Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

This recipe employs the sponge method, which gives this simple bread a more complex flavor.

Serves: 8Hands-on: 30 minutesTotal: 11 hours 30 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 8


  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 3⁄4 tsp. active dry yeast (1 package)
  • 5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 3⁄4 tsp. plus 1⁄8 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 large egg


  • For the sponge: Combine buttermilk and yeast. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup whole wheat flour and beat for 1 minute. Cover and let stand at room temperature 8 hours.
  • Add to the sponge the water, butter, honey, 3⁄4 teaspoon salt, and enough of the remaining whole wheat flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead 8 to 10 minutes. Add flour only to reduce stickiness. Return to bowl, dust with flour, cover with plastic, and rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  • Coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with pan spray, and line its length with a strip of parchment. Turn risen dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and shape into a loaf. Place in prepared pan, seam-side down. Dust lightly with flour, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and proof until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat egg with remaining salt, then brush lightly and evenly over the surface of the loaf. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped from the bottom. Cool 10 minutes, remove from pan, and cool completely on a rack.