Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Recipe: Farmhouse White Bread

THIS is the BEST sandwich bread I've found ... the kids will eat it and since I made it, I know what's in it.  After the holidays, I'll take some time to really tweak this to up the fiber and health factors while trying to keep the beautiful texture and taste.  I'll keep you posted!

Here's the basic recipe:
Susan's Farmhouse White Sandwich Bread (with a bit of my tweaking ... never could follow directions!)

Makes 3 loaves, approximately 1-1/2 pounds each
unbleached all-purpose flour 4 cups
active instant yeast** 2 Tablespoons
granulated sugar 2 Tablespoons
canola oil 2 Tablespoons
warm milk 4 cups
whole wheat flour 1 cup
unbleached all-purpose flour about 5 cups more
salt 1½ Tablespoons

**To bake an even better loaf, you can reduce the amount of yeast to 1½ Tablespoons (or even 1 Tablespoon). This will make your dough rise more slowly, so you'll just need to increase the fermenting and proofing times. You can reduce the yeast in pretty much any bread recipe—a lot of bakers go by the formula 'half the yeast and double the rising time.'

In a very large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, yeast, and sugar (I use a wooden spoon). Make a small well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the canola oil and then the milk. Mix well, then continue to stir vigorously, slowly adding 1 cup of the whole wheat flour at a time, than the all-purpose until you've added about 5 cups, or until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough; this should take several minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 6 or 7 minutes, adding more flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or the work surface.

Place the mixing bowl over the dough, and let it rest for 20 minutes. This rest period is called the autolyse.

Remove the bowl, flatten out the dough with your hands, and sprinkle about half of the salt over it. Begin kneading the salt into the dough. After a few turns, sprinkle on the rest of the salt and continue to knead for 5 to 7 minutes, until the salt is completely incorporated and the dough is soft and smooth.

Sprinkle flour in the dough bowl, place the dough in it, liberally dust it with flour, and cover it with a damp tea towel (not terry cloth, as it will shed lint on your dough). Allow dough to double in size. When the dough is ready to be shaped, you should be able to push a floured finger deep into it and leave an indentation that doesn't spring back.

Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, flattening gently with your hands to break up any large air bubbles. Divide the dough into three equal pieces.

Shape the dough into loaves and dust the tops with flour. Place loaves seam side down in greased loaf pans. Cover the loaves with a damp tea towel and let them rise for 45 to 60 minutes. When you lightly poke the dough with a floured finger it should spring back just a little.

Bake at 375° for 35 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown and the bottoms sound hollow if tapped. Remove immediately from pans and let cool on a wire rack. Try to wait at least 40 minutes before cutting into a loaf. Store at room temperature or freeze in zipper freezer bags. Make sure loaves are completely cooled before sealing in bags.

I'd like to try 3tbls flaxseed in place of 1 tbls of the oil; also would like to see how increasing the amount of whole wheat and/or adding wheat germ/oat bran would affect the bread.  I have to walk a line between "bunny bread" for the kiddoes and "high fiber/sawdust bread" for dh.  I'm determined to find a recipe that will allow me to stop buying bread and start baking all our own ...

Please let me know if you, too, try this bread and your results.  The WHOLE family liked my initial attempt (of course, they were in the midst of cabin-fever, but hey ... you take what you get!)


  1. Have you seen the new Peter Reinhart book "Artisan Breads Every day"? He is a big advocate of the long rise less yeast :)
    This looks lovely!

  2. Thank you for posting this. The farmhouse recipe has been my go to recipe and it is currently not available online. XO.