**updated** I made this bread again today, and it turned out perfect!! It is soft, just like store-bought. I have updated the ingredients and recipe below. I think the key change is using whole wheat bread flour.**
Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
adapted from Sweet Luvin' in the Kitchen
5 cups fresh ground whole wheat flour, or whole wheat bread flour (I used 1 cup King Arthur white wheat flour and 4 cups organic whole wheat bread flour.)
1 1/2 TBSP active dry yeast
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 Tbsp salt
1/4 cup instant dry milk
1/2 cup potato flakes
3 1/2 TBSP butter, softened
2 TBSP vinegar
1/4 cup honey, plus more if you like it (spray the inside of the measuring cup with non-stick spray before you measure the honey and it will slide right out.)
2 1/2 cups hot tap water ( I added 2 TBSP of additional hot water.)
1 TBSP butter, melted
1 TBSP butter, melted
In a mixing bowl, fitted with a dough hook, measure in flour, yeast, gluten, salt, dry milk and potato flakes. Mix for a few seconds until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix for about 30 seconds. If dough is too dry, add more water, if it is to wet, add a little more flour. The dough at this point should be wet enough to leave a little residue on the sides of the bowl. I added a little more water to my mix. Mix for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough looks smooth and elastic and comes clean off of the side of the bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp towel, and let dough rise until doubled. This time varies, but for me it was about an hour.
After it has doubled in size, punch down and separate into 2 dough balls. For a perfect looking loaf, roll the dough ball out the width of your loaf pan, and just slightly longer than your loaf pan, getting all the air bubbles out. Then, tightly roll the dough up, pinch each side closed and tuck them under a bit and lay it in a greased loaf pan. (Don't worry about the dough touching all the sides yet, it will expand during the second rise. Repeat with remaining dough ball. Cover with damp cloth and let dough rise again until about doubled; it should rise just above the top of the pan. The second rise doesn't take as long, about 30 minutes for me. Near the end of the second rise, preheat your oven to 350 F.
Bake for 22-27 minutes. Remove from oven and let loaves cool for 10 minutes, then take the bread out of the pans and completely cool on a wire rack. Brush melted butter on top and sides of loaves for a softer crust. Slice and store in a ziploc bag.
Makes 2 large loaves. I have made this in a traditional large loaf pan, mini loaf pans, and an small oval casserole dish. It turns out perfect anyway you make it!