Charlotte’s Easy Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

a full loaf and a cut loaf of whole wheat sandwich bread
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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.

hands kneading sandwich bread dough on marble slab
Kneading the dough
a full loaf and a cut loaf of whole wheat sandwich bread
a full loaf and a cut loaf of whole wheat sandwich bread
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5 from 2 votes

Charlotte’s Easy Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Resting Time3 hrs
Servings: 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

If you’re unsure how old your yeast is, proof it. Stir the sugar and yeast into the warm water. The yeast should foam up in about 5 minutes. If it doesn’t foam up, your bread won’t rise and you’ll need new, fresher yeast.
When I bake two loaves of bread—which I almost always do—I freeze one whole loaf in a cloth produce bag. I find that sliced bread stored in cloth develops freezer burn around the edges so resist the urge to slice the bread before you freeze it.

12 Replies to “Charlotte’s Easy Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread”

  1. Hi there! Do you have any suggestions for this recipe at high altitude? I’m struggling up here trying to bake at 6300 feet.

    1. Hi Liv,
      I don’t know much about high altitude baking but I did find this online: https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/learn/resources/high-altitude-baking If you scroll to the bottom, you’ll find some information on baking with yeast. It says to use 25% less (among other tricks). And that page links to other resources on high-altitude baking. I hope it helps.
      ~ Anne-Marie

  2. What kind of dry active yeast (sorry, I never make bread as I’m a no gluten lover!) but I still would like to know (for my kids) if you used the boulangerie kind witch is refrigerated or the one in little sachets? Thanks

    1. Hi Chantal,
      This is the yeast that usually comes in glass jars or little sachets and you find it in the baking aisle at the grocery store.
      I hope your kids like the bread 🙂
      Anne-Marie

      1. Ok thank you. I’ll get back to you !

  3. Jeanine LASITER says: Reply

    This made very yummy bread. H. loved it and he is not a wheat bread fan. I am a sub-novice baker and it turned out. Now, my dough was very sticky
    If you ever make this again, I would love your weight measurements for the flour.

    But this recipe is a keeper and I will keep at it.
    Thanks so much for your work!!! Loved it!

    1. Hi Jeanine,
      I’m glad the bread was a hit! I actually did weigh the ingredients for this post but forgot to add them to the recipe. I will do that! Thanks for asking.
      ~ Anne-Marie

  4. That sounds like a great recipe, I’ll definitely try it 🙂
    I’ve just started a zero waste/food blog, come have a look when you can, thanks!
    https://zerowasteinmykitchen.wordpress.com/

  5. How should I adjust (if any) baking time/temp for using a silicone pan?

    1. Hi Olivis,
      I’m sorry but I’m not sure. I’ve never baked bread using a silicone pan but I have baked on top on silicone mats in the past and have never adjusted the temperature for those. I hope that helps.
      ~ Anne-Marie

  6. Hi! Just curious if you tried this with your sourdough discard yet, and if so how did it go?

    1. Hi Jenny,
      I have and it was very good but I seem to have lost my notes on it. But I do know that for two loaves, I added 1 cup of discard total and compensated for that by using less flour and water than this recipe calls for: 125 grams water (125 ml) and 125 flour (a scant cup). It tasted slightly sour but it’s faster to make than sourdough.
      ~ Anne-Marie

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