Non-Crumbly Whole Grain Sandwich Bread
Inexpensive, homemade whole grain bread that doesn’t crumble when you make sandwiches and is more friendly for gluten-sensitive stomachs.
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A while back, I shared our classic go-to bread recipe. It’s the one my mom first started making regularly when we gave up store-bought bread and tapped into our hippy roots when I was a teenager.
Years later, I started making a new bread – this bread – when I learned more about grains, digestion, and wanted to find a whole grain bread recipe that could make a sandwich that didn’t crumble. (If you have ever tried to do this, you know how important it was.)
This recipe requires one extra step, but that step makes all the difference.
Why I Bake Bread (& Why I Don’t Always)
Our time is precious.
While good food is important to me, we need to find a healthy balance between health food, our budget, and our time. So while I try to bake bread regularly, we also eat store bought bread.
I either try to find a quality sprouted or organic bread for around $3-4/loaf, or we get Kroger markdowns – because if I am going to buy bread that is bad for us, I am certainly not going to pay full price.
Why You Should Make This Bread:
The overnight soak makes the whole grain texture of this bread far less crumbly than many other homemade whole wheat bread recipes. This is my favorite whole grain sandwich bread. It’s no Wonder Bread, but white bread from the store isn’t our goal anyway.
More Easily Digested
People in our family who are sensitive (but not allergic) to gluten handle this bread just fine. The reason dives into the nerdy details about breaking down parts of the wheat that are harder on our stomachs. Suffice to say that our lower-gluten family loves this bread.
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag a photo #cheapskatecook and @cheapskatecookon Instagram.
If you want to see this recipe demonstrated, here’s a video! Watching someone else make a new recipe helps give me a better idea of how each stage should look. Plus, I added some bonus tips. Enjoy!
Note: These are the glass mixing bowls with lids that I mentioned. They are by far my favorite mixing bowls because the lids help me avoid buying and using plastic wrap (bad for my budget and the environment!). Works perfectly for bread, sourdough, salad, and storing large amounts of leftovers.
I have also made this bread using a 1/2 cup of sourdough starter in place of the apple cider vinegar. In fact, those are the photos I took for this post! The crumb turns out a little bigger (and more crumbly) but it’s still delicious.
A Word on Kneading
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Unlike the Easiest Bread Ever, this bread requires kneading. While I sometimes knead bread by hand (a good arm work out!), as soon as I was able, I got a Professional Kitchen Aid Mixer. This has been a huge time saver.
I will never claim that you need a machine to bake good homemade bread. I never had one growing up, and we baked our bread for at least 8 years. However, I personally would not make as much bread if I didn’t have some way to knead it by machine.
IMPORTANT: Whatever machine you use, make sure you check with the manufacturer in case there are special instructions for whole grain recipes. I burnt out my first Kitchen Aid because apparently whole wheat is a lot harder on the gears when it comes to kneading. Thankfully, they replaced it free of charge and let me know how to prevent it in the future. I have had this one for about 8 years, and it has kneaded hundreds of loaves of bread.
Other Helpful Equipment
Besides the basics – measuring cups, a good spoon, etc. – the only other really handy tool I would suggest is a bowl with a lid. I use these Pyrex Mixing Bowls with lids. I use them for baking, serving, and storing leftovers
I actually made homemade bread for years before I even owned loaf pans. If you don’t have a loaf pan, simply grease a baking sheet, shape the dough into a smooth ball and place it on the sheet (only half of it needs to be smooth – put the ugly half on the sheet). Bake as directed. You will
Inexpensive, homemade whole grain bread that doesn't crumble when you make sandwiches and is more friendly for gluten-sensitive stomachs.
- 6 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups warm (not hot) water
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup warm (not hot) water
- 3 tsp yeast
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tsp molasses, separate
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- Butter, for greasing
The night before you want to bake bread, stir together the flour, water, and apple cider vinegar in a large bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap or a tight-fitting lid and let it sit on the counter for 12-24 hours.
The next day, combine the water, yeast, baking soda, and 1 tsp molasses in a small bowl. Let it rest until bubbly, about 5-10 minutes.
In a large liquid measuring cup, stir together the olive oil, salt, and the remaining molasses.
Uncover the bowl of flour and water. It will probably have oxidized and turned an unappealing grayish color, but that's normal. It will be beautiful in the end. Pour half of both the yeast mixture and the olive oil mixture into the bowl.
Use a sturdy wooden spoon to begin stirring. Add 1 cup of flour and knead it into the dough. It will be a gloppy mess that you will think can never become bread dough. Don't worry! Eight years of baking this bread tell me it will work. Keep kneading and stirring, using your hands if needed.
Add the rest of the liquids and the remaining cup of flour. When the dough is no longer sticky, use your hands to knead it until it is smooth and elastic. This means that when you poke the dough with your finger, the dough bounces back in place leaving only a slight indentation from your finger. Add more flour a few tablespoons at a time if necessary. Altogether, the kneading should take about 10 minutes.
Place the dough in a large bowl, cover it with a towel, set it in a warm place (between 80 and 90 F - see notes), and let it rise for 1 hour.
Uncover the bowl, punch the dough down (2-3 good punches with a closed fist - just to deflate it a little), recover it, and let it rise again for 1 hour.
Repeat: punch down the dough and let it rise 1 hour.
Grease 2 loaf pans with butter or oil. Split the dough in half with your hands and gently shape it into an oblong blob. Place it in a loaf pan, tucking in the ends to make a smooth loaf. Repeat with the remaining half.
Cover the loaves and let them rise on the counter for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Let the bread loaves continue to rise for another 30 minutes.
Remove the towel, place the loaves in the oven, and bake them for 30-35 minutes, until the loaf sounds hollow when you lightly rap it with your knuckles (quickly and carefully so you don't burn yourself).
I have made this bread with a variety of flours, including spelt instead of whole wheat. I have also used all whole wheat before and freshly ground whole wheat.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Any kind of acid should work. I have used lemon juice, white vinegar, and whey (from yogurt or kefir). Read more about soaking grains here.
You can substitute the molasses with any liquid sweetener - honey, maple syrup, etc. Molasses is the least expensive, and I prefer the flavor and color it gives the bread.
I have also made this bread using a 1/2 cup of sourdough starter in place of the apple cider vinegar. In fact, those are the photos I took for this post! The crumb turns out a little bigger (and more crumbly) but it's still delicious.
A Warm Place to Rise
In the colder months, I let my bread dough rise in the oven with the oven light turned on. You can also turn the oven on for 30 seconds, then turn it off, check to ensure it isn't too hot (you want it between 80 and 90 F) and place the dough in there with the oven light on. This creates a warm place for the bread to rise better.
TIP: Always put a piece of masking tape on the oven controls when the bread is rising in there, so you don't forget and turn the oven on!
In the hotter seasons, I simply let my bread rise on the table on the patio and let nature do the work.
What You Can Do Now:
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