What’s that? You think it’s been a long time since I posted a bread recipe, and you’ve been dreaming of finding that perfect homemade 100% whole wheat sandwich bread recipe? Yup, I could sense your needs and cravings, and I’m here to help!
Actually, I’ve been flipping between making our marbled rye loaf and this 100% whole wheat sandwich bread for the last few months. Each holds a special place in my tummy, but this whole wheat sandwich bread is always a personal favourite. It was one of the first types of bread I started making years ago, and once I figured out a few key steps, it never fails to disappoint. It’s slightly sweet and not at all dry or stodgy, like some whole wheat breads can be. It freezes well and toasts up like a dream. What more could you ask for?
If you feel like you’re unsure about diving into a 100% whole wheat loaf, start with a 50-50 mix of whole wheat and white, unbleached bread flour, then keep pushing up the whole wheat content until you find a loaf you love.
This recipe makes 1 loaf and uses 400 g of flour. So, start with 200 g of whole wheat and 200 g of white. I’ve found a nice middle-of-the-road whole wheat bread will use 300 g of whole wheat and 100 g of unbleached bread flour.
A few tips for making a 100% whole wheat sandwich bread:
- Whole wheat flour can soak up a tonne of liquid. When you initially start kneading this dough, you will think it is too wet and sticky, and will really want to add more flour. DON’T! I’ve done it before, and the result is not pretty. Give the dough time to rest and absorb all the liquid.
- In order to make whole wheat bread nice and soft, you need to knead the bread for a long time OR you can use a bit of a cheats method. Have you ever heard of the stretch-and-fold method of kneading? If not, keep reading!
- Give the dough time to rise. Sometimes I find I have to wait longer to see the dough dome over the top of the pan. This is okay! Patience yields fantastic bread.
The Stretch-and-Fold Method:
No, we’re not talking about your daily yoga routine (although, it would be a good name)! This is a way of coaxing the bread to develop more gluten and structure, without needing a lot of kneading time (haha). It’s also a great way to deal with dough that’s on the wet, sticky side.
Basically, you start with a round ball of (probably sticky) dough on the counter. Use wet or oiled hands to gently stretch one side of the dough out, then fold it back over the dough. Do the same with all four sides (think north, south, east, west). After you’ve stretched and folded each side of the dough, turn it over and tuck it into a nice little ball. Cover it with a bowl and leave it sit for 10 minutes.
You’re going to do the stretch-and-fold a total of 4 times, waiting 10 minutes in between. So this process will take you 30 minutes. Each time you finish a stretch-and-fold, the dough should feel much more elastic and less sticky. By the end, you’ll have a nice, soft ball of dough!
Timing options for baking your whole wheat bread:
- Bake it the same day: Shape it into a log shape, and place it into a parchment-lined loaf pan. Leave it in a warm place to rise until the dough domes over the top of the pan by about 2 cm (1 inch). Then, bake away.
- Leave it overnight, and bake the next day: Shape the dough and place it into the parchment-lined loaf pan, but then cover it with plastic and put it in the fridge overnight. Then, bake in the morning.
- Leave it for a few days before baking: You can leave the dough in the fridge for up to 4 days, unshaped in a tighly-sealed bowl. Whenever you want to bake the bread, give yourself a few hours, for the dough to warm up, be shaped and rise. Then, bake away.
If you’re looking to boost the nutrients of your morning toast or your daily sandwich, give this 100% whole wheat sandwich bread a try. You might be pleasantly surprised!
- 120 g (1/2 cup) water
- 140 g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) milk
- 7 g (1 pkg) instant yeast
- 400 g whole wheat flour
- 35 g brown sugar
- 45 g vegetable oil
- 5 g salt
- In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the milk and water for about 35 seconds, to make it lukewarm. Stir in the yeast and leave it sit for 5 minutes to bubble up while you're measuring the other ingredients.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the whole wheat flour, brown sugar, vegetable oil and salt. Pour in the yeast liquid and use the dough hook attachment to mix the bread until the dough just starts to combine, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the mixer and leave the bread sit for 5 minutes, to start to absorb all the liquid.
- Knead the dough with the dough hook, on low speed, for 6 to 7 minutes. The dough should be soft and sticky.
- Increase the speed to medium and knead for another 4 minutes. If the dough is extremely sticky, add more flour, 1 tbsp at a time, but otherwise, the dough will be slightly sticky.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured or oiled counter top. Complete 1 round of stretch-and-fold, tuck the dough into a ball and cover it with a bowl for 10 minutes. Repeat the stretch-and-fold (with 10 minute wait) another 3 times. So you will do the stretch-and-fold a total of 4 times, over the course of 30 minutes.
- If you want to bake the bread immediately, roll the dough into a log shape and place into a parchment-lined 8-inch loaf pan. Leave to rise in a draft-free location until the dough just domes over the edge of the pan (30 to 60 minutes).
- If you want to bake the bread the next morning, roll the dough into a log shape and place into the parchment-lined pan. Cover with plastic and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, allow the bread to warm up while you pre-heat the oven.
- If you want to wait a few days before baking the bread, leave the dough unshaped in a tightly-sealed bowl, for up to 4 days. On the day of baking, remove the dough from the fridge at least 2 hours before baking. Allow the dough to come up to room temperature before shaping and placing into the pan.
- In all cases, pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. When finished, the loaf should be nicely browned on top and sound slightly hollow, when tapped on the bottom.
Enjoy this 100% whole wheat sandwich bread!