Well, two days ago I set out to make the perfect whole wheat sandwich loaf. Although I have plans...no, dreams of experimenting with flat breads and rolls and buns and bagels and such this year, making a good loaf of bread was goal number one, because I use it for sandwiches, toast, skillet-toasted croutons, etc. on a daily basis.
My first try was a complete failure. I don't think it's too difficult of a task, but it was just a fluke. When I took it out of the bread maker, I knew something was horribly wrong with it. I believe I either measured something incorrectly, or didn't mix the addition of gluten with the flour well enough (1 cup flour + 1 Tbsp. vital wheat gluten = bread flour). Lesson learned: slow down. You're making homemade bread, after all. The recipe I used doesn't specifically call for using bread flour or the addition of extra gluten, but I've read in various sources that it's a great add-in for most breads, especially whole grain ones, because whole grain flour on its own has a lower gluten content than processed flours. Vital wheat gluten, a protein in wheat, makes the crust better, among other benefits.
For my second loaf, I decided to leave out the extra gluten entirely, but later when I read these bread-baking tips from Smitten Kitchen, my gluten beliefs were reaffirmed, so I'll try it again next time (and mix better!).
Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf
adapted from Honey Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread for Bread Machine by 100 Days of Real Food
4.25 cups whole wheat flour
.5 tsp salt
.5 tsp salt
1.5 cups warm water
2 Tbsp brown sugar*
2 Tbsp dark molasses*
2 Tbsp olive oil
2.25 tsp yeast
*I subbed brown sugar + molasses for the honey, because I didn't have honey on hand.
I put everything in on the "dough" setting in my bread maker. If you wanted to make this by hand, I'd recommend checking out the Smitten Kitchen article above. It is a great guide! At the end of the dough setting, I took it out, put it in a greased loaf pan, let it rise for 1 hour, then baked for 1 hour (rotating halfway through) at 350 degrees F.
The bread is perfect except that it stuck to the bottom of the pan, so I'll be looking into more ways to prevent that. Overall, I'm going to call this one a success, though!