Over the past few months, I have been working to phase out almost all prepared items from the grocery store. While making basic sandwich bread isn't hard to do, it does take some planning and preparation. However, it ends up costing pennies, is all natural with no HFCS and preservatives. Because I pack a PB&J sandwich for my husband almost daily, bread is always on the shopping list. While working with yeasted doughs can be a challenge, I believe I have somewhat mastered remedial bread baking.
I love when cooking, baking, and eating brings back memories of people or times in life. My Grandfather, who passed away two years ago today, was a baker his whole life. I can remember going over to Nanny and Grandpa's house and finding cookies, coffee cakes, breads, and many other goodies on the kitchen counter, my favorite was the chocolate coffee cake. Though Grandpa never worked on yeasted breads with me (only cakes and buttercreams), whenever I smell the blooming yeast, feel the smushy dough give way under my palms, or pull a loaf of bread out of the oven, I think of Grandpa.
It's all actually a little ironic, I have to say. My mom said Grandpa told her that it made him mad when grocery stores started opening bakeries, and when boxed mixes came out so the general population could begin baking at home. He believed you should leave it to the experts, and support local, small bakeries. I do agree with his philosophy to a point (support local businesses), but I also feel such satisfaction when I slice up my own baked from scratch bread. And because he loved his granddaughters so much, I can't help but think he'd be more than happy to have a sandwich on my made-from-scratch bread.
While this bread was quite tasty, it wasn't exactly as light and airy as store-bought wonder bread type loaves. I think part of that is because the loaf is all wheat flour, which has a tendency to make a dense loaf. Also, I think a longer bread pan would have let the loaf rise a bit more in the last proof. However, I was able to get a week's worth of sandwiches, and they were quite tasty!
While I don't think I'll be grinding nuts to make nut butters from scratch, maybe jam should be my next foray into operation: everything from scratch. My father in law is a canning expert...
Tips and Trades:
-I printed this recipe off and then realized it was meant for a bread machine, so I adapted it a bit to be made without one. If you have a bread maker, by all means use it!
-I didn't use my kitchen scale because the recipe was written using cups not weight, so when measuring, fluff up your flour, then fill the cup without packing it, level it off with a knife.
-I used a mixture of whole wheat pastry flour and unbleached white whole wheat flour, you can use any combination of flours to suit your taste (preferred brand is King Arthur).
Honey Oat Wheat Sandwich Bread
adapted from allrecipes.com
1 c. warm water (about 110*)
1/4 c. honey
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. salt
1 envelope active dry yeast
1/2 c. rolled oats
1 c. unbleached white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
Quick oats for dusting, if desired
Add water, honey, oil, salt and yeast to a mixing bowl, stir to combine, set aside for 10 minutes while yeast blooms.
Add flours and oats to the yeast mixture, use the paddle attachment of a mixer, turn speed to low to combine.
When flour is absorbed, take the paddle off and attach the dough hook.
Turn speed back on low, knead for 5 minutes.
If dough is too sticky, add flour 1 tbsp. at a time until it all comes together.
Alternately, if dough is too dry, add 1 tbsp. of warm water until dough comes together.
(This will depend on the heat and humidity in your kitchen)
Form dough into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, cover lightly with a damp kitchen towel and place in a non drafty, warm place for an hour.
Line a bread loaf pan with parchment or oil well.
Once dough has doubled in size, punch down, form into a log, pinching the sides down to the bottom.
Place in the loaf pan, cover with the damp towel and allow it to rise again for an hour.
Preheat oven to 400*
Dust the top of the loaf with quick oats or oat bran.
Place loaf pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 325* and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack until bread is at room temperature.
Store in an air tight bag or container for up to 5 days.