Thursday, April 19, 2018

Soft Milk and Egg Enriched 35% Wholemeal Sandwich Bread - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Whenever I published a soft sandwich bread recipe at my blog, some readers will ask...

Can I use this white bread recipe to bake 100% or 50% wholemeal bread?

As usual, my answer is ... Yes! You can but the texture of the wholemeal bread won't be obviously the same or nearly as good as the all-white breads.

Why am I not using these soft bread recipes to bake any wholemeal breads? Simply because my fussy son doesn't like wholemeal breads! However, I have finally managed to convince him to eat his wholemeal breads!!! Yay! ... based on my promise that I will bake wholemeal breads that are soft enough for his liking.

True enough. I did!!! I have managed to bake these 35% wholemeal sandwich breads that are so soft that any blindfolded person can't really taste that there is wholemeal flour in it. I'm not going to tell my son that these are wholemeal breads and see if he will know... LOL!!!

soft wholemeal sandwich bread
Soft Milk and Egg Enriched 35% Wholemeal Sandwich Bread

Why 35% wholemeal? Not 100%???

We can't deny! All breads that are made with 100% wholemeal flour are typically NOT soft and delicious like 100% white breads.

Based on a few wholemeal breads that I have baked before at here, here and here, I have learned that wholemeal flour and all white absorbs water very differently. Based on what I have read at here, wholemeal flour tends to absorb more water making the wholemeal dough (with the same amount of water added) significantly drier and tougher than the white flour dough. Thus, this is why most wholemeal bread recipes don't contain 100% wholemeal flour! To further hydrate the wholemeal flour, some recipes even soak wholemeal flour in liquid for at least 12 hours before using it for bread making. Due to this hydration reason, most wholemeal breads are also made with higher fat content in order to retain its moisture level better.

Besides the difference in the flour's hydration, I have noticed that most wholemeal flour even with high protein content are actually not high in their gluten content, resulting most wholemeal breads to be compact, NOT well-risen and won't have the typical stretchy fluffy white bread structure. To tackle this problem, some recipes like this incorporates gluten flour to boost the fluffiness of the bread.

Considering all of these factors in my mind, I have created this 35% wholemeal sandwich bread recipe that is made with...

1) 35% wholemeal flour
Originally, 38% wholemeal flour but you need about 1/4 cup bread flour to shape the sticky dough resulting the overall percentage to be about 35%.

2) a lot more excess amount of liquid
So please beware that this dough is very soft, sticky and very difficult to handle because the strategy that I'm using is to incorporate as much moisture into these breads as possible!

3) use milk powder, not milk and not even scalded milk
You don't want to load more sticky milk proteins to make this sticky dough even stickier!!! Believe it or not, milk powder will enhance the taste of these bread and won't make the dough stickier.

4) eggs
The egg proteins helps to give these breads a nice bouncy structure and they are nutritionally good for us too!

5) a little more butter
Not so healthy but this addition will make the breads moister with less wholemeal-cardboard texture.

Due to the fact that this recipe is not made with 100% wholemeal flour, no pre-soaking step is required and this is no need to boost the gluten content of these breads.

Here's a video showing how I baked these 35% wholemeal breads. As shown in the video, the bread dough is very soft and difficult to handle so please do not knead the dough by hand. Please use a breadmaker or an electric mixer with hook attachment for kneading.

Thanks Bensound for the music in my video.

soft wholemeal sandwich bread
I must say... baking good wholemeal breads is pretty challenging.
soft wholemeal sandwich bread
... but rewarding when you know that ...
you are feeding your family these delicious nutritious soft wholemeal bread.
soft wholemeal sandwich bread
Mission accomplished!

"Hi Sweetie, How's lunch today?"


"Hey, do you like this new brown sugar bread that I have baked for you?" *wink* *wink*

"Hey, don't think that I don't know that you had given me wholemeal breads for my sandwich." my son replied and he gave me a dirty look.

"So don't tell me that you knew and you threw away your lunch!" I told myself that I'm going to look or be guilty for baking these wholemeal breads and so I tried to counter the situation by interrogate my son further.

"No, mum! These breads are ok and I ate them all." And I can see the honest expression in my son's face.

Since my son looked and sounded honest, I had to be honest with my son too...

"Yes, you are right. These are actually 35% wholemeal bread."

"Oh I see. I knew that they are wholemeal because of the brown specks but taste-wise, they are pretty good."

"I see that you are not stupid. Errr... Can I try baking 100% wholemeal breads for you?

"Please don't!!!"

"I promise it will be good..."

Stay tune if you want to know I have managed to bake a 100% wholemeal bread that is soft enough for my son to like it.

Like my family-friendly baking recipes? To get the latest updates, you can follow me at either my Facebook at here or here or my Instagram @zoebakeforhappykids

Here's the recipe that is very modified from here.

Make two 10 cm x 20 cm loaves
You can use half of the recipe to make one loaf of bread.

420g water, lukewarm at about 40°C / 105°F
100g eggs, weight without the shell, at room temperature (about 2 extra-large eggs but please use exact weight)
400g bread flour with 12% protein
250g wholemeal / whole wheat flour
45g milk powder
60g caster sugar - I used raw caster sugar.
5g salt
75g unsalted butter, soften at room temperature
2 1/2 tsp dry yeast

extra butter or vegetable oil spray to grease the loaf pans and their lids
extra bread flour (about 1/4 cup) for dusting and shaping but please use the minimal amount
egg wash (1 egg + 1 tbsp milk) for brushing, if you are not using pullman tins to bake these breads.

If you are using a breadmaker to knead and prove, add all ingredients into the breadmaker according to this order. Use "dough" setting to mix and knead dough for 30 mins or until the dough is elastic. Allow dough to prove for 1 hr.

If you are using an electric mixer with an hook attachment to knead, combine all ingredients except butter in the mixing bowl and mix at low speed until a dough forms. Then, knead in the butter until incorporated. Continue to knead at low speed for at least 25 mins or until the dough is elastic. It is important that the dough has to be elastic and stretchy. Cover the dough and allow the dough to prove in a warm and humid place for about 1 hr or until doubled in size.

IMPORTANT: Dough will be very soft and sticky. Please do not knead by hand.

To shape the dough into bread loaf:
Grease loaf pans with butter or vegetable oil spray.

Dough is very sticky. Please use flour to dust your hands, working area and rolling pin. Divide dough into into 6 equal portions. Shape each portion of dough into smooth balls. Allow them to rest at room temperature for about 10 mins.

Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll each portion into long and flat oval shape (about 20 cm) on a lightly floured non-stick surface. Use your fingers to pick one shorter side of the dough and tuck and roll the dough like a Swiss roll. Use the rolling pin to flatten and roll the dough into a long rod shape. Then, pick one shorter side of the dough and roll it like a Swiss roll again. Repeat this rolling step with the remaining portions of dough.

Place three rolled dough with their seams side down into the each prepared pan. Press the top of the dough lightly to form an even surface. Allow the dough to prove in a warm and humid place for another 1 hr or until the dough is going to reach the maximum height of the loaf pan.

Cover the pans with the greased lids or brush the top of the dough with egg wash. Bake bread in a preheated 180°C (350°F) oven for 27-30 mins or until the bread are thoroughly baked. Remove lids if required and breads from the loaf pans and transfer immediately onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

To store, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and keep at room temperature for 2-3 days or freeze in serving portions for 2-3 months.

Happy Baking
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  1. May I let the breadmaker continue baking the bread instead of placing into the oven?

    1. Different breadmaker have different settings and capacity and I won't know your breadmaker and won't know what to do with it. Cheers!

  2. Hi Zoe, my wife loves when I make this bread, reminds her of the bread from her 小时候在内蒙古!Technical question, do you think using your bread machine to mix your bread doughs rather than using your stand mixer produces a better results? I want to pick up one or the other to make the kneading process easier, just looking for you thoughts on which machine type is best for bread kneading.

  3. Hi, Nice to hear that your wife likes the breads that you baked for her. I always use breadmaker to knead my dough because unlike the stand mixer, it is temperature-controlled and sometimes, it can be too cold in Melbourne and it will affect the elasticity of the dough and the yeast growth eventually. I hope that my info will help you to decide whether you should buy a breadmaker or not. Cheers!

  4. Can we use all purpose flour instead of bread flour

    1. Hi, you can use all purpose flour with 10% protein to bake your breads but they won't rise as well as the ones that are made with bread flour with 12% protein.

  5. Thanks for the recipe. My 2 loaf did not come out square even though i used pullman tins of 10*20. Why is that???

    1. Sorry to hear that your breads are not square. Maybe you didn't weigh the ingredients correctly or didn't prove the breads long enough. Cheers!

  6. Thanks for your sharing. I tried to do 1 loaf first. Followed your method using the bread maker.It really easy to make it. Love it