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Seeking the Perfect Homemade Whole Wheat: King Arthur Flour’s 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread (no. 8)

In high school one of  my favorite breakfasts was a leftover baked potato and a glass of orange juice, eaten standing up a the counter. My mom and I used to joke that if you eat standing up, the calories don’t count (ha!).

Anyone else like to have dinner leftovers for breakfast? How about in your bread?

seeking perfect ww bread button2

I teased on Facebook the other day about how amazing this new bread recipe turned out and how fascinating it was that there was not one, but two ingredients that I’d never put into bread before. It’s funny that my high school routine came full circle back to my kitchen counter at 30:

This bread includes both potatoes and orange juice.

Although I’ve only made a few recipes so far from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cookbook, they’ve been 100% without fail. Their test kitchen strikes me as second to none, and the recipe notes are always so thorough and helpful.

They add orange juice to all their whole wheat bread recipes because it “tempers the somewhat tannic flavor (some perceive it as bitter) of whole wheat, without adding any orange flavor of its own.”

It’s definitely the most unique recipe I’ve tried since starting Seeking the Perfect Whole Grain Whole Wheat Bread, and it’s in contention to win (although it might need a few tweaks).

I’ll share the print version of the adapted recipe and then talk about what I did to make changes to the original.

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Katie’s Version of King Arthur Flour’s 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread (no. 8)

  • Author: Katie Kimball and King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 Tbs. orange juice
  • 1/2 c. milk + additional 1/4 c. room temperature water to add, only if necessary
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into many pieces
  • 3 c. traditional whole wheat flour (hard red spring wheat)
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • about 1/2 c. mashed potatoes (preferably unseasoned)
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase)
  • 2 1/4 tsp. SAF instant yeast


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Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients – except the extra 1/4 c. water – and mix and knead them. King Arthur says you can do it by hand, mixer or bread machine, “until you have a soft, smooth dough.” I used my stand mixer, and once incorporated added water a tiny bit at a time until a ball formed. It took about 1/8 cup.
  2. I allowed it to rest for 10 minutes for the whole wheat to absorb all the liquid.
  3. Knead in the stand mixer for 9-10 minutes, until it passes the “windowpane test”.
  4. Cover and allow to rise until it’s about doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. (I put it into the oven with its light on for warmth.)
  5. Punch down the dough and shape it into a loaf, placing it into a buttered pan. (King Arthur calls for an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch pan, so I used my narrow tinware.)
  6. Cover and allow to rise until it’s crowned about 1 1/2 inches over the rim of the pan, 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours.
  7. Uncover and bake the bread in a preheated 350F oven for 35 minutes, tenting it with foil (to prevent browning too much) after 15 minutes.
  8. The bread is done when it’s golden brown and an instant-read thermometer reads 190F. Remove it from the oven to a cooling rack and cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

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Recipe: King Arthur Flour’s 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

King Arhur's whole wheat sandwich bread (7) (475x356)

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. orange juice
1 c. lukewarm water 1/2 c. milk + additional 1/4 c. room temperature water to add, only if necessary
4 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into many pieces
3 c. traditional whole wheat flour (hard red spring wheat)
3 Tbs. sugar 2 Tbs. honey
Heaping 1/2 c. dried potato flakes or 3 Tbs. potato flour about 1/2 c. mashed potatoes
1/4 c. nonfat dry milk
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. instant yeast 2 1/4 tsp. SAF instant yeast

Method:

Combine all ingredients – except the extra 1/4 c. water – and mix and knead them. King Arthur says you can do it by hand, mixer or bread machine, “until you have a soft, smooth dough.” Okay, so there’s a little issue with those directions – no amount of time? A poor novice bread baker would struggle with this recipe as written. Here are my additions:

 

I used my stand mixer, and once incorporated added water a tiny bit at a time until a ball formed. It took about 1/8 cup. I allowed it to rest for 10 minutes for the whole wheat to absorb all the liquid. Knead in the stand mixer for 9-10 minutes, until it passes the “windowpane test” (see the basic bread baking techniques post for more on that).

Cover and allow to rise until it’s about doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. Mine looked like this after just over an hour and a half in the oven with the light on to keep things toasty:

King Arhur's whole wheat sandwich bread (1) (475x356)

Punch down the dough and shape it into a loaf, placing it into a buttered pan. King Arthur calls for an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch pan, so I used my narrow tinware.

Cover and allow to rise until it’s crowned about 1 1/2 inches over the rim of the pan, 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours. Now there’s some good directions! Unfortunately I had to leave the house and mine had 1 3/4 hours at 64F room temperature, and even with the 1/4 teaspoon less yeast it got from here:

King Arhur's whole wheat sandwich bread (2) (475x356)

all the way to here:

King Arhur's whole wheat sandwich bread (5) (475x356)

Oops. That’s a little more than 1 1/2 inches. I’m guessing my end result would have been better had it not overrisen quite so much.

Uncover and bake the bread in a preheated 350F oven for 35 minutes, tenting it with foil (to prevent browning too much) after 15 minutes. The bread is done when it’s golden brown and an instant-read thermometer reads 190F. Remove it from the oven to a cooling rack and cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

My Changes Were Many

I feel like I really chopped up this recipe with all my updates, but I’m so pleased that the bread was still super tasty. We tried some for a bedtime snack the day of baking, and I was amazed at its light flavor and seriously soft texture. It made superb peanut butter sandwiches two days later, and the crust remained so soft and light, even the pickiest crust-picker might not have to remove sandwich crusts before eating.

King Arhur's whole wheat sandwich bread (9) (475x356)

Here’s why I did what I did:

  • omitted dry milk powder for two reasons: I don’t have any on hand, and in spite of this information on how dry milk might not be so bad for you, I’m still wary of it. Not “real food.” So I just used regular whole milk for half the liquid called for in the recipe to compensate.
  • changed sugar to honey because we all should have less refined sweeteners. Honey is sweeter, so less does the job.
  • switched up the potato flakes: I don’t keep them on hand, and I figured there had to be a way to just use real potatoes. I considered trying brown rice flour or dry or cooked oatmeal, but I wasn’t sure what the goal of the potato flakes was. I Googled for information on its purpose and discovered that potatoes (or dry flakes or flour) hold moisture extremely well and keep the bread soft and supple.Then I started searching for how to use regular potatoes instead. King Arthur used a whole baking potato in another recipe here, and I also checked out all these recipes here to try to get an idea of how much potato to use. I decided upon a 1/2 cup, but with the understanding that the potatoes would already carry quite a bit of moisture (Lisa of Mama Says reminded me on Twitterthat instant mashed potatoes reconstitute at a ratio of 1:1). I left out the entire 1/2 cup of water I had been planning on and added it only as necessary. Since the 1/8 cup turned out to be enough, I’m glad I did it that way.It sounds like one could also use potato cooking water instead of potatoes for similar dough conditioning power. I remembered that just seconds after dumping my potato cooking water, which I wish I would have kept for a second trial. I would start with 1/2 cup potato cooking water and add a bit more if necessary, omitting the potato entirely.
  • Why reduce the yeast? I recently read that SAF yeast is supposed to be more powerful than regular instant, and 2 1/4 teaspoons is the amount in a regular packet of yeast, so I changed it. Haphazardly. I was kind of hoping I’d need a slightly longer rise time to work on the phytic acid more. Since the bread rose great, I don’t think this was an issue.

If you’d like to see the basic bread baking techniques I usually follow, see HERE.

Kimball Family Bread Ratings:

  • Whole grains: 5 (do you think potatoes should knock this down?)
  • Softness: 5
  • Flavor: 5
  • Workability (dough): 5
  • Good rise: 5
  • Easy recipes: 5 (once all the ingredients are collected, “mix and knead” was super simple)
  • Bonus points: –2 for requiring OJ and potatoes, two things not everyone would have on hand.

Total Score: 28/30 (view the bread rating system and all recipes HERE)

Results Notes

King Arhur's whole wheat sandwich bread (11) (475x356)

Two significant notes deserve attention for this bread. First, mine had a huge hole under the crust and before the bread. (The loaf itself looks deflated!) Is this because of the random changes I made or simply because I should have cut the final rise by about half an hour?

Second, although our loaf has only been around two days, I’m thinking the moisture content in the recipe will make it less shelf stable than some. I put mine in the refrigerator after two days for fear of mold, which will make it less sandwich-worthy and more toast-bound.

Want to Play Along?

If I were to decide this recipe was the winner (or even second place) and wanted to make it regularly, I would do a few things to make it easier. I’d freeze orange juice in 2 Tbs. portions so I didn’t have to worry about having it on hand, and I’d freeze mashed potatoes in 1/2 cup portions or potato cooking water in 3/4 cup portions. I’d have to remember to thaw them, but it would be easier than planning mashed potatoes for dinner once a week!

I’m also curious about King Arthur’s online version of their sandwich bread: Some of the ingredients are similar, but there’s more butter (melted), more potato flakes and flour, and an entire half-cup of orange juice! I almost tried to meld this recipe with the one in my book but figured I was already making too many changes! Next time…  Smile I’ll also have to try this with a baked potato, mashed up by hand or whizzed with my immersion blender, since we have bakers much more often than mashed potatoes.

AND I still need to see if I can soak it. I would think it would be possible to just mix most of the ingredients up with a little whey, let it sit, and add the salt and yeast. On the “to try” list!

Anyone have orange juice and potatoes and want to try this bread? I’d love it if you’d let me know how it goes if you give this recipe a try!

Catch up on all the recipes in the Seeking the Perfect Homemade Whole Wheat Bread series.

Have you seen The Everything Beans Book, and the Online Resources I Love, including the Cultured Dairy and Cheese class (with ongoing enrollment)?

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34 thoughts on “Seeking the Perfect Homemade Whole Wheat: King Arthur Flour’s 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread (no. 8)”

  1. Hi Katie! I found your recipe on Pinterest about a month ago and decided to give it a try as my very first attempt to make homemade bread, ever. I had recently been reading so much about all of the bad ingredients in store bought bread so this opportunity was calling my name 🙂 And it was a huge success! My first loaf was perfect! As was my second, and my third is in the oven rising as I type. I was so thrilled that my boys, who are SUPER picky about their bread, loved it! I was so wanting to make something I KNEW was good for my family AND delicious, and I am so pleased with the results. As a side note, my paternal grandmother, who I only saw once a year growing up and has been dead now for 10+ years, was an avid baker. I have the fondest memories of helping her bake bread in her kitchen, and doing this right the FIRST TIME brought me such joy and pride, thinking maybe a little bit of her talent was budding in me 🙂 Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  2. I made this recipe with your changes. It is wonderful!! I went to the store yesterday and decided to look into buying some potato flakes. After reading the ingredients list (I think potato was the only thing I recognized in a list of 8-9 ingredients) I opted to continue using real potatoes. I may experiment with potato water, too, but that remains to be seen. Thanks for a much healthier version!

  3. tried it this week. we all loved it! great taste, great texture. mine didn’t seem to rise as nicely as yours. what’s SAF yeast? i used the regular ol’ blue packet of instant/active? maybe that’s why. it seemed a little dense and a little crumbly for sandwiches but my girls are bread lovers and didn’t seem to mind. it made a nice toast!

  4. Hello, I just found you blog from DSM and I love your series on the bread. I’ve printed out this recipe and plan on making it this week. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to hear more about homemade bread. tfs

  5. I’ve been having trouble with the print friendly too… It used to work better, but hasn’t worked for me the past couple times I tried.

    As for the bread – I tried this recipe and it is tasty and soft! I did use potato water (1/2 cup) and milk (1/2 C), and the OJ and no additional liquid as I thought that would probably be enough. It seemed to work fine that way.
    My sister commented on how tasty the bread was! (She didn’t know it was a new recipe and is used to finding sourdough at my house.)

    I also scalded the milk per another commenter’s suggestion.

    Any instructions/thoughts on how to make a “soaked” version?

    1. Sarah,
      I usually just hold out the salt and yeast and 1/4 cup or so liquid, then add it the next day. I’d replace a few Tbs of water with lemon juice or whey. ??? I will try this one soaked someday! 🙂 Katie

  6. I made this and used my bread machine to knead the dough. I transferred it to a bread pan to rise and bake. It turned out soooo good! Mine sunk in the middle too, but I think I let it rise too long.

    Katie, when I went to print out the recipe, I used the “printer friendly” button. The spacing was weird and it uncrossed the ingredients you had crossed out.

    1. Lisa,
      Oh, dear. I’ve tried a couple print friendly options, but they don’t seem to be working so well with recipes. Time for a custom recipe plug-in, I think! Thanks for letting me know – glad the bread turned out better than the printing! 😉 Katie

  7. Yum! It smelled so good while baking and tasted good too. I think my bread was as tall as yours with only 1 hour on the second rise. When forming a loaf, I have used the method requiring pressing it into a ‘rectangle’ hence removing a lot of the large air pockets, rolling it into a log, sealing the seam and then tucking the ends under. This time I tried more of the method offered by The Five Minute Bread authors and it seemed to work.
    My mother had told me to use orange juice in whole wheat recipes and this is my first one! Why did I wait so long?

  8. Is King Arthur flour nutritious? You’re suppose to use whole wheat flour hours after grinding it- I’ve never bought flour in the store b/c it sits on the shelf so long I figured that nutritional value was gone.

    1. Heather,
      Well, I used freshly ground flour in the recipes, so I’m not necessarily saying to use KA flour just b/c it’s a KA recipe. If you don’t have a grain grinder, though, King Arthur is a good brand of store flour. See this post and comments for some very interesting info on nutritional value of flour: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2011/02/17/food-for-thought-is-freshly-milled-flour-more-nutritious/
      🙂 Katie

  9. Thanks for all of your research! I have put a hold on this book at my local library. I can’t wait to check it out!

  10. I’ve put potato-cooking water and leftover baked potato in my bread (I’ve even peeled and microwaved a potato to put in, once) but never used mashed potatoes as up till last summer I’d never made them. Potato does improve bread texture – there are recipes back to the 19th century, at least, recommending it.

  11. Katie, I don’t know if this would have solved any of your problems, but in the beginning of the “yeast breads” section of King Arthur they have an in depth explanation of their suggested technique for mixing and kneading. I believe they recommend mixing together, giving it a 45 minute rest to absorb liquid, and then kneading for 15 minutes. That should explain why there were no further instructions on the recipe!

    Also, we really love the “Walnut Whole Wheat” from that book. It’s one of the only other 100% whole wheat yeast breads in there. I have adapted it for soaking with success. It’s worth a shot!

    Keep on baking! I’m loving this series.

    1. Joanna,
      Aha, busted by (sort of) not reading directions! Classic.

      I have poked around the KA book and read a lot, but either I didn’t read that page or I did and it was far too long ago to remember. I’ll have to check it out!

      Thanks! 🙂 Katie

  12. I have that cook book! I just made the cake on the cover for my birthday. It was heavenly. I have only tried a roll recipe other than that. It didn’t turn out so great. I’ll have to try this bread.

  13. I went to a Mennonite college, & they were famous for their potato bread. I think there is a a recipe in the More for Less cookbook.

    Got to agree about scalding the milk!

    Kate, that buttermilk potato sounds great!

  14. Hi There!
    I found this interesting information about your crust problem:
    A flying crust is a tunnel under the top crust and above the crumb. The crumb may be normal, but there is a chance that the crumb will be a bit glassy and tough. A flying crust is formed when several things come together. First, the dough may be a little on the wet side, say 65% hydration. Second, the final rise may be a little too long, maybe one hour, maybe even longer. Third, the atmospheric conditions may be warm and dry.

    Here’s what happens. The dough expands, as it should. The top crust dries out a bit because the air is dry. Then, because the rising continues past the point that is optimal for the dough, the interior of the loaf, the future crumb, collapses. Because the top crust is dry, it can’t fall back with the interior, so it stays up and a tunnel forms. Viola! Flying Crust! In many ways, a flying crust is the logical ending point of a search for huge holes in bread gone wrong.

    Here’s how to limit the potential for a flying crust.

    * Don’t let dough stay too long in final rise, in fact, bake the dough slightly before it’s fully risen.
    * Don’t let the crust dry out. I usually cover the loaves during final rise with a damp towel and spritz the towel once or twice during the final rise, especially during the winter when the house is dry.
    * If a certain recipe always tends to flying crust, figure a way to turn the fully-risen loaf over as you put it in the oven.

    This recipe sounds great! Thanks for sharing your tweaks with us.

    1. Flying crust! Seriously love that term. I might have to keep letting it overrise just so I can tell people my crust is flying. 😉 Thanks for the research! 🙂 Katie

  15. Well, since I have some potatoes boiling for shepherd’s pie as I type, I think I will give this recipe a try. We do also always have OJ on hand. Glad you already made some adjustments though, b/c I would never use potato flakes or powdered milk etc, either.

    BTW, when I am making loaves, I throw the rolled up dough down on the counter really hard a few times to get any big air bubbles out. The sound of the “thwak” actually sounds a bit different by about the third time.

    But your loaf might simply have over risen in this case. We can’t have it perfect every time!!

  16. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    This intrigues me. I know a recipe you ought to try, I found it in the Joy of Cooking. It was my favorite about 3 years ago. I didn’t make any changes to it, though I would now. It was “Buttermilk Potato Bread.” It used mashed potatoes and buttermilk (plus white flour and sugar, but…). I bet you could adapt THAT for soaking really easily. It was nice and soft and just delicious too.

  17. Try slashing/scoring your loaves before you let them rise in the pan. This allows more surface area for rising and would help with the bubble under the crust problem. Also, this prevents the loaf from rising over the sides of the pan–aka muffin top–and gives it more height. I make three diagonal swipes with a very sharp knive 1/2 to 1 inch deep. It make a big difference!

  18. Ya know, I tried a recipe last year that called for OJ and potato starch…I sure wish I remembered where it came from. It seems like we liked it. I bet it was adapted from the KA recipe, too. At any rate, I still have the potato starch in the fridge, so I’ll have to juice an orange and give this one a go.

  19. Since you liked the addition of potatoes, have you ever tried the Tassajara Yeasted Potato Bread? It uses a sponge, plus mashed potatoes, and yes, dry milk. However, I don’t keep dry milk on hand so I don’t use it. My husband and I used to toast the bread and have it with chicken stew. It was perfect for wiping out the bowl!

  20. Perfect adaptations. I’d probably have done similar things myself. I love that cookbook! I used to swear by KA’s baker’s special dry milk, but I’d always forget to order it before I ran out. Now I just use scalded milk for the liquid. I recommend scalding your milk even if it doesn’t call for it, the aroma is divine – like making pudding or custard, and it somehow promotes a better rise and crumb. And never use raw milk without scalding if you have any. The enzymes will eat your gluten and you’ll end up with bread soup! ☺ As long as you bake your loaf long enough, potato starch actually gives you longer shelf life. I almost always have OJ, but I’d try lemon or lime juice in smaller quantities to see if they could help that bitter flavor if I was out. I use white whole wheat rather than red. I haven’t tried out that particular recipe in the book, now I’ll have to!

    1. Kelly,
      I’ve never heard that about raw milk, but that’s almost always what I use. Huh. Maybe that was the problem with the artisan bread in 5 fiasco… Thanks! 🙂 Katie

  21. Interesting! I tried this recipe out a few weeks ago, and I was less than impressed. In fairness, I think my yeast might have been bad, since I seemed to have trouble with rising. I did use the powdered milk & potato flakes, but I do like the idea of using fresh instead, so I might give it another go. My go-to whole wheat sandwich bread is this one: http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/2009/03/wednesday-baking-whole-wheat-bread/

  22. This is the recipe I use (with some tweaks of my own… for example, I omit the powdered milk and OJ, reduce the yeast and sugar, and use whey in place of the milk and some of the water). We really like it. Freshly ground wheat makes it even better.

    Yes, I think the holes were a result of over-rising. Sometimes that happens to me. 🙂 Forming the loaf by stretching out the dough and rolling it up (like cinnamon rolls) always helps with air bubbles, though.

  23. I think it needed to bake longer. Cook’s Illustrated recipes for whole wheat bread recommend a final temp of 200-205, which I’ve typically had good luck with. I think that would solve a lot of your moisture issues.

  24. I’ve made the recipe as written several times. When done in the bread machine overnight it falls so flat that the slices are rectangular. I have no idea why, but it seems fairly consistent.

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