Magic Multigrain Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
I am writing a kitchen romance novel.
Naturally, I am the heroine. My collection of adorable Anthropologie aprons in unparalleled, my apartment floods with natural light whenever I need to shoot a food photo, and my tall, dark, and handsome husband relishes washing the dishes. I possess imported olive oil on tap, a greenhouse roaring with fresh herbs, and, oh yeah, I bake all of our bread from scratch.
Isn’t my life gorgeous? I can envision the glossy hard cover now.
Reality time. Though I buy my olive oil at Trader Joe’s, killed the one herb garden I had, and Ben doesn’t necessarily grin while scrubbing pots, thanks to Magic Multigrain Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread, every PB&J from here on out will be on scratch-made bread.
Yeast breads have a reputation for being difficult, time-consuming, and all-around scary to bake. Sandwich breads are often viewed especially horrific, since they must walk a texture tightrope: study enough to withstand thin slicing and sloppy sauces, yet soft and tender enough to enjoy. Whole wheat is most challenging of all, since whole-wheat flours are heavier and can render the final product more “brick” than “bread.”
What if I told you that in a few short, almost exclusively unattended hours you could be enjoying your very own gooey grilled cheese, tempting peanut butter toast, or straight-up butter-topped slice of 100% from scratch, 100% whole wheat, perfect sandwich bread?
Carb fantasies do come true with Magic Multigrain Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread.
Whether this is your first or your five-hundredth loaf of homemade bread, you are going to adore and master Magic Multigrain Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread. As I mentioned in my Rosemary Olive Oil Bread and 100% Whole Wheat Pizza Dough posts, bread baking is much more approachable than it seems, and the bread that you bake at home—even “bad” bread—will blow the crust off anything commercially produced.
Just think of our homesteading ancestors; my great-grandma turned out a decent loaf in a drafty hut with a wood-burning stove and no measuring cups. Surely we can manage with a pre-heatable oven and electricity on our side.
With that pioneering perspective, bid Sara Lee goodbye and say hello to Magic Multigrain Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread.
Never ever have I been so in love with my toast as I have been since Magic Multigrain Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread entered my kitchen and stole my carb-craving heart. Magic Multigrain Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread nails the sweet-spot of being tender and fluffy, yet hearty. I call this bread “Magic” because it will both melt on your tongue with tenderness and hold up to whatever schmear of messy sauces and melty cheeses you desire, even when placed in a panini press. Slather with liberal abandon. Magic Multigrain Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread can take it.
Now, let’s talk toast: Magic Multigrain Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread and your toaster are soul mates. Don’t keep them apart; it’s destiny. Bake Magic Multigrain Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread, unite these lovers, then devour the best toast of your life. Anything else would be contrary to the wishes of the universe.
To ensure your Magic Multigrain Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread is a loaf of baked glory, follow these tips:
- USE VITAL WHEAT GLUTEN. In 100% whole grain breads like this one, vital wheat gluten is, well, vital. Think of it like magical fairy dust that will give your whole-wheat breads elasticity and rise. In science terms, vital wheat gluten adds protein, which low-protein flours (whole-wheat) desperately need to rise like their higher-protein counterparts (bread flour). I love this one from Bob’s Red Mill, and have seen it available in many grocery stores and the internet.
- Plan ahead. This recipe calls for a “soaker.” Translation: The grains are soaked together overnight prior to being added to the dough. This process juices up the grain’s enzymes, frees sugar from starch, and gives you a loaf with perfect texture and flavor.
- Be patient. Depending on the temperature of your home, on its first rise the bread may take up to 2 and 1/2 hours to double in size (cooler = longer). A full rise is critical for a fluffy loaf. Embrace the process. Give the yeast time to do its thang and use these moments to reflect with on the wonder of a few small granules breathing life into your dough. Or go shopping.
- Put away your ruler. Not sure if your loaf has “doubled” in size? Lift two fingers, poke the dough gently, and see if your indent stays. If yes, your dough is ready to be shaped into a loaf.
- Take your bread’s temperature. Instant-read thermometers (I love this one) are super inexpensive and make the processes of determining if your loaf is “done” much clearer. When you believe the bread is ready, insulate your hands with a dishtowel, carefully flip the loaf out of the pan so its bottom is facing you, and insert the thermometer into the center. Bread not ready yet? Flip it back into the pan, then check again in 5 minutes.
- Freeze. Freshly baked bread tastes best when eaten within two days of baking. While this isn’t difficult to accomplish, if you are not going to go through the whole loaf that quickly, simple pre-slice the whole caboodle, then freeze what you don’t plan to use right away. When ready to eat, grab the slices right from the freezer, pop them right into the toaster or microwave, and voila. Instant homemade bread.
My final secret to perfect homemade bread: Think positive! You’ve got this. Be the author of your own kitchen romance with Magic Multigrain Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread.
Magic Multigrain Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
Fluffy, fragrant, and loaded with whole grains, Magic Multigrain Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread nails the sweet-spot of being tender, yet hearty. This bread will both melt on your tongue with tenderness and hold up to messy sauces, even in a panini press.
Don't be deterred by the long prep time. Nearly all of it is entirely unattended while the grains soak and dough rises.
Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 12 hours, 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 13 hours
- 3 tablespoons coarse ground cornmeal (or millet, quinoa, or amaranth)
- 3 tablespoons old fashioned rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons wheat bran
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup warm (not hot) water (110 degrees F)
- 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
- 3 cups whole wheat flour, plus a few additional tablespoons as needed
- 3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons cooked brown rice
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup buttermilk*
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds or rolled oats, for sprinkling
- The day before baking, prepare the soaker: In a small bowl, combine the cornmeal, rolled oats, and wheat bran. Pour the 1/4 cup water over the top of the grains, stir, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the soaker sit overnight at room temperature.
- In a small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast. Let stand until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. (If the yeast does not foam, it did not activate properly and this step will need to be repeated.)
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon), stir together the whole wheat flour, vital wheat gluten, brown sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the soaker, brown rice, honey, and buttermilk. Add to the dry ingredients. Add the yeast and water mixture to the dry ingredients, then mix with the paddle attachment (or a wooden spoon) on low speed until combined and the dough forms a rough, shaggy ball.
- If using a stand mixer, switch to your dough hook. If making by hand, turn dough out on a lightly floured surface. On medium-low speed (or by hand) knead the bread for 6 minutes. If using a dough hook, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Finish kneading by hand for an additional 2-4 minutes, until dough is smooth and tacky, but no longer sticky, adding a bit of extra flour as needed. (Total knead time will be 8-10 minutes).
- Coat a large mixing bowl with cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 90 minutes to 2 and 1/2 hours, until dough has doubled in bulk. (Press two fingers gently into the dough. If the indent stays and does not spring back, the dough is ready).
- Lightly grease an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a rectangle that is about 6-inches wide and 10-inches long. Press out any large bubbles.
- Starting with the short (6-inch) end of the rectangle, roll the dough into a log, pulling the dough tightly as you go. To shape the log to fit the pan, fold each end of the log towards the roll seam so that the log is the same length as the loaf pan. Pinch ends into place. Place log in the pan, seam side down, and gently press the dough down with the back of your hand so that it is evenly spread. Mist the top of dough with water (or brush lightly using a pastry brush) and sprinkle with poppy seeds or oats. Cover the pan with a dish towel or plastic wrap and let it rise again until the dough has risen about 1 inch above the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.
- Arrange your oven rack in the center and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake dough for 40-45 minutes, until the loaf is deep brown and sounds hollow when tapped (internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F).
- Remove loaf from pan and let cool 1 to 2 hours before slicing. Use a bread knife or the sharpest knife you own. Toast (or not), top liberally with butter as desired, and enjoy your handiwork.
*Ingredient Note: Don’t have (or want to purchase) buttermilk? Combine 1/2 cup regular milk with 1/2 tablespoon (1 and 1/2 teaspoons) white vinegar. Let stand 5 minutes, then use in the recipe as directed.
Adapted from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice