morning toast

by Stacy

My show is open! Then my in-laws were here! Now my mom is in town!

Now I can actually spend time in the kitchen again. When you leave for work at 10:00am and get home at midnight six days a week, time for cooking (taking photos in daylight, blogging, and eating) is limited.

Most days I pack a lunch (actually dinner) to eat at work. Breakfast is the meal I eat at home every day — usually poached eggs on toast. I get cranky if we have to resort to store-bought bread for my toast. Really cranky.

While I am a strong proponent of whole grains, lately I have abandoned my favorite whole wheat bread recipe in lieu of another adapted Peter Reinhart version: light wheat bread.

light wheat bread

Don’t be scared off by the length of the recipe. The light wheat can be made on my single day off, or mixed and left to rise in the refrigerator overnight or through the work day. And it makes fantastic toast. Might I recommend sliced avocado and a sprinkle of coarse salt? Or natural peanut butter and a drizzle of honey? Or just butter or jam?

This bread is sturdy enough for sandwiches but still soft and tender. It’s mostly white flour, so I add some wheat bran back in for added nutritional value. Most of my recipes are basic ideas and guidelines, but for bread I highly recommend following the recipe the first few times to see the results before switching things up.

After several versions I have managed to tweak the recipe and the method to suit my kitchen and schedule. As with any bread recipe, your results may vary based on many factors, including but not limited to: humidity, season, altitude, brand of flour, phase of the moon, room temperature, air circulation, and if you forget that you’re preheating the oven while your bread is proofing.

With only 1/3 whole wheat flour, this is a great bread to try if you haven’t transitioned over to 100% whole wheat bread but want to start gradually.

Do you bake sandwich bread at home? What’s your favorite kind?

light wheat bread

Submitted to YeastSpotting

Light Wheat Bread

Adapted from Peter Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice
Makes one 2-pound loaf

The original recipe calls for powdered milk (which I never have), so I switch out soy or almond milk (regular milk or yogurt works too). Make sure to use instant yeast (also called bread machine or rapid rise yeast). I make mine with my stand mixer but it can be done by hand, too. Using sugar, non-dairy milk, and shortening makes this vegan. Adding a steam pan helps the loaf achieve greater oven spring and a more tender crumb.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups (11.25 ounces) bread flour
  • 1.5 cups (6.75 ounces) whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons (0.21 ounces) wheat germ
  • 1 tablespoon (0.31 ounces) vital wheat gluten (optional)
  • 1.5 tablespoons (0.75 ounces) granulated sugar or honey
  • 1.5 teaspoons (0.17 ounces) instant yeast
  • 1.5 teaspoons (0.38 ounces) kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) shortening or unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/8 cup (3 ounces) milk or non-dairy milk of your choice
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) warm water

Directions:

  1. Combine flours, wheat germ, wheat gluten, sugar (if using), and yeast. Mix well. Add salt, stir well. Add shortening or butter.
  2. If using a stand mixer, mix on low speed using the paddle attachment until the shortening or butter is integrated into the dry ingredients. Add honey (if using).
  3. Pour milk into a liquid measuring cup. Add warm water up to 11 ounces so the combined liquid ingredients are room temperature.
  4. Put mixer on low and pour the liquid into the bowl with the mixer running. When most of the liquid has been added and the dough begins to come together, switch to the dough hook. When the dough has formed a ball, switch off the mixer, cover with a clean towel, and let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
  5. After the dough has rested, turn the mixer back on (or knead by hand) until the dough is soft, supple, and tacky. It’s better that the dough is too wet than too dry and stiff. If you’re not sure the dough is supple, then it isn’t — add another tablespoon of liquid and keep kneading. If the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl (or gummily to your hands), sprinkle in flour a teaspoon at a time until it clears the sides of the bowl. Kneading should take about 5 minutes in a stand mixer or 10 minutes by hand.
  6. When the dough is smooth, form it into a smooth ball by pulling the edges tightly underneath. Lightly oil a large bowl or rising bucket and roll the dough in oil until coated. Cover the container with plastic wrap and let the dough rise 1.5-2 hours until doubled in size.
  7. When the dough has doubled, turn it onto a smooth work surface, deflate it, and press the dough to a 3/4 inch thickness in a rectangular shape about 6 by 8 inches. Roll the rectangle tightly into a loaf shape and press the seam closed.
  8. Prepare a 8×4.5″ loaf pan by coating it with shortening or butter. Place the loaf seam-side down in the pan. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap or a clean shower cap and let proof for 45-90 minutes until the loaf rises an inch over the lip of the pan.
  9. Preheat the oven to 400F degrees with a metal pan (I use a cheap pie plate) on the bottom rack and the other rack in the middle of the oven.
  10. Remove the plastic wrap from loaf pan. Set aside 1/2 cup of hot tap water. Slide the bread onto the middle rack, then quickly pour the hot water into the pan underneath. Quickly close the oven and reduce the temperature to 350F.
  11. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, then rotate the bread 180 degrees. Continue baking 15-30 minutes until loaf is browned and sounds hollow when removed from the pan and tapped on the bottom. When in doubt, a few more minutes rarely hurt.
  12. Immediately remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack for 2 hours before slicing.

light wheat bread

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