If I had a flag, I would run it up the pole. That's how excited I am about this bread. I've been searching for a good sandwich bread, and while the white Pullman loaves I had made were good, the master plan was to make a subtle switch to wheat. This bread isn't 100% whole wheat, as it contains just a little more whole wheat flour than white, but it's a happy medium for our family.
Making this is so different than doing artisan bread because the dough itself is a lot firmer. I think adding too much flour (and possible using old yeast) is the biggest reason many bread doesn't turn out, so when searching for the right consistency for this dough, I just hold my breath and add enough so it almost cleans the sides of the bowl.
Anyway, about the bread. The finished bread has a tight crumb and a great flavor: a little sweet with a mild wheat taste. It holds together well for sandwiches and toast and makes great bread crumbs.
This recipe is for two loaves, but it can easily be halved. As it is, it challenges the dough capacity of my KitchenAid mixer. I think the original quantities are intended for a 4x4x13 Pullman pan, but my pans are only 12 inches long, leaving me with some extra dough to either make a small loaf or a few rolls. When I weighed the finished dough, it came to about 6 lbs 12 oz. I put 3 lbs in each pan and made a few rolls with the extra. You could tweak the recipe so I wouldn't have extra dough, but the quantities are easy for me to remember, so I leave them as is.
Whole Wheat Pullman Bread
5 t. instant yeast (I use SAF)
5 c. warm water
6 c. whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground white wheat)
4-6 c. white flour (I use Lehi Roller Mills high gluten flour)
2 T. natural dough enhancer (optional)
2/3 c. nonfat powdered milk
2 T. salt (I use Redmond Sea Salt)
1/2 c. butter, room temp (oil also works very well and gives the bread a softer crust)
1/2 c. honey
In your mixing bowl, mix the whole wheat flour, yeast, and water with a spatula. Cover for at least 15 minutes, or until bubbly. (This "autolyse" step can be skipped, but I think it gives the wheat flour and yeast a chance to hydrate, and me a chance to get all the other ingredients ready.)
In separate large bowl, mix 4-5 c. of the flour (reserve at least one cup), salt, powdered milk, and dough enhancer. (Mixing the powdered milk with the flour prevents it from clumping when you add it.)
Add butter and honey to mixing bowl, and with dough hook on low speed, add the flour mixture. Knead for 7-10 minutes, adding the extra flour as necessary. Dough should gather around the dough hook and almost clean sides of bowl.
Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead by hand for one or two minutes.
Place in oiled container or bowl and let rise until at least doubled.
Turn out and divide dough as necessary for your pans (see recipe notes above). Roll out dough in a 12x8-inch rectangle with the long side facing you. Roll up the dough tightly to form a log. Pinch seam and ends to seal. Place seam side down in a pan that has been brushed with oil (including the bottom side of the lid). Cover with lid 3/4 and let rise until dough has risen to about 1 inch from the lid. Place in 400-degree oven for about an hour.
Start checking bread at about 45 to 50 minutes. When bread in finished, it will be well browned, pull away from the sides of the pan and sound hollow when tapped. If you can, wait until cooled before slicing!