Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge: Light Wheat Bread

Light Wheat Bread Sliced

This soft, light sandwich loaf is the 18th bread I’ve baked for The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge.  Yes, I’m slowly but surely plowing through the book, and although there are still 28 breads ahead of me, I am confident I will finish the book…eventually!

Mr. Reinhart’s Light Wheat Bread was definitely a crowd pleaser – easy to make, easy to eat, and not too bad to look at, either.  The proud loaf that came out of my oven puts store-bought sandwich bread to shame and the simple formula is perfect for beginning bread bakers.

Large Loaf of Light Wheat Bread

Although I have many fond memories of my mom’s homemade whole wheat bread, the truth is that I grew up, as many Americans did, eating sack lunches filled with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on store-bought sandwich bread.  And while I do bake a lot of bread, I still find myself grabbing loaves of whole wheat bread off the supermarket shelf for sandwiches.  I hate doing that.  Store-bought breads can’t hold a candle to homemade, and most of them are so filled with additives and preservatives they can hardly be classified as bread.  So I am really trying to get in the habit of baking sandwich loaves on a regular basis again.  With a little planning, and some extra freezer space, it should be manageable.

Light Wheat Bread

I know I won’t convince all of you that it’s feasible to bake your own sandwich breads every week.  But I do believe that every one of you should try baking your own bread at least once.  It’s not difficult.  Yes, it does take time, but most of that time is hands-off, allowing you to do other things around the house – watch a movie, do laundry, spend time with your family, or just lounge around in your pajamas (I’m a big fan of baking bread in my pajamas).  Do you ever spend an afternoon at home on the weekend?  I bet you can fit some bread baking in there and even have fun doing it.

So let me tell you a little bit about this light wheat bread.  It’s called “light” because whole wheat flour only accounts for about a third of the total flour in the recipe – the rest is unbleached bread flour.  While it’s not even close to 100% whole wheat bread, it’s heartier and more flavorful than a white sandwich loaf.  The ingredients are simple: bread flour, whole wheat flour, honey, salt, powdered milk, yeast, butter and water… and the dough is easy to mix and knead by hand.  The dough was a pleasure to work with, and as you can see from the photos, it rose like a champ.  The formula produces only one loaf, but next time I’ll probably double it.  Sandwich bread freezes beautifully so it’s always nice to have an extra loaf to pop in the freezer.

Although I don’t reprint the recipes from Mr. Reinhart’s book, Deb at Smitten Kitchen wrote about this bread last year, including the recipe.  If you’re a beginning baker this bread is a great place to start, and I encourage you to give it a try yourself.

Sliced Light Wheat Bread in Bag

If you’re following along in the challenge, the recipe can be found on page 181 of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  The next bread is Marbled Rye, which will be the first rye bread I’ve ever made.  Exciting!

Want to Join The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge?

There are several ways for you to join in the fun!  First of all, you need a copy of Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  Read the first section of the book carefully, as this will prepare you for the bread recipes in the second section of the book.  Then just jump in and bake some Anadama Bread, which is the first bread formula in the book.  You may also visit The BBA Challenge Page for more details on how to participate in the group.

If you haven’t already, you might want to bookmark the BBA Challenge Page.  From there you can see which breads are coming up soon, find answers to Frequently Asked Questions, visit and/or add yourself to our World Map, see the BBA Challenge Blogroll, and check out the continually updated slideshow of BBA Bread photos from our ever-expanding group of bakers!

Light Wheat Bread from other BBA Bakers:

  1. Margaret

    Oh, look how beautifully it rose.

    Mine got about 1/2 that tall above the pan and then collapsed in the oven.

    3:43 pm  Feb 23rd, 2010
  2. alex

    I *just* got done posting my partial whole wheat bread results when your post came up in my feed. I used to get whole wheat bread from Whole Foods, but after we moved we discovered our local bread is just as artificial as most store bought bread, which was a bummer. Thankfully I adore baking, so I’ve gotten back into the once a week habit again.

    Your bread is gorgeous!

    4:03 pm  Feb 23rd, 2010
  3. Misty

    What a gorgeous loaf of bread! How in the world did you get such even slices?

    4:05 pm  Feb 23rd, 2010
  4. Phyl

    Beautiful loaf, and very nice write up! I thought fondly of this bread when I made the less-than-stellar 100% whole wheat bread toward the end of the book.

    4:22 pm  Feb 23rd, 2010
  5. Sook @ My Fabulous Recipes

    Wow what stunning photos! This bread looks beautiful!

    4:30 pm  Feb 23rd, 2010
  6. Ravenlynne

    That looks lovely!

    4:43 pm  Feb 23rd, 2010
  7. Tamara

    I used to make a loaf of sandwich bread every week, but it got tedious cutting it into slices. So now, I take the same dough recipe that I used before and shape /rolls/ with it instead. I just take it from the freezer, pop it in a plastic bag, go off to work, and then I can cut it open at lunch time for perfectly portioned sandwiches. There are fewer crumbs too.

    6:00 pm  Feb 23rd, 2010
  8. Ho Ho Ho

    Your bread looks lovely and yummy. I have BBA on my shelf.. hv tried baqutte, cranberry bread, pizza dough (everyone’s fave), cinnamon rolls…I can’t wait for our summer to be over and can start baking again…and join your challenge…

    6:04 pm  Feb 23rd, 2010
  9. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday

    How did you slice it so evenly

    6:09 pm  Feb 23rd, 2010
  10. Kara

    How did you manage to get nice even slices? That’s one of the worries I have about making sandwich bread at home!

    7:38 pm  Feb 23rd, 2010
  11. Phyl

    You can buy a bread slicing guide that will ensure nice, even slices. But I’ve found that nothing beats a really good bread knife and lots of practice.

    7:48 pm  Feb 23rd, 2010
  12. Geoffrey

    Looks great! I’ve found that letting whole wheat bread rise a whole lot–multiple times during the whole process–helps it become lighter. Lovely pictures, too!

    8:24 pm  Feb 23rd, 2010
  13. Charles Thompson

    It is so great that you are working your way through the book! I applaud you. I recently made bread after a very long break and it was so good and I had so much fun making it – I’ll be doing it again soon.

    9:02 pm  Feb 23rd, 2010
  14. Karen

    I’ve made this recipe many many times now, reduced to 2/3 so as to work in my bread machine (I use a scale with gram measures to get the measurements right) — perfect every time. This week for the first time I made the full recipe and baked it in the oven (though I used the machine to do the mixing and kneading) and it came out OK (not quite the final rise you got). So — for me it’s better in the bread machine, and way easier too. For those who try to bake all their family bread, and who have a bread machine, and who want a healthy bread that won’t ‘offend’ picky eaters (children), this is an excellent everyday bread.

    9:34 pm  Feb 23rd, 2010
  15. cookeaze

    I’ve got to try this. thanks-Looks really amazing!

    8:32 am  Feb 24th, 2010
  16. Madinat

    wow, amazing bread baking!!

    how did you get such a professional looking result? i’ve only seen bread bags at king arthur’s flour and they were incredibly expensive. ditto on the slices! did you use a guide?

    11:46 am  Feb 24th, 2010
  17. ap269

    Gorgeous loaf! Mine looked nice, too, but I wasn’t too excited about the flavor. I should have used more whole wheat flour, I think.

    12:57 pm  Feb 24th, 2010
  18. My Year on the Grill

    HEY… I just made my first loaf of bread from teh book. So far behind, not going to join, but great book and great that you are doing them all!

    1:57 pm  Feb 24th, 2010
  19. Jim K

    Great bread and yes it was easy compared to some of the others. But it was a joy to clean up after!

    3:50 pm  Feb 24th, 2010
  20. The Teacher Cooks

    Your bread looks fantastic! I love making bread, but do not have time to make it as often as you. Great job.

    9:18 am  Feb 25th, 2010
  21. Chef Fresco

    This bread looks magnificent. One weekend I will have to try to make this. I could use if for sami’s all week, rather then simply buying some at the store!

    7:14 am  Feb 28th, 2010
  22. enrolled agent course

    I never tried a light wheat bread before but looking at the pictures and after reading your article about it, I am curious to try and make one for myself.

    7:20 pm  Mar 13th, 2010
  23. Di

    That looks wonderful! I’ll have to remember to double the recipe when I make it (it’s coming up this week for me); we have no problem going through lots of sandwich bread. =)

    8:11 pm  Mar 13th, 2010
  24. Brooke

    I just received BBA as a gift and I’m super excited to try baking with it.

    One trick I have found to make homemade sandwich bread more reasonable is to make sourdough bread. I get two giant loaves out of it (granted, they’re not shaped exactly like storebought bread, but I think it’s more fun that way) and we can use them for two weeks. That way, I bake sandwich bread one week and a different fun bread on the off weeks.

    9:20 am  Mar 16th, 2010
  25. Shannon

    I skipped ahead a few breads… ok a LOT of breads, to make this one because I HATE store bought bread with a white hot passion. I love this bread! We split it into 2 1 pound loaves. I’ve found that I have to knead it a bit more than the book states to get the proper window.

    2:33 pm  Mar 23rd, 2010
  26. Agnes

    OMG !
    these bread is the best ! me and my hubby gave a try and no regrets !
    delicious !!! all our friends love it as well !!!
    great, great recipe and so easy to follow !!!
    thank you !

    2:46 pm  Mar 27th, 2010
  27. Holly @ Figs, Et Cetera

    I borrowed this book from the library and have attempted to make several different loaves from it. Not sure how far into the book this recipe is, but I’m very interested for your posts when you get to the sourdoughs. After two failed attempts, I think I have to give up for a little while. This is a wonderful book though, and a fantastic idea!

    7:08 am  Mar 31st, 2010
  28. Nutrition News

    Light Wheat bread, my favorite! Has many anti-disease / fighting properties.

    1:45 am  May 6th, 2010
  29. Holly.

    I have been making my own bread for about six months now. I have stopped buying bread from the store. As you stated so well homemade bread is SO MUCH better and the hands off time is wonderful for getting other things done. This recipe is similar to my go-to “wheat” recipe. I need to check out the rest of your bread recipes!!

    8:12 pm  May 10th, 2010
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