Sandwiches are a staple in most homes, and since they are quick, easy and eaten frequently, it makes sense to make them as healthy as possible. Homemade bread is a simple way to improve your family's nutrition, and a relatively easy first step in making healthier sandwiches.
If you're used to eating store-bought white bread it might be too much to make the jump to 100% whole wheat homemade bread overnight. Try this homemade half white half wheat bread recipe before jumping in to an all whole grain bread. While most homemade breads dry out and taste stale within a day or two, this stays moist and fresh for longer because of the eggs and higher fat content. It is light and fluffy and holds together in thin slices, making it perfect for sandwiches.
I usually mix the dough in my bread machine, but not everyone has a bread machine, and making bread completely by hand can be very relaxing (and kneading bread dough is a great way to relieve frustration!). Making bread is easy, and once you know the basics you can change the recipe however you'd like-substitute different flours, use a different fat, add more sweetener and some fruit or seeds, etc.
Easy Halfway Healthy Sandwich Bread
1 C. warm water
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
6 T. honey
6 T. olive oil
3 C. unbleached all-purpose flour
2-3 C. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. sea salt
1. Dissolve yeast in water in a large mixing bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes (It should start to foam and bubble). Add honey, olive oil and eggs and mix together. Stir in the all-purpose flour and salt.
2. Stir in enough whole wheat flour so that the dough comes together into a ball.
3. Sprinkle more wheat flour on the counter or a table (I knead at my kitchen table because it's easier to press down into the dough on a lower surface) and dump the ball of dough in the center.
Press down into the dough with the heel of your hands, pull the top edge (furthest away from you) of the dough back toward you to fold it in half, then press down firmly again in the middle. Fold back again, press, then spin the dough a quarter turn. Repeat the press, fold, press, fold, spin a quarter turn for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle more flour under the dough as needed to keep it from sticking. The dough has been kneaded long enough when it is springy and elastic-if you poke a hole in it with your finger it should fill in fairly quickly.
4. Scrape all the loose flour and bits of dough out of the bowl you used to stir together the dough. Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of the bowl, then plop the kneaded dough on top of the oil. Spin the ball of dough, then flip and spin again to coat the bowl and dough with oil. Cover loosely and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (in the winter I place the bowl next to our wood stove, in the summer I just leave it on the counter, and in the spring or fall I place it in the oven with the light on). This will take about an hour, depending on how warm it is.
5. Once doubled in size, oil your hands and press dough down to deflate. It will be easier to shape into loaves if you don’t overwork it at this point. Divide in two and shape into loaves. Place loaves into two greased 9x5 inch loaf pans, cover, then let rise again until doubled in size-this usually takes less time than the first rise.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake loaves for 25-30 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. After removing from the pans I like to rub a stick of butter over the tops of the loaves. It looks pretty, tastes good, and helps keep the top crust moist. Let cool completely before slicing (I’m only saying that because you’re supposed to. I always cut a few slices while the bread is warm and smear with lots of butter. This is the real reason I bake homemade bread).
Yield: Two loaves