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Prep 1 hr
Cook 8 hrs
Attempt #2 at a nice, light everyday wheat bread. This keeps fine in plastic for a week. It's soft, but firm enough to slice and with a mild pleasant wheat flavor that's great for sandwiches or toast. I make this once a week. [This is partially adapted from recipes in The Bread Bible (Rose Levy Berenbaum), which is an excellent book of bread recipes and theory.]
- The night before you plan to bake, make the sponge.
- Mix together the 2 flours in a bowl. (I do this with a whisk to get them nicely integrated.).
- In a mixing bowl (I use the bowl of my KitchenAid stand mixer), add the sponge ingredients and whisk for 2 minutes, until the sponge is the consistency of a thin batter.
- Whisk the 1 teaspon of yeast into the remaining flour mix, and pour this over the top of the sponge.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let sit for 1 hour at room temperature.
- Refridgerate for at least 8 but up to 24 hours before proceeding to the next step.
- Let the butter soften and then add it to the mixture. Mix with the dough hook (on speed 2 if using a KitchenAid) for ~1 minute, until it comes together in a rough ball.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle on the salt, and knead for ~7 minutes (on speed 4 if using a KitchenAid). Normally this dough is slightly moist, and won't come away from the sides of the bowl until the last minutes or so. When it's properly kneaded it will be soft and slightly sticky.
- Scrape the dough into an oiled container, and let it rise until doubled (usually 50 minutes to an hour).
- Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured counter surface, and punch it down. Give it 2 business letter turns (folding it in thirds like a letter), set it back into the container, and let it double again (usually closer to an hour this time).
- Oil 2 loaf pans (mine are 9x5). Divide the dough into halves with a bench scraper. Shape each half into a loaf, and place in the pans. Spray the tops with oil, cover lightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until puffed up over the tops of the pans (usually about 40 minutes).
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and have a baking stone or tiles on the lowest shelf.
- Bake the loaves for 35-40 minutes. Remove them from the pans immediately and cool on a wire rack. Let them cool completely before slicing or storing.