The maligned sandwich loaf. A second-class citizen in the bread world. Soft, mass-produced, with nothing artistinal or interesting about it. Bearer of boring pb&j’s and bologna sandwiches. Oscar Meyer has a better repute than the soft sandwich loaf breads.
Yet, are they really such an inferior loaves? Or has it become such a commercial mainstay that it becomes hard to admire its qualities. It’s like trying to appreciate Barber of Seville after watching Bugs Bunny shave up Elmer.
We say rise up! Rise up noble sandwich loaf. Hold your crust high amongst your doughy brethren. Made in the hands of ones who love you, your crumb is one of our favorites. You sandwich our sandwich. Especially you, the Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf.
Your beautiful singe of crumb balanced by a delicate softness as we toast and grill you. Yet there is still that extra layer of texture and flavor given by the whole wheat which leads us to you over your brother the White Loaf. How glorious of a grilled cheese you make when paired with smoked Gouda, paper-thin sweet onion slices, crisp sweet pickle slices and a touch of balsamic. A wonderful nutty toast your gently charred slices provide. Perfect for a glancing spread of butter and jam.
Bow down before no other loaf. Every loaf has its wonder and quality, and yours is no less than any others. Do not undervalue yourself gentle sandwich loaf, because we love you and will always make you. You hold the heart of a boy who bakes.
For our latest loaf, as the nation tires and continues to braves the winter chill, we thought to open some of our bottled summer sunshine, tomato jam.
We had a great tomato season and were determined to save as much as possible for exactly this time of year. Even though we now live in the comfort of Southern California weather, the memories of growing up months of snowy winters will never be forgotten. The cold and gloom starts to settle into the bones. Snow isn’t “pretty” anymore. It’s annoying. And cold. I remember and feel your frostbit toes.
So here’s a sweet reminder of the warmth of summer. The ice will thaw and warmth will come again.
Adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce and Amy Scattergood. A perfect whole wheat loaf for sandwiches and toast. Soft, a touch of sweetness to the loaf from the honey and molasses. Like the authors of Good to the Grain, we make this loaf in the mixer. If you want to make the bread by hand, they recommend kneading by hand for 15 minutes, adding flour as needed.
1 c (240ml) Water
1 c (240ml) Milk
1 pkg (2 1/4 t-1 T or 7g) Active Dry Yeast, if using from jar go by manufacturer's guideline for 1 packet
1 T (20g) Honey
2 T (40g) unsulphured Molasses, not backstrap molasses
2 1/2 c (350g) Whole Wheat Flour
2 c (300g) Bread Flour
1 c (120g) Rolled Oats
4 T (60g) unsalted Butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 T (15g) Sea Salt
bran or additional oats for topping loaf
lightly butter 9x5x3 bread loaf pan
Gently warm milk and water to about 115 F. Combine water, milk, yeast, honey, and molasses in the bowl of a standing mixer. Stir to dissolve yeast. (If you aren't sure if your yeast is good, wait 5 minutes to see if it blooms-bubbles. If it doesn't throw out and start over.)
Add flours, oats, melted butter, and sea salt to the liquid mix. Using the bread hook and stand mixer, mix for 6 minutes on medium speed. The dough should climb the dough hook and slap around the sides of the bowl without sticking. If the dough is sticking, add a tablespoon or two more of flour at a time until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.
Cover the bowl with a towel and place in a warm area to rise. Leave to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size (to test if it has proofed enough, gently poke the dough- if it springs back, it needs to proof longer - if a dimple remains, it is ready.)
Shape the loaf. Put the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Flatten out the bubbles while working the loaf into a square shape. Grabbing the top edge, fold the dough down towards the middle. Grab the bottom edge and fold up to the middle, bringing the two edges together. Pinch the seam and sides, sealing them with your fingers. Roll the dough back and forth, plumping it into an even log and about the size of your bread pan. Gently place the dough into your bread pan, seam side down. Press the dough gently into the corners of the bread pan.
Cover the loaf with a towel and leave it to rise in a warm area for about an hour or until the dough rises to half again its size and is puffing up barely over the edges of the loaf pan.
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400 F.
If desired, sprinkle the top of the loaf with bran or oats. Bake for about 40 minutes, rotating halfway through. The loaf is done baking when the crust is dark brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove the loaf from the pan and allow to full cool on a baking rack.
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