If you can’t bring yourself to settle down with a sourdough starter, yet want to bake delicious homemade bread, swipe right on this sandwich bread made with commercial yeast. You get all the bread you want, when you want it, without committing to years or even decades of feeding and caring for a sourdough starter. Because once you start a sourdough starter, you are tied to each other until one of you dies.
I’ve wanted to post a sandwich bread recipe made with store-bought yeast for a while—several people have asked—but I very rarely bake anything but sourdough, my true love. Anything else doesn’t feel quite right. Fortunately, this week my daughter Charlotte—young, carefree and home from school—baked the bread she has been making in Montreal, bread made with commercial yeast.
Charlotte made two loaves, pictured in this blog post—one with butter and a vegan version without butter. Both loaves rose and baked in pretty much the exact same way and both tasted delicious. So you need not worry about the butter-free version misbehaving. (UPDATE 01/31/21: I’ve also made this with olive oil in place of butter and it works well.)
This sandwich bread recipe would make a perfect contender to sourdough-ize with discard, combining the flavor of sourdough with the quick rise—and near instant gratification—of store-bought yeast. I’ll have to try that next, after we’ve polished off this bread, so like tomorrow.
Charlotte’s Easy Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
- 3 cups warm water, 105°F to 110°F
- ¼ cup brown sugar or maple syrup or honey
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened or olive oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons active dry yeast
- 4 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
- 3 cups unbleached bread flour or unbleached all-purpose
- Combine the warm water, brown sugar, salt, softened butter and yeast in a large bowl. Stir in the whole wheat flour until combined well. Add the bread flour, ½ cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Form the dough into a ball and turn out onto a floured surface. Add more flour, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, if the dough is too sticky to work with. Knead for about 7 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turn the dough over to lightly grease all sides, and cover with a plate. Let rest for 1 to 1 ½ hours in a warm spot, until doubled in size.
- While the dough proofs, butter two 8-inch by 4-inch metal loaf pans. If vegan, use oil to grease the pans.
- Punch down the dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and cut the dough into two halves. Flatten the first half into a rectangle, approximately 8 inches by 6 inches. Beginning at a 6-inch side, roll up the dough and push in the sides gently, until you have formed an even log. Repeat with the second half of the dough. Place the formed loaves in the pans, seams down, and tuck the ends under the loaves.
- Cover the loaves with the dishtowel. Let rest in a warm spot for about an hour until they puff up above the edge of the pan.
- About 15 minutes before the bread is ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425°F. Bake the loaves for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned on top and the bottom of the loaves sound hollow when you tap them. Remove the loaves from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
- Store bread in a clean cloth produce bag.