seam shut.*  Transfer the dough to the loaf pan seam side down, press down gently so the dough reaches all the edges, and cover with a kitchen towel.  Let rise until the dough has risen about 1½ inches above the top of the loaf pan, about 1½-2 hours.

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Bake for 15 minutes, then tent loosely with foil and bake 25 more minutes or until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center reads 190˚ F.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool about 5 minutes, then turn out of the loaf pan and continue to cool at least 20 minutes before slicing.

  • *To make a loaf with a braided top, divide the dough into two portions, about two thirds and one third (I use a kitchen scale to make sure I divide the dough correctly.)


    Shape the larger portion of dough into a tight loaf and press into the pan, seam side down.  Divide the remaining portion of dough into three equal parts.  Shape each portion into a rope about 11 inches long.


  • Pinch the three ropes together and braid.


  • Place the braided portion of dough on top of the loaf in the pan and press down on top.


  • Cover with a towel and let rise until the dough has risen about 1½ inches above the top of the loaf pan, about 1½-2 hours.  Bake as directed above.

  • **Whole grain baking tip:  As soon as whole wheat flour is milled, the oil inside begins to oxidize and over time, will turn rancid giving the flour a bitter taste.  To avoid this bitter flavor, store whole wheat flour in the freezer (immediately, even before you open the bag).  Let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes before using in a recipe.

Source

  • Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner

    Great recipe! I’ve never used instant yeast, so I may proof my own, but I’m very interested in the texture with the addition of potato flakes.

  • http://www.kerrycooks.wordpress.com/ Kerry

    Yum! Thanks for this recipe Annie, it looks so nice with the plait on top.

  • Warm Vanilla Sugar

    This looks fabulous and is such a classic that NEEDS to be baked at home. So much better that way!

  • ballewal

    That recipe looks great! Do you have any good resources for vegan whole wheat bread recipes?

  • annieseats

    I don’t, but then again I haven’t specifically looked for them. I’m sure they are out there!

  • HalfBakedHarvest

    Such a beautiful bread!

  • http://www.hearthandhomefront.blogspot.com/ Moira @ Hearth and Homefront

    Thank you! Sandwich bread is one of the things I’d really like to start making myself instead of buying it at the store and this is just the kind of recipe I’ve been looking for. Question, though, where would I find potato flakes? Will most grocery stores have them, or should I try somewhere online?

  • Mandy Sosebee Mrozek

    When you “grease” a pan do you use butter or have an alternate option?

  • Heather

    Looks great! I love making homemade bread, but struggle to find one that is really good for sandwiches.

  • annieseats

    I generally use butter but you can use whatever you like. Canola oil, olive oil, etc.

  • Caroline L.

    Can’t wait to try this (or, pass it along for my mom to make as she’s loving homemade bread right now, and I’ll just taste-test!) … can’t live without a good bread!

  • http://beourguest.cruiseholidays.com/ Cheryl

    Oh I love home made bread. Such a delight to add your own fresh ingredients. Thanks for the recipe Annie.

  • http://www.buttercreamfanatic.com/ Nora @ Buttercream Fanatic

    The whole wheat sandwich bread question is a big one in my house. Bread maker versions never get a great review, but personally I hate the store-bought kind! Can’t wait to try this one.

  • http://www.quarterlifecrisiscuisine.com/ Ashley Bee

    Lovely! I’m on a low-to-no-carb diet, but when I start introducing them back I’ll be all about the whole wheat and whole grain thing. This sandwich bread will definitely be on my list!

  • Pat Dolan

    Bread is the perfect baking project for parents with kids at home. Short active time, longer waiting time, healthy finished product.

  • Cassandra May

    I’ve been looking for a good whole wheat bread recipe! I can’t wait to try it! My toddler eats so much toast it would be great to have bread without all the preservatives!

  • Denise Wesely

    I swear when I got on this site a short while ago there was no recipe to be found. Now it’s showing up. Am I going crazy or did you have it off this page for a short while?

  • annieseats

    We’ve been dealing with some technical issues on the back end tonight. They should be resolved now ::fingers crossed:: Sorry for the glitch!

  • bwinkler

    Hi Annie, question for you. I have some whole wheat pastry flour. Would it work in this recipe, or is it better for something else? Thanks for all the great whole grain ideas!

  • Sarah El Guerrab

    I already made this!! It turned put PERFECT! Really soft, and a wonderful fluffiness!

  • annieseats

    I think it’s always best to use what the recipe calls for since that is how the recipe was developed, and you will get the results that are intended. I would save it for other uses…and if you keep following the series, I’ll have some ideas for you soon!

  • Denise Wesely

    Good. My mind’s still intact….at least until tomorrow. lol

  • Sara L’arcobaleno di Sara

    Hi Annie, I’m Sara. Sorry for my english, I read it better than I write it. Your blog is very nice, I follow you with pleasure.
    Bye bye
    Sara

  • Karen Burkitt

    potato flakes are just instant mashed potatoes and can be found in any grocery store in the side dish section.

  • Karen Burkitt

    Annie, this looks really great and I can’t wait to try it. Summer sandwiches, here I come!

  • Harriet B

    Just to check, you made this with regular whole wheat flour, not white whole wheat, yes? Thanks! Looks great!

  • annieseats

    Yes, just regular whole wheat. Enjoy!

  • http://www.seehubbycook.com/ JT and Dani

    Orange juice? Potato flour? Iiiiiiinteresting! Does the potato flour give it a little more body? More importantly, do you get to taste the subtle orange?

  • annieseats

    The orange juice helps temper the sometimes bitter flavor that comes from wheat flour. The potato flour makes it more tender and soft. And both tricks definitely worked – this had the best flavor and texture of any wheat bread I’ve made yet!

  • http://www.hearthandhomefront.blogspot.com/ Moira @ Hearth and Homefront

    Now those I can find! I’ve never thought of them by that name before. Thanks!

  • Lulucylemon

    Making this right now! I’ve had great success making your sourdough recipe with my pre-existing starter. With this recipe, any suggestions on kneading time with a stand mixer/dough hook? It seemed to take a while to get that elastic quality I’m used to with white breads.

  • nessa

    Such a pretty loaf! I bet your house smelled amazing :)

  • http://damndelicious.net/ Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

    Great tutorial! As much as I cook and bake, baking breads is very new to me so this here is a great starting point for me!

  • http://www.girlgonelocal.com/ Girl Gone Local

    I just recently made a vegan whole wheat bread recipe. It’s from Mark Bittman’s book Food Matters. Here’s a link I found: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=1415031

    I added two tablespoons of maple syrup just to sweeten it up. It was very good!

  • http://www.girlgonelocal.com/ Girl Gone Local

    I just recently started baking my own bread and I have to try this one soon! I love the braided detail on the top…it reminds me that baking bread is special and meant to be enjoyed. So much better than store-bought! Thanks for sharing :)

  • simplysandi

    Bread intimidates me, but I really want to get past it. This recipe looks amazing!

  • annieseats

    I’ve made this a few times now and the dough comes together really quickly for me. I’d guess under 6 minutes probably. Not sure what might be causing trouble for you…

  • Anna

    Can’t wait to try this! Have you ever tried to freeze it? If so- did it thaw and taste ok?

  • Jennifer Kozar

    I am going to try this. Thanks!!!

  • Lulucylemon

    Thanks for the reply. It turned out great! Maybe next time I’ll worry less about it :)

  • Annie Gonzales

    I made this last night and it is delicious! So moist and fluffy!

  • annieseats

    Yes, it freezes well. Enjoy!

  • Helen

    I tried this recipe today but it did not turn out well for me. After combining all the ingredients, before kneading, the mixture was extremely dry. I used the required amount of liquid so not sure what I missed. Also, my dough never got quite soft but seemed tough and never rose as much. Wondering if the yeast or the temp of the water was the culprit. Thanks.

  • annieseats

    Did you measure by weight or volume?

  • Helen

    I believe I meansured by volume (using cup).

  • annieseats

    That is likely the problem. Measuring by weight is far more accurate and will yield more consistent results. Volume measurement leaves a lot more room for error, as your 1 cup may be different than my 1 cup (scooped, spooned and leveled, how dense was the flour in the storage bin, etc. etc.) I recommend measuring by weight for the best results.