whole wheat sandwich bread

artisan bread - whole wheat

am on the hunt for the perfect bread. i'm not sure if there is just one out there. this one has been our go-to for the past couple of months. i love it because it's wholesome and hearty, packed with bulgur and flax and oats and sesame seeds. i've tried this one in the past too (seen here), which is a good quality recipe as well.

after paging through my latest library aquisition, i knew i had to try the 5-minute regime. this recipe is a very simple (i mean really, it mixed up in a matter of minutes) one with the most basic ingredients. a good toasting bread, much softer than the hearty multigrain recipe from martha that i've been using. it may prove to be a better bet for the warmer months because it is less complex and requires less prep time.

whole wheat sandwich bread inspired by chris kimball
makes three 1 1/2-pound loaves

ingredients

3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup rye flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 3/4 cups whole wheat four
2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
neutral-tasting oil for greasing the pan (i like canola)

directions

1. mix the yeast, salt, honey, and butte rwith the lukewarm water in a 5-quart bowl

2. mix in the remaining dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon, a 14-cup capacity food processor (with dough attachment), or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with dough hook). if you're not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.

3. cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top); approximately two hours.

4. the dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 5 days.

5. on baking day, lightly grease a 9 x 4 x 3-inch nonstick loaf pan. dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1 1/2-pound (cantaloupe-sized) piece. dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. form an elongated oval and place it into the prepared pan. allow to rest for 1 hour and 40 minutes (or just 40 minutes if you're using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).

6. preheat the oven to 400 degrees, with an empty broiler tray on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.

7. place the loaf on a rack near the center of the oven. pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the oven door. bake for about 50 minutes, or until deeply browned and firm.

8. allow to cool before slicing or eating.

notes:
+ i divided the recipe in half and made one loaf for my first go-round, but wouldn't hesitate to make a full batch in the future. the idea of keeping the dough in the fridge and having it ready to bake at a moment's notice is quite alluring.
+ i used the trusty stand mixer, which worked quite well. if you have one, i'd recommend giving it a go: the dough mixed up quickly and easily giving me a few extra minutes to tidy up the kitchen.
+ i was a little wary of the steam-bake method at the start, but it did prove to yield a dark brown, flavorful crust.