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Perfect Light Wheat Bread

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My kids are hooked on the soft-puffy grocery store white bread.  They've even turned up their nose on home made sandwich bread . . . especially if it has whole wheat flour.  I've been working for months to find a recipe that pulls them away from WonderBread.  Finally, I found it.  This bread is soft and sweet and full enough to hold up to a pat of Earth Balance.  It's great for pull apart rolls or burger buns or bread loaves.  The real test, though, is the grocery store bread going stale in the bread drawer.

I usually double this and make one loaf of bread and one batch of buns.

Note:  I've been using King Arthur's White Whole Wheat Flour.  It is much lighter typical whole wheat flour.  If you've got kids who run from anything whole-grain, this flour is well worth the cost.

Italian Sandwich Bread

Light Wheat Bread
2 cups (9 oz) unbleached bread flour
1 cup (5 oz) whole wheat flour
1.5 tsp instant yeast (see note below)
4 tsp vital wheat gluten
1.25 tsp salt
1.5 tbs agave syrup
1.5 tbs non-hydrogenated shortening or coconut oil, melted
1.25 cups unsweetened soy milk (heated to room temperature)
1.5 tsp vinegar


Note:  Instant yeast has a smaller grain than standard active dry yeast, and doesn't need to be dissolved.  If you're using Active dry yeast, dissolve it in the soy milk and use 2 tsp.

Mix the soy milk with the vinegar and set aside for five minutes.  Stir together the dry ingredients.  Add the shortening, agave syrup and soy milk.  Stir with a large spoon until the flour is absorbed and the dough forms a ball (with a stand mixer, a couple of minutes on low with the dough hook).  If the dough is especially tacky, add a little flour.

Sprinkle a little flour on a counter top and knead for about 10 minutes (with a stand mixer, six minutes on medium with the dough hook).  The dough should be slightly tacky, but not sticky and pass the windowpane test.  I use a stand mixer, but I always finish kneading by hand.  It's easier to get the dough to the right consistency.

Grease a large bowl, add the dough and cover with plastic wrap (or a plate).  Set in a warm, dry place until it doubles in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  If you're thermostat is set low, or if you have a drafty kitchen, you can put the dough in a cool oven with the light turned on.

Remove from the bowl and follow these links for instructions on shaping the dough:  Sandwich Loaf, or Pull Apart Rolls.  For hamburger buns, follow the pull apart method with a larger ball of dough, then press the dough so that it flattens.  This recipe will make 1 loaf, 12 pull apart rolls or 8 burger buns.  Place rolls on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet or loaves in a greased bread pan.  Mist the with with spray oil. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and and set aside until the dough nearly doubles in size (1 to 1 1/2 hours).

For Loaves:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 30-45 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees after about 20 minutes.  The loaf should be golden brown and the internal temperature should be 180 to 190 degrees.  Take out of the oven, shake out of the pan, brush the top with soy milk and cool on a wire rack.  Cool at least an hour before slicing.

For Rolls:  Preheat in the oven to 400 degrees.  Bake for 15 minutes, until the rolls are golden brown.  Remove from the oven, brush the tops with soy milk and cool on a wire rack.

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5 comments

  1. Sarah Says:
  2. Oh my god. I'm what one would call loaf-bread challenged. Even with the help of my breadmaker I have never made a loaf of bread that I considered good. But this bread! I made it today and it is absolutely perfect. Thank you so much! I foresee this recipe being used in my kitchen for many many years!

     
  3. I've been meaning to make a white bread as the hubby can't stand the taste of whole wheat, whereas I love it. I'm going to have to bookmark this one and give it a whirl.

     
  4. Sarah Says:
  5. this looks awesome. I've been meaning to try a loaf with vital wheat gluten. Maybe this is the winner!

     
  6. Kaya Says:
  7. that's the prettiest loaf I ever did see.

     
  8. The bread looks perfect, Gorgeous.This is quintessential baking art !

     

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