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Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge: Light Wheat Bread

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.

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.

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.

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: