Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hearty Sandwich Bread

I've written before about how Mark is a huge sandwich fan. I can't seem to break him of his desire for deli meat and hearty sandwich bread, but worse things have happened. I'm saving money by making homemade bread, and I feel better knowing the ingredients, process and hands that made it. Because Mark works late and leaves early, I've been trying to help him by making his lunches at night. I noticed the bread was so soft after the first two-three days of baking, it was so soft that it wasn't holding up to a big turkey sandwich without tearing! Softness isn't bad for a dinner bread, or even a piece of toast, but it was problematic for the sandwiches. So, I found a recipe on, and basically butchered it until it resembled a loaf that had the taste, consistency, and ingredients we both liked.

I've been baking loaves on Sunday afternoons, which means we often each French toast on either Saturday or Sunday to use up any last pieces of the prior week's loaf. I even made chocolate bread pudding with a stale heel one week! This is a very easy, low-maintenance loaf if you have a bread machine. It makes a smaller loaf than my other recipe, which works well for us, because we only need about 10 slices - 4 sandwiches for Mark, and 2 pieces for me on the mornings I have eggs.

3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons of any mixture of the following: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, millet, quinoa, amaranth, or cornmeal (I use whatever I have on hand!)
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon milk, water, yogurt, buttermilk, or olive oil
2 T honey
1 1/2 tablespoons SAF yeast
1 T vital wheat gluten (to help with the rise)

Add water, butter, milk, and honey to bread machine. Then spoon the flour over the liquid mixture. Add seeds, gluten, and yeast. (I like to add my salt when the fruit and nut cycle beeps so that it doesn't interfere with the yeast action, but most recipes say to just add it with the flour.) Choose bread dough cycle. Mine runs about 90 minutes.

When dough is complete, punch down and transfer to baking pan, stick in a warm oven (or warm room) and let rise til doubled in size. Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes. I use my meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature is 190 degrees - otherwise I end up with gummy bread. This makes great toast, and Mark loves his turkey and avocado sandwich on this bread.

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