Monday, March 15, 2010

My Favorite Whole Grain Sandwich Bread and Cinnamon Rolls (or Sticky Buns)


The secret to really good whole wheat sandwich bread that is moist and soft is allowing it to rise properly. I allow this dough to rise four times. It’s also important to knead your dough long enough. This can take quite a while if you’re kneading by hand.

When I knead by hand, I knead for 15 minutes, allow my dough (and me!) to rest for 10 minutes, and then knead for 15 minutes more. These days, I prefer to use my KitchenAid’s dough hook attachment and allow it to knead for 10-15 minutes, or until the dough appears somewhat smooth and elastic.

For the 1st rise, place the dough into a bowl with a tablespoon or two of EV olive oil. Turn the dough to coat all sides, cover with a damp towel, and allow it to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

For the 2nd rise, punch dough down gently, turn it over, cover, and allow it to rise again until doubled. This usually takes half the time of the first rise.


For the third rise, punch dough down gently once more, divide and shape as desired (above I used half the dough for a sandwich loaf and the other half for cinnamon rolls), and place in pans, again covered with a towel, to rise until almost doubled, about 20 minutes.

The forth rise happens during the first 5 minutes of baking.


You can see here what a difference it makes in the final product. Mmmm….


I try to keep my cinnamon rolls somewhat healthy by not using too much sugar, and the sugar I use is organic evaporated cane juice. I usually use 1/2 cup of sugar and a tablespoon of cinnamon for the filling, and 8 ozs. of cream cheese whipped with 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar for the topping. Sometimes we drizzle honey over the top instead.

Feel free to experiment with your own ideas. More ideas here.


Oh, my! These are sooooo delicious!


Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is!


Here’s the recipe I adapted from Sue Gregg’s Whole Grain Baking Cookbook:

Whole Grain Dough

1 cup hot water

3/4 cup plain yogurt, whey, kefir, buttermilk,      ~ or 1/2 cup lemon juice (I prefer Stonyfield Creamtop Plain Yogurt)

4 cups whole wheat flour, spelt, or kamut  (I substitute 1/2 cup of soy flour for extra protein, and use half spelt/half wheat mix)

Mix above ingredients, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and allow to stand overnight. (This is optional, and I sometimes forget to do this the night before. The bread is still delicious when prepared the same day. Soaked grains are easier to digest.)

1 cup warm water

1 TBSP active dry yeast (or 1/4 oz packet)

1/2 tsp. honey

1/2 tsp. baking soda (added after mixture bubbles)

Mix above ingredients and let stand for 5 – 10 minutes, until frothy.

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup honey

2 tsp. sea salt

Mix above ingredients and add it, flour mixture, and yeast mixture to a mixing bowl. Knead by hand (or machine) until well blended. Turn out onto floured surface (if hand kneading) and knead for 20-30 minutes, until smooth and elastic. If kneading by machine, knead for 10-15 minutes.

1-2 cups whole wheat, spelt, or kamut flour

You may add up to 2 additional cups of flour to dough as needed to prevent sticking while kneading. I usually add about 1 cup of flour, only adding enough to allow dough to pull away cleanly from sides of mixing bowl. If you add to much flour, your dough will be dry and tough!

***Follow the directions at the top of this post for rising.

This recipe makes 2 loaves, or 1 loaf and one pan of cinnamon rolls.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes (or until the loaf sounds hollow when you thump it) for loaves, and 20-25 minutes for cinnamon rolls. Enjoy!


TIPS: If you need instructions on assembling the cinnamon rolls, try here. Instead of cutting with a knife, I use a piece of string (fishing line or dental floss work best!) slid gently beneath the log of dough, and then pulled crosswise across the top. It makes the cleanest cut. And I cook all my bread in stoneware pans. It cooks more evenly without allowing the bottom to become too brown. Don’t forget to spray or grease the bottom of your pans!

How to knead

How to shape loaves

Understanding yeast


Ann said...

That's a good looking loaf Melissa! And I want one of those cinnamon buns.

melissa sews said...

Ann, I wish you lived closer... I'd certainly have you over for tea and a cinnamon roll!