Don’t mess with a good thing is a philosophy too often ignored, particularly when it comes to food. To start out tinkering with a recipe before you have even tried the original version rubs me the wrong way. Only when you know what you are starting with can you find areas for improvement and decide the best way to go about making it happen. Take the best white bread for example, which really is the best white bread! I simply adore it! The loaves rise high and have a fluffy, tender interior that is great for sandwiches and it makes incredible BLTs.

Since we rarely eat white bread, I decided it was time to experiment with part whole grain flour in this recipe. While I was at it, I subbed the usual all-purpose with bread flour instead to give a chewier texture because my one criticism of the original version is that is just a touch on the crumbly side. The higher gluten content in the bread flour remedies the textural problem nicely and this new version turned out beautifully. Since this is such a quick recipe to make with no starter or sponge and a fast rise time, this effectively eliminates the need for store bought loaves in our household. I hope you love this as much as we do!

Ingredients

  • 4½ tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • ¾ cup plus 2 2/3 cup warm water, divided (105-115˚ F)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 4-5 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 3-4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (for brushing)

Directions

  • 01

    To make the dough, dissolve the yeast in ¾ cup of warm water in a large mixing bowl (use your mixer bowl if kneading with a stand mixer and use the dough hook).  Stir in the sugar, salt, remaining 2 2/3 cups water, butter, and the bread flour.  Mix (on low speed) until a dough begins to come together.  Gradually add in the white whole wheat flour about ½-1 cup at a time at first, more gradually with the last cup, until the dough is smooth and slightly tacky but not sticky.  Continue to knead about 6-8 minutes, until a smooth ball of dough has formed.

  • 02

    Transfer the dough to a lightly greased large bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel.  Let rise in a warm place until the dough has nearly doubled in bulk, about 60-90 minutes.

  • 03

    Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently punch down to deflate the dough.  Divide into two equal portions.  Press one portion of dough into a rectangle, about 9 x 15 inches.  Starting on a short end, roll the dough up tightly into a log and pinch the seam shut.  Roll the ends under the loaf.  Transfer to a greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and press down gently to reach the sides of the pan.  Repeat with the second portion of dough.  Cover the pans loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let rise once more until nearly doubled, about 30-45 minutes.

  • 04

    Place an oven rack in the lowest position and preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Just before baking, lightly brush the tops of the loaves with some of the melted butter.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Rotate the pans 180˚ and continue baking until an instant read thermometer reads 190˚ F in the center of the loaf, about 15-18 minutes more.  (If the tops of the loaves reach your desired golden brown before the baking time is complete, cover the tops loosely with foil to prevent over-browning.)  Transfer the pans to wire racks to cool.  Let cool briefly, then turn the loaves out onto the racks.  If desired, brush lightly with additional melted butter.  Let cool completely.

Source

https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8187/29286489332_d9b19ab2c7_c.jpg
  • Ruth

    Yay! I am such a fan of your best white bread recipe and have been looking for a good whole wheat sandwich bread recipe for ages! All of my attempts so far lacked the fluffiness and rise that I love from the white bread recipe. I am so excited to try this :-)

  • I had to chuckle when I read about trying a recipe “as is” first and then experiment. Haven’t you read reviews like: I tried your recipe and it was a big failure! The bread tasted like cardboard and it just didn’t get higher than a pancake. I didn’t have all the yeast so I put in 1/2 teaspoon and the rest in baking powder. I put in bisquick since I didn’t have bread flour. Your recipe is terrible?” We love yeast bread and this sounds like a keeper. Hope your Labor Day Weekend is going well.

  • Sarah

    Annie do you slice the extra loaf before you freeze it? Do you store in plastic bag?

  • Kaitlyn

    Made this bread today and it was amazing! And I love how simple it was to make compared to some other wheat breads I’ve tried recently. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. It’s a real winner.

  • Lizzie

    I was wondering what to do with my white whole wheat flour, and then I saw this recipe! So perfect! I made the bread yesterday and it is delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Louann Zundel

    This was delicious bread and very easy to make!

  • Andrianna

    I see you adapted this recipe from The Curvy Carrot – any idea what happened to that blog?? I haven’t seen anything new in a couple years but there was no final post. She had some great recipes on there – I think I discovered it off your blog roll years ago :)

  • Dawn

    This looks so yummy! I really admire your efforts to make the majority of your family’s staples by hand. I don’t have a stand mixer. Can this bread be made kneading by hand? Will it be necessary to knead longer?

  • Annie

    You can do it either way. Sometimes I slice before freezing and sometimes I just leave it whole. If you like being able to grab just a couple of slices while leaving the rest frozen, slicing before freezing is the way to go. Enjoy!

  • Annie

    Yes! You hit the nail on the head! So funny and so true.

  • Annie

    Yes, you absolutely can. See the FAQ page for more info but you are basically right. You may need to knead a bit longer, though dough texture is really more based on feel and less on a set kneading time. Enjoy!

  • Annie

    Yes, she has stopped blogging. We used to be very close friends but drifted apart and she never answered me when I asked about the blog. Not sure what happened but I’m with you, I miss it!

  • I totally agree with your philosophy…and honestly, the simple things are usually the best anyway!

  • WendyAZ

    Love the original and can’t wait to try this one! i bought the white whole wheat flour at your suggestion and have been waiting to use it. Perfect!