Light Wheat Sandwich Bread

Circle B Kitchen

From The Bread Baker's Apprentice

This makes a really wonderful loaf of sandwich bread and is great for toast too. It really is one of the easiest bread doughs to work with. I always start with 1 1/2 cup of water, but add however much is needed to make a fairly moist dough. In the summer when it's humid, I find the 1 1/2 cups is perfect, but in the dry winter months I almost always need to add quite a bit more. The more you make this, the easier it is to gauge the moisture of the dough. And yes, it's says to knead the dough for 10 minutes. What else do you have to do? If you decide to add the honey, you can either knock back on the water just a tad or add a couple more tablespoons of flour to the dough.

Makes one 2-lb. loaf

1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour

1 ¾ cups (8 oz) whole-wheat flour

2 T (.6 oz) gluten flour (optional)

1 1/2 tablespoons (.75 oz.) granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons (.38 oz.) salt

3 tablespoons (1 oz.) powdered milk

1 1/2 teaspoons (.17 oz.) instant yeast

2 tablespoons (1 oz.) shortening or unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 ½+ cups (12 oz.) water, at room temperature

2 tablespoons of honey (optional)

1. Stir together the bread flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar, gluten, salt, powdered milk, and yeast in mixing bowl. Add the shortening, and water. Mix on low speed with the until the ingredients form a ball.

2. Knead dough for about 10 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

4. Remove the dough from the bowl and press it by hand into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick, 6 inches wide, and 8 to 10 inches long. Form it into a loaf by working from the short side of the dough, rolling up the length of the dough one section at a time, pinching the crease with each rotation to strengthen the surface tension. It will spread wider as you roll it. Pinch the final seam closed with the back edge of your hand or with your thumbs. Place the loaf in a lightly oiled 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch bread pan; the ends of the loaf should touch the ends of the pan to ensure an even rise. Mist the top with spray oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap.

5. Proof at room temperature for approximately 60 to 90 minutes or until the dough crests above the lip of the pan.

6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

7. Bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and continue baking for another 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the oven. The finished loaf should register 190 degrees in the center, be golden brown on the top and the sides, and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

8. When the bread is finished baking, remove it immediately from the loaf pan and cool it on a rack for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours.