Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Straightforward Bread with a Twist- Non-Dairy Sandwich Bread

OK, I admit it. There are plenty of great sandwich bread recipes, and they aren't (and don't have to be) complicated or difficult. Sometimes, however, you want a simple bread that has all the qualities of a sandwich bread: sturdy for holding the filling but not tough and dry, soft without being wet, and tasty (of course) without being too sweet. Especially if your sandwiches are on the savory side. You know, roast beef, cold cuts, smoked meat and fish, good sharp cheeses. You know. At the same time you don't want to compromise on healthy, nutritious bread. What to do? Here is a recipe that  uses some of the ingredients and techniques I have posted in my ever-growing series of basic breads, in combination. It uses soy milk instead of regular milk and 'light' whole wheat flour in combination with regular bread flour. The result is a sandwich bread that is tasty and sturdy, without the aftertaste you sometimes get with soy. The whole wheat supplies the fiber and the regular bread flour the gluten. It is soft like an egg bread (challah is the classic egg bread) but there's no egg! A great compromise that really delivers the goods. The only problem might be, that it doesn't have a long 'shelf-life'. Don't worry, it will disappear before it has time to spoil. Enjoy!

Here's what you'll need:
1 1/4 cups (about 300ml) unflavored soy milk
1 Tbs honey
1 tsp yeast
1/4 cup (about 60ml) warm water
3 cups (450g) light whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups light whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp butter or oil 

Here's what you'll need to do: 
* If the soy milk is not super fresh, i.e., you bought it today or yesterday at the earliest) then bring it to a boil then let it cool completely. This will help remove the aftertaste that some people do not like from soy milk. 
1. Add the honey to the cooled soy milk, then the butter or oil. Stir to combine.
2. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. 
3. Combine the dry ingredients (flour and salt), then, making a 'well' in the middle add the soy milk mixture and the yeast mixture. Combine to make a smooth dough.

4. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes to make a dough that is slightly sticky and very smooth.
5. Place the kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let it rise, covered with a damp towel or plastic wrap, until doubled. This will take about 1 1/2 hours at room temperature.
6. Gently de-gas the dough and shape into a loaf the length and width of a loaf pan.

Place the loaf in a lightly greased loaf pan and let it rise until it is even with the height of the pan.
7. Heat the oven to 350 F (175 C) and bake the bread for about 35 minutes until golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. 

* Some variations:
* Add sunflower seeds to the bread dough after the first rise. Roll it out into a rectangle, sprinkle the seeds then roll it up and knead it to distribute evenly.
* Roll the loaf in poppy seeds or sesame seeds before placing in the loaf pan.
* Add raisins or dried cranberries (the same way as the sunflower seeds).

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