Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread: Tackling the lunchbox

Wheat-Bread-Shaina-Olmanson-foodformyfamilyWritten by Shaina of Food for My Family.

I can still hear the tin of my Voltron lunchbox echo as I swung it up onto the long, laminated tables and plopped down on the long blue bench. Carefully I would pull out the packaged contents of my lunch: peanut butter and honey or ham and Swiss on wheat. A random mix of fruit and vegetables accompanied them, but each day my mom would press fillings between two soft pieces of bread, tuck them into a red Tupperware container with a white lid and slide it into my lunch box.

My children don’t often have sandwiches tucked into their lunchbox. This is not because they don’t fancy two slices of bread filled with a variety of meat and cheeses, spread, lettuce, and a pickle spear side. It is more due to the fact that I have not been good at baking sandwich breads that fit my sandwich bread needs: soft, evenly shaped for slicing, not too dense, nor too sweet.

Instead, I buy them infrequently when I find myself near a suitable bakery, and in between I stuff their sacks with alternative items: Frittatas, soups, fried rice, pasta salads, tortilla wraps, and baked oatmeal.

tomato-soup-breadPhotos by Shaina Olmanson | Food for My Family
It’s not that I think it’s necessary to send a sandwich to school. I just don’t even consider it an option most of the time because of this bread issue. Avoiding preservatives and other hard-to-pronounce ingredients from the store-bought varieties has left us with little in the way of alternatives. It’s one of those nagging needs waiting for me to tackle it and make it my own.

I’ve made this loaf a handful of times now, adjusting it to my family’s tastes. I prefer it with a light honey over a darker molasses or maple syrup. It’s light enough to slice and serve, and it toasts nicely for grilled cheese and soup or during the breakfast rush.

Wheat Sandwich Bread: Tackling the lunchbox
5.0 from 3 reviews
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Recipe type: bakery
Author:
Serves/Yield: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast or 2 teaspoons active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons of the water (below)
  • 3 tablespoons powdered milk
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
Instructions
  1. Mix together the bread flour, whole wheat flour, instant yeast, powdered milk, and salt. Stir in the water, oil, and honey until fully incorporated and the dough comes together to form a ball.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes minutes until the dough is soft, but still firm. You can do this in a mixer with the dough hook attached. (During the winter or in dry climates it may be necessary to add a bit more water to soften the dough slightly.)
  3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow it to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Transfer the risen dough to a lightly greased surface and shape into an 8" log, pulling the sides around to the bottom to cloak the gluten. Place the dough in a lightly greased 8 1/2-inch x 4-inch loaf pan, seam side down, cover with plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise a second time for 1 to 2 hours, until the dough has risen 1" above the pan.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in the center of a baking sheet, rotating and covering with tented foil halfway through baking to prevent the top from over browning. The bread should be golden brown, sound hollow when tapped, and be 190º F internal temperature when finished.
  6. Remove the loaf from the pan and cool for 1-2 hours on a cooling rack before cutting. Serve warm or sliced for bread at room temperature.
Notes
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

 

Do you make your own sandwich bread?

About Shaina

Shaina Olmanson is the home cook and photographer behind Food for My Family, where she shares recipes, tips, opinions and her philosophy on food as she wades through the process of feeding her family, her friends and anyone else who will let her. She strives to teach her four children how to eat well: seasonally, locally, organically, deliciously and balanced.

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Comments

  1. Kimberly says:

    I’m going to have to give this a try! I also have yet to find a decent recipe for bread that meets those requirements (my husband does not like dense bread-I blame his mother for raising him on “wonder bread”). I refuse to buy preservative laden bread from the grocery store, so we have been pretty much bread free in our household as well.

  2. I love Shaina’s approach to feeding her kids… healthy foods that taste great!! Am definitely going to try this beautiful recipe!
    Amanda’s last post: Happy Birthday Cake!

  3. This bread looks amazing! I look forward to trying it. I’m wondering…how often do you make bread? And does it stay fresh for more than a day? And thank you for the other lunch ideas because I have a couple of children who aren’t sandwich people!

    • Faith, I haven’t yet tried Shaina’s recipe, but my honey WW loaf is similar. It IS best the day it is made, but is just fine the next day for sandwiches. By day 3 I like it toasted with jam or in French Toast. But, it also freezes well….

  4. Homemade bread is always the best and those grilled cheese are calling my name!
    Kevin @ Closet Cooking’s last post: Banh Mi Chicken Salad

  5. Oh how I want to dive into this loaf of bread!! Want the grilled cheese and soup asap!

  6. Homemade bread is such a winner! It really is so easy and tastier than store-bought. I haven’t attempted wheat yet but the grilled cheese there is calling my name to attempt it so I can have a nice, gooey bite :)
    Julie @ Table for Two’s last post: Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili

  7. Josh makes the bread at our house. You can’t beat a sandwich on homemade bread…or toast:)
    Maria’s last post: Salted Caramel Sauce

  8. Aimee, this is beautiful bread! I would love to make a loaf of this for my kids.

  9. I like the powdered milk in the recipe..excited to try it soon…will be baking this weekend. Honey in bread gives such a warm feeling…lovely texture, pinning it.
    Sanjeeta kk’s last post: Recipe | Two Easy, Quick and Healthy Warm Chickpea Salads – Simple Things in Life That are most Extraordinary

  10. How much water???! It MUST take more than 2 Tbls. of water……………

  11. Do you think the recipe will work fine in a bread maker?
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  12. Shaina, the bread looks so yummy, as does your grilled cheese! (Stomach rumbling for it over here!).

  13. We LOVE homemade bread over here! This is a must do!
    ashley – baker by nature’s last post: Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad with Sherry – Dijon Vinaigrette

  14. I love this kind of easy bread recipe!
    Zita’s last post: Mákos Nudli, The Hungarian Dumpling With Poppy Seed

  15. I’ve recently been trying to make my own bread. I still need more practice but my family seams to like it enough. This sandwich looks really good. I want to test this recipe out soon.
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  16. this is going on my to-do list immediately! I’ve never made sandwich bread and this one seriously looks dreamy!

  17. I really need to do this more. I love that the recipe is so easy. Definitely encouraging.
    naomi’s last post: Banana Cupcakes with Bourbon Butterscotch Filling and Toasted Marshmallow Frosting

  18. I make homemade bread, but it’s the lazy kind…the stir your 5 ingredients together and let it sit for 12-24 hours then bake kind. It’s a more rustic bread for sure, but I’d love to successfully do a sandwich bread and this doesn’t sound too bad. However, I don’t do powdered milk and wonder if it would be ok to leave it out or maybe replace some of the liquid with milk. Thanks for any alternatives!

    • Hi, Beth. You would need to scald the milk (depending on the type of pasteurization your milk has) to break the enzyme in the milk and also reduce the amount of water to account for the liquid addition. There is a great discussion here on the hows and whys. (Personally, I don’t buy high-temp pasteurized milk for drinking, so using organic powdered milk is far easier in getting the benefits of milk in the dough than scalding it for everyday bread.
      Shaina’s last post: A Menu for Eating Well and Spending Less

  19. i’ve never use powdered milk in bread and usually skip over as soon as i see listed as an ingredient, admittedly for lack of understanding. why powdered over fresh? does the bit of less moisture make a difference to the crumb?
    aneelee’s last post: overnight steel cut oats (in a jar)

    • Yep, powdered milk DOES help with crumb formation, texture, and even moisture. It results in a slightly higher rise as well. I ONLY use powdered milk in my breads. I’ve never had one fail yet.

      And I will be trying this…I’m a seasoned baker, but I have yet to find a whole wheat recipe I truly love. This one looks solid, and like it might be “the one”. Thanks!

      • Hi, Aneelee. I’m going to concur with Andrea here. If you check the comment above I have a link to a great resource on why to use powdered milk. You can sub milk for the powdered milk and some of the water, but it’s not a 1:1 swap (the link gives more detailed instructions). Scalding the milk to break the enzymatic protein so that it does not hinder the rise or weaken the gluten is one reason powdered milk is used, as it is easier than scalding. KAF has a whole milk powder available. Otherwise, there are several organic powdered milk brands available as well. I hope that helps a bit.
        Shaina’s last post: A Menu for Eating Well and Spending Less

  20. What a beautiful bread recipe! Will be bookmarking this one for sure!
    Jenny Flake’s last post: Four Ingredient Banana S’mores Cookies

  21. I was in the habit of making our sandwich bread until I spent several months in Texas last year. I have yet to get back into it, but I adore honey wheat, preferring it to plain whole wheat by leaps and bounds. Definitely giving this a try.
    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies’s last post: The Perfect 10 Kookie Giveaway

  22. we love to make bread (actually- the 12 year old does)- I’ll give her this recipe!
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  23. Could you make in a bread machine?

    • Certainly. It’s just going to depend on the size of your bread machine and how much flour it can handle. The knead time will be a bit shorter, too, since they tend to be a slightly more efficient than elbow grease in getting the bread to come together.
      Shaina’s last post: A Menu for Eating Well and Spending Less

    • Yes, I just tried it last night & it turned out beautifully. It makes a 2lb loaf and I chose the “white bread” setting and light crust color.

  24. Shaina, I’d love to do sandwich bread for my family. I just wish I could use my extra long bread pan, since a regular loaf pan gets demolished in a single meal + snack here, and it seems like so much work to make the amount of bread we could eat. Sadly, I’m not sure how to bake anything in it other than my brother’s Danish Sourdough Rye, which is a really dense, wet dough that is spread in the pan so the longer pan length doesn’t affect the rising/baking time.

    • I’m not a huge bread baker, but I would think a longer loaf pan would be fine, just increase the recipe proportional to the size of the pan. If it is twice as long, double a recipe that would make one loaf, if it is 1.5 times as long 1.5 times the recipe. If the pan is the same width, just longer, I don’t think it should affect the cooking time/temp or leave doughy spots in the middle.

      Or if you don’t want to do this, just increase the recipe and make multiple regular sized loaves at the same time. Only a little more effort to make lots more bread.

  25. Yes, I do make my own sandwich bread! My usual recipe uses leftover oatmeal but it’s otherwise similar… A bit sweet for grilled cheese, so I’ll try this one too, but excellent for most sandwiches and our breakfast toast. http://www.brokeandhealthy.com/homemade-oatmeal-bread
    Sarah’s last post: DIY Neosporin Recipe (Multi-Purpose Balm/Salve/Ointment)

  26. I do make my own bread and living in New England we are supporters of King Arthur. Like anything else habits are hard to change but, making your own bread is a keeper. I do it about once a month and freeze in half loaves as my fammily is much smaller now. However when they come over for brunch they can’t resist taking a bit home.

  27. Is there any substitute for the powdered milk to make this bread dairy free? It looks and sounds fabulous. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Liza Purdy says:

    I’m wondering about how to make this dairy free as well. I have some soy protein powder that I use to make smoothies for my dairy/egg/nut allergic son. Do you think that would work? Thanks! I’m on a quest to find a sandwich bread that meets his dietary requirements.

  29. My 5 year old daughter and I made this bread yesterday – it was a huge success and our whole family loved it! I have tried making sandwich bread before but never with any luck. I’ve never used a recipe with powdered milk, so maybe that was the key? I also put the bread pan on the heat vent for the rise. Our house is very cold and drafty so thought that might help! We will definitely be making this again soon – probably this weekend! Thanks!

  30. Hi Shaina, This is probably a dumb question, but what is “bread flour”? I am new to yeast bread making and so far have only made pizza dough with whole wheat and regular flours. Thanks!

    • Bread flour is a different type of flour that has more gluten (stretchy proteins) than all purpose flour. The extra gluten strands do a better job of holding the air released by the yeast metabolism so you get a better rise out of your bread. I think it is a variety of white flour, at least I have never seen whole wheat bread flour. Sometimes it is called better for bread flour as well. In my grocery store it is sold near the rest of the baking supplies, just in smaller bags than the all purpose flour.

      If you can’t find it, I’ve had luck just subbing in regular all purpose white flour (but don’t do this the other way around; cakes don’t like bread flour), you just end up with a little less rising action. And don’t skimp on the kneading if making this substitution. The gluten that is there needs all the help it can get.

  31. Catrina Kingsley says:

    This looks like a tasty recipe, but I have one question. My son is allergic to milk protein and this recipe calls for powdered milk, what could I supplement this ingredient with?

  32. Thanks so much for this recipe! This is by far the recipe I was looking for to replace my husband’s favorite honey wheat sandwich bread that I was tired of buying for various reasons.

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  34. This bread was a huge success. I din’t have bread flour neither WW flour. I used spelt and white flour instead. I used the dough cycle in my bread machine for mixing and rising, then transfered the dough in a loaf pan for additional 30 min rising. We loved the taste and texture, it was wonderfully crunchy the first day and equally great toasted the next days. This is a keeper, thank you for the recipe!

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