Soft whole wheat sandwich bread topped with oats. This whole grain bread is perfect for sandwiches is easy to slice and bakes up beautifully.
I love making my family bread. OK. That sounds a little strange to me. I don’t love making my family into bread. I don’t love making a family (recipe) bread. I love making bread for my family. That sounds better.
I really do. It’s a toss up between bread and sweets for my favorite things to bake. Even more so, I love when I can make something delicious that’s free of preservatives.
I challenge myself to make bread on a regular basis. Time after time it’s gotten easier as I learn what dough should feel and look like. Yeast, temperature, rising, they all used to scare me off. But as I put my heart and soul into it I fell in love and haven’t looked back.
Now as I’ve progressed I’m trying more challenging things. It’s really quite fun, actually. There is no greater satisfaction in the kitchen than perfect rising dough that turns out into marvelous breads, buns, pretzels, or pizza dough.
I’m not gonna lie to you. This bread is not the easiest bread to make. It’s not ultra super simple.
But I will tell you the truth. It’s THE BEST WHOLE WHEAT bread I’ve yet to make. And I’ve tried quite a few over the last 2 years. So for me personally it’s the worth the extra trouble.
I don’t know if you’ve ever worked with a starter for bread or not. But DO NOT be intimidated. A starter is like ‘magic’ for your bread. It adds an extra depth of flavor as the yeast, water and flour ferment for several hours or overnight.
Starters add wonderful flavor to your bread but they also help the bread to rise, improve browning of the crust and give a longer shelf life.
Can I get an some applause for that? Nothing stinks more than spending quality time making bread and then it’s moldy before you can finish the loaf. This bread easily lasted 4 days in my house. I was quite pleased.
I would love nothing than to encourage you to get out of your comfort zone in the kitchen and get your hands a little grubby with dough. It’s so fun and you’ll be feeding your family health and life.
Love and blessings,
Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread with Oats
For Starter Sponge:
- 2 cups 11 oz bread flour
- 1 cup warm water 110 degrees
- 1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid rise yeast
- 1/4 cup very warm water 105-115 degrees
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 3 1/2 cups 18.48 oz whole wheat flour
- 2 1/3 cups 12.50 oz bread flour
- 2 cups 6 oz old fashioned oats
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 2 3/4 cups cool water 75 to 78 degrees
- 1 1/2 cups of starter sponge above *sponge creates more than this. Only used specified amount.
- 3 Tablespoons honey
- 2 Tablespoons molasses
- 2 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- Extra oats for topping
For Starter Sponge:
- Combine bread flour, water and yeast in a large bowl. Stir with a wooden spin just until mixed through. Cover with oiled plastic and allow to set at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.
- In a large bowl combine warm water and yeast. Stir with a fork to blend and allow yeast to dissolve. Set aside to stand for 3 minutes.
- In a medium bowl whisk whole wheat flour, bread flour, oats and salt together. Set aside.
- Add the cool water, starter sponge, honey, molasses and oil to the yeast mixture and mix with your fingers for 2 minutes. Mixture will be gloppy and feel messy and will be slightly foamy. Add the flour mixture and stir with your fingers to blend in flour, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Fold dough over itself until it gathers into a shaggy mess.
- Move dough to a slightly floured surface and knead for 7-8 minutes by hand. Or transfer to a mixing bowl attached with dough hook and knead on low speed (level 2) for about 7-8 minutes. Dough should clear sides of bowl but not bottom. Add as little flour as possible. Dough should be soft and moist. If it's too wet add a tablespoon of flour at a time. If it's too stiff add cool water 1 tablespoon at a time until you have a supple dough.
- Cover dough with oiled plastic and let rest for about 20 minutes. You should be able to stretch it easily but it won't be transparent because of the oatmeal.
- Knead the dough for 2-3 more minutes. Lift up the dough. Lightly oil the bowl and place the dough back into the bowl. Turn to coat dough with oil. Cover with oiled plastic and let rise at room temperature for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours OR until doubled.
- Dough is ready when you make an indention with your finger and it does not spring back.
- Remove dough from bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Shape into a log. *See directions below.*
- Place extra oats in a shallow dish. Mist or lightly brush tops of loaves with water. Roll tops of loafs in oats. Place in greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans. Cover with oiled plastic. Let rise for about 2 hours OR until doubled.
- Thirty minutes before baking preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place cast iron skillet and mini loaf pan or other small pan (not glass) on the bottom rack of the oven. Place baking stone (if you have one) two rungs above on oven rack.
- Fill plastic spray bottle with water. Prepare several cups of water to be boiled later using a teakettle or saucepan.
- Five to 10 minutes before baking turn water to boil. Carefully place two ice cubes in the oven in small loaf pan. This creates moisture.
- When loaves are ready place pans on the baking stone. If not using just slide onto oven rack. Quickly pour water into the skillet and shut the oven door. After 1 minute quickly spray loaves with bread and shut door again.
- Reduce oven temperature to 400 after 20 minutes. Rotate loaves for even browning. Bake for another 25-30 minutes until loaves sound slightly hollow when tapped on bottom. Sides and bottom should feel firm. If you have a thermometer loaves should read around 210 degrees.
- Cool completely on wire rack before cutting.
- To freeze: Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and place in freezer bag.
Directions for shaping loaf:
- Flatten dough into a rectangle.
- Fold top 1/3 towards you.
- Fold bottom 1/3 up and away from you overlapping last fold.
- Turn dough a quarter turn and repeat. Folding the top edge down and the bottom edge up again. Pat the seam to seal it.
- From the top edge fold the dough one third down and seal the seam. Repeat one or two more times until the loaf is a nice round log. Seal final seam with heel of your hand.
Adapted from a recipe in
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