My pediatrician once told me that feeding my kids white bread was like giving them a spoonful of sugar. This comment hit home; so years ago I switched to whole wheat bread. My boys have grown up and are accustomed to it, but while baking bread recently I was surprised to learn that the whole premise that whole wheat bread contains less sugar turns out to be completely untrue. In fact, the opposite is true; two slices of Wonder bread contains 5g of sugar while two slices of Arnold Country Wheat contains 8g of sugar. For the past 6 years I’ve been spending $3 per loaf on this false premise.
Actually, this is my fourth recipe for Sandwich loaf that I’ve made over the past month, of which I have only blogged about one other. All haven fallen short, and were not an acceptable substitute for my kids sandwich bread.
FYI, the nutritional information for two different slices of bread, which really surprised me:
- Arnold’s Country Wheat has 240 calories, with 3g of fat per 2 slice serving (but is free of hydrogenated oils, meaning no trans fats) . There are 44g of total carbohydrates, but also includes 5g of dietary fiber. It contains 350mg sodium and 8g of sugar (about 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar).
- Classic Wonder Bread has 140 calories, with 1g of fat per 2 slice serving. There are 23g of total carbohydrates. There are 260 mg of sodium and 4g of sugar (which is High Fructose Corn Syrup), but would be equivalent to 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar.
- My loaf reached 205-degrees after just 35 minutes. So I will try reducing the temperate next time after 5 minutes in the oven. The higher temperatures during the first 5 minutes should give it great “oven spring”, but a slower bake ought to result in a softer crust.
- Of course, bread made without any preservatives goes stale relatively fast. I made this bread sans preservatives to evaluate it as an acceptable substitute for store-bought loaf. It was still good after 2-1/2 days, but if I decide to cook this bread with regularity I will probably add some form of preservative. I want this bread bake this bread on Sunday and have it stay fresh through Friday’s lunch. I found list of natural preservatives that can use in sandwich bread. Reading the list the best bet sounds like lecithin, which is essentially a vitamin.
- I also wanted to clarify that while Arnold’s Bread contains more sugar, it is still healthier than Wonder Bread. Eating whole grains is always better than eating refined grains. Also, Arnold’s contains 4 grams of fiber (16% daily intake) and only polyunsaturated fat.
- When baking bread, I prefer to weigh my ingredients. I find weighting much easier and more accurate than trying to scoop out 3-1/2 cups of flour. I’ve provided weights for each ingredient that I typically weigh.
- As always, I am using Active Dry Yeast rather than Rapid Rise yeast, which Chris Kimball always recommends. See my full descriptions here.
- Do not cut your loaf before it has cooled to room temperature, or you will allow moisture to escape and give your loaf a head-start on becoming stale. After 1 hour I tried slicing my bread, placed the slices in a sandwich bag and almost immediately saw condensation. Next loaf I will try the same after 2 hours.
Cost: 90-cents for 29-ounce loaf.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess? Low/Medium.
Start time 4:00 PM. Finish time 6:30 PM.
Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared and baked the bread today are given below:
3-1/2 cups bread flour (18-1/2 ounces)
2 teaspoons table salt
1 cup milk (8 ounces)
1/3 cup water (3 ounces)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons honey (I substituted 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar)
1 tablespoon rapid-rise yeast or dry active yeast
- Adjust two oven rack to low and low-middle position. Put a broiler pan on the bottom rack, which will be used in step 8. Pre-heat to 200-degrees, then turn off your oven. You will use the residual heat of the oven to speed the first rise. If you don’t mind waiting for 2 hours for the first rise, then you can skip the pre-heating portion of this step.
- Mix together milk, water, butter, and honey (or sugar) in a Pyrex measuring cup (at least 2 cups). Heat in microwave for 1 minute 5 seconds until mixture reaches 110-degrees. Mix in yeast and let hydrate for 5 minutes, by which time the butter should be mostly melted.
- Add flour and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook.
- Turn standing mixer to lowest speed and slowly add liquid. After the dough has come together, increase speed to 4 on KitchenAid mixer (medium-low on other models). Continue mixing for 10 minutes, stopping twice to remove the dough from hook. The dough will become smooth. Lightly flour a work surface and gently turn out the dough. Knead for about 15 seconds to form a smooth ball.
- Lightly oil a large bowl, put dough inside and roll around to lightly coat the dough ball. Cover with plastic wrap and place in your warm (but turned off) oven. The dough should take between 40 and 50 minutes to double in size. If you don’t mind waiting about 2 hours for the first rise, then you can let the dough rise at room temperature.
- Gently turn the dough out onto floured surface. Gently pressing the dough into a 9″x12″ rectangle. Note that the 9″ should correspond exactly to the length of your loaf pan. Roll the dough into a 9″ cylinder, firmly pressing to ensure that the dough sticks to itself while it rolls. Pinch the seam closed along the length of the cylinder. Spray your 9″x5″x3″ (LxWxH) loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Put your loaf into the pan and softly press the dough so that it is touching all four sides of the pan. Spray the top of loaf very lightly with non-stick cooking spray or dust with flour to ensure that the plastic wrap will release.
- Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap, realizing that the loaf will grow a few inches above the top of the pan. Place it in a warm spot in your kitchen for 45 minutes until it almost doubles in size. A finger pressed into the dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly. Meanwhile pre-heat your oven to 375-degrees, and bring 2 cups of water to boil on the stovetop.
- Carefully remove plastic wrap and place loaf pan in oven. Pour your 2 cups of boiling water into the pre-heated empty loaf/broiler pan, and close the oven door immediately to trap the steam. After 5 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 325-degrees . Bake for between 35 and 40 additional minutes, rotating half way through baking time. If the crust becomes too dark then tent with aluminum foil. The bread will be done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads 195 degrees. Carefully remove bread from pan, and let cool on a wire rack for 2 hour before slicing.