Loaf Bread – The Best School Lunches start with Homemade Sandwich Bread!


This is a reposting of one of our most popular topics!

It is now what I consider “sandwich season.” Some may call it “back to school,” “end of summer” or even “fall,” but to me it is the season when I have to come up with a million types of sandwiches and other lunches to keep my boys from growing up on PB&J alone! Although school lunches have come a long way since I was a kid, they still leave much to be desired and are mostly to be avoided.

To start I need the perfect loaf bread. My boys want a loaf that looks and feels like what all the other kids are eating; square and soft. They love crusty bread, but not on their sandwiches, especially not PB&J. To achieve just the right sandwich loaf I have slightly altered what we do in the book.

Loaf Bread


I start by weighing a 2-pound piece of dough (large cantaloupe-size) on my Scale. I used the Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread on page 78 of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day-2007 (now out of print), or on page 137 of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, 2013. But you can use any of the doughs from our books in a loaf pan.

Let the dough rise in a well greased non-stick 8 1/2 x 4 1/2- inch Loaf Pan, covered loosely with plastic wrap for 1 hour and 40 minutes (or just 60 minutes if you are using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).

20 minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. I don’t use any steam, because I don’t want a crisp crust, but you are welcome to do so. You will also notice that this is slightly cooler than we say in the book. This is so that I get a nice soft crust and because I will be baking it longer.

(I filled it with 2-pounds as opposed to the 1 1/2-pounds that we call for in the book, so that I will get a larger loaf. I like how it comes up out of the pan a bit. The whole wheat doesn’t rise quite as much as the breads made with all-purpose flour. The whole wheat flour does not have as much gluten to allow for the stretch. The brioche dough is also a lovely sandwich loaf. In our new book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients we’ve developed a Whole Wheat Brioche that is the absolute best of both worlds.)


Bake the loaf for about 60 minutes. Flip the loaf out of the pan and allow to cool before cutting it and making your favorite sandwiches. (If the loaf sticks to the pan, just allow it to sit in the pan for several minutes. It will steam around the sides and release itself from the pan. If the sides feel soggy after this, return it to the oven for just a few minutes.)


Charlie devours his favorite sandwich made with ham, cheese, lettuce and tomato (from our garden), sliced onions and honey mustard. What are your kids’ favorites?

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359 thoughts on “Loaf Bread – The Best School Lunches start with Homemade Sandwich Bread!

  1. Hi Zoe!

    Question: could sandwich loaves be made with the master recipe? If so, how would you achieve a soft crust like traditional supermarket loaves that people are used to? Baking at a lower temperature? Adding something to soften the crust?

    Thanks in advance,

      1. I want to know if soft load bread is possible with the Master Recipe. Basic 4 ingredients, assuming a 2lb loaf as suggested above.

      2. John: Which Master Recipe, we have 4 different books, each has a master recipe. Which book are you working from?

      3. The master recipe from “The New Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.” Do I need to add something to the dough to make it soft? Or bake it differently?


      4. Things to try:

        1. Omit the steam
        2. Swap oil or melted butter for 1/4 of the water
        3. Brush top with oil or melted butter before (and possibly after) baking
        5. Try buttermilk dough, challah, or brioche dough instead–all are in the book.

        See what you think…

  2. can I use the old master dough for the pullman pan – would it be the same measurements as the whole wheat one you have – as in how much to fill in the pan ..

    did it with the buttermilk dough- i like the original better and want to try that next time


  3. hi. I used the master white bread recipe and Zoe’s sandwich bread instructions. However, despite brushing the top with butter, it was still very hard. Any other suggestions to ensure a soft crust?

    1. If you’ve already tried omitting the steam, and you’ve checked your oven temp with something like http://ow.ly/8CVPU , then the other thing to try is to bake with any of the enriched breads from the chapter by that name in any of our books.

  4. I love the sandwich bread recipe, but would like to reduce the amount of eggs (or eliminate). What would be an appropriate substitute for someone wanting to cut down on cholesterol?

  5. I just made the sandwich bread from the cookbook the other day and the whole family is in love! I have a question…if I want to cut down on the honey (by half or so) do I need to alter anything else in the recipe? More water or anything? Or will it be fine, just a little less sweet?

    1. Make sure you used the flour we recommended (and made no other swaps), and check your oven with a thermometer, something like http://ow.ly/8CVPU. Be sure you used vital wheat gluten in this particular recipe.

      1. Hi Tammy,

        I think Jeff was thinking of a recipe from HBin5 when he suggested vital wheat gluten. Are you making the White sandwich loaf from ABin5? If so, you are correct, no vwg. I do think his suggestion of an oven thermometer will be helpful. Are you making larger loaves or alterning anything at all in the recipe?

        Thanks, Zoë

  6. Zoe, which book are you referring to for page 78 Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread. I have all your books and don’t see the recipe.

    1. Hi Colleen,

      That is from our first book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. If you have the NEW ABin5 it is on page 134.

      Thanks, Zoë

  7. Zoe, IF I want to make a small regular loaf of bread using your ABin5 recipe,what do I need to do as as far as baking time and temperature are concerned? I don’t have any of your books yet but certainly plan on getting the New ABin5 sometime this week. I used the basic recipe and made a batch of bread using the free form method and it turned out great. Just wondering if can make a loaf of sandwich bread with the basic recipe until I get the book. thanks

  8. Just stumbled on your site while searching online for a fast way to have great fresh baked whole wheat bread–i have quite a few little ones and very little time :). I wanted to go right out and buy your ‘healthy’ book! but alas, am currently living overseas and can’t get a copy for quite a while…is there anyway you could share this whole wheat sandwich bread recipe with me?? and instructions for if i wanted to make it from 100% fresh ground hard red wheat if it isn’t already?? i am aware you have a kindle version but i don’t like my cookbooks on kindle and would rather wait for a hard copy.. thought i’d just ask in the mean time. whether you can or can’t, thank you for your time!

  9. At the end of the recipe you commented parenthetically, by way of explanation, that whole wheat flour has less gluten. King Arthur says their whole wheat flour is higher in protein, by weight, than their bread and all-purpose flours. I always took protein content specs to be equivalent to gluten content, but if what you say is true, I can only make sense of the KA specs, if part of the protein content of the whole wheat isn’t gluten, but I suppose protein from the germ. Is that right?

  10. Hi! A good friend just told me about your book and this new way of making bread. I’m super excited to get started. My children love soft oat nut bread and so I would like to make this soft sandwich bread first, but you don’t say which book it is from! Could you please let me know? I couldnt find the actual recipe anywhere! Thanks so much. Tricia

    1. Zoe mentions above that it’s the Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread from our first book, now out of print, on page 78 (Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, 2007). In the new (currently-available) version of the book it’s on page 137 (The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, 2013). That dough is about 50% whole grain, 50% white. Many other possibilities though. We have WW doughs in The New Artisan Bread in 5 Min/Day, and in Healthy Bread in 5 Min/Day:

      NewArtisan: relatively lower in WW
      Light Whole Wheat Bread (20% WW or 50% in the variation)
      100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
      Raisin-Walnut Oatmeal Bread
      Oatmeal Pumpkin Bread
      Oatmeal-Pumpkin Seed Bread

      HealthyBread in 5 (mostly whole grain in this book)
      Many more recipes with 100% WW. The Master Recipe in that book is about 70% WW. All the recipes depend on added gluten. You might like the Oatmeal Date Bread, which is about 60% WW.

      Hope that helps…

  11. Hi, I have been baking master-recipe boules just from the recipe online for a few years now, but I am proud to say I finally got the New book, and it is so great to see so many varieties of recipes in there! I am super excited to try many of them out!

    In particular, I’m experimenting with the soft sandwich loaves, I think around p324 if I remember right; the buttermilk and the ‘american white’.

    So the buttermilk recipe (using melted butter) was FANTASTIC. But the cost of the buttermilk&butter are far more than the rest of the raw ingredients.

    So I tried the american white, just with vegetable oil (in and brushed on), to experiment with the lowest-cost possibility. Texture is great, but taste not so good, it kind of tastes like oil.

    I’ll keep experimenting, but any guidelines about what kind of oil works well? Vegetable? canola? olive? PAM? butter-flavored PAM? (spray-on sure would be easier than brush-on)

    1. Personally, I’m a big fan of olive oil, I love it. All the other oils you mention have pretty much no flavor at all. Won’t help if you don’t like the flavor of olive oil! Another very flavorful oil (that happens to be solid at room temp) is coconut oil (which is a saturated fat like butter). You can melt and brush on. But a warning– it’s expensive stuff. Tastes great though, like coconut.

      1. For a savory sandwich, olive oil would probably be good, but I don’t think it would be nice for PB&J, which is kind of a dealbreaker in our house… 🙂

  12. Zoë and Jeff,
    I’m enjoying this thread and getting a lot out of it. I’ve never seen authors give so much quality support to their readers as you two do and we are all grateful for it.

  13. Jeff or Zoë –
    Do you have any thoughts on combining this loaf pan technique with the refrigerator rise technique that one can use for artisan-shaped loaves? I would love to be able to set dough in a pan overnight for baking in the morning, or in the morning for baking at supper time. I appreciate your insight! Thanks!

  14. First – I love the breads that I have made using this method!!!I

    I have a question on an ingredient swap. I make cheese and have leftover whey that I freeze. Am I able to get the whey to room temp and use it in place of the water when I make peasant bread?


    1. Hi Erin,

      I do the same with yogurt and it is awesome. I usually do 50% whey and the rest water. You can play with how much you want to use.

      Cheers, Zoë

  15. In your “The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day”, you have variations of of the master recipe…is the Honey Whole Wheat and Oil and Sweetener variation to be used just for the 100% whole wheat variation of the Master Recipe, or can you use them in the original master recipe that uses some all-purpose flour?

    Also, could you use more honey with the oil and sweetener version, and would this make a good sandwich loaf?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Those variations were intended to apply to both versions of the Master Recipe. And you can experiment with more oil and sweetener, yes. That’s the idea of “Soft WW Sandwich Brd” on page 132. Though that one doesn’t call for a fat source (other than eggs).

  16. In your magic recipe you indicate that the dough container or bucket should not be closed all the way or loosely covered with seran wrap. Why is that? I’ve made one batch and I covered the bowl air tight with seran wrap during the initial rise and in the fridge. The taste was delicious. or my second batch, I used the recommended buckets but couldn’t make a hole on top, so I let dough rise with loosely placed seran wrap for in initial rise, then covered tightly with lid to place in fridge. Haven’t checked the fridge since last night, so I’m hoping container hasn’t exploded. Is that your concern? Thank you.

    1. It’s not a big deal, but you don’t want the container exploding in a perfect-seal situation. Especially if you happen to be using some sort of a glass container.

      Also, some readers find the accumulating off-gases (byproducts of yeast fermentation) create a flavor profile they don’t like. All depends on how long you’re storing.

      1. Thanks, Jeff. I’m storing for maybe 7 days, tops and I’m using the plastic containers recommended in your revised book. I checked on it last night, and all is well–but will heed your advice, especially for the first 2 days in the fridge. Appreciate your quick response!

  17. I want to go back to making the Oatmeal bread from the original book–the one with wheat bra, oat bran and oatmeal. My daughter loved it so much she used to take it to school as bread and butter sandwiches, but it often developed holes near the middle of the loaf, or was a little too crumbly. Any suggestions for tweaking the recipe? I have a Pullman pan as well as glass and metal loaf pans.

    1. Hmmm…

      Holes near the middle of loaf: You might improve this by doing a little more “gluten-cloaking” at the time of shaping.

      Crumbly: Consider adding a couple tablespoons, and up to 4, in experiments to see if your dough is a little too dry. That actually might help with your first problem as well…

      1. Hi Guys,

        Replying to your 8/23/17 comment. I am using your New Healthy Bread book and the recipe on page 132. I had a couple loaves come out as above. A little crumbly and a rather large hole in the middle of the loaf surrounded by some raw dough.

        I noticed your recipe in this post ups the baking time and temp a bit, I’ll try that today to see if that helps, but in the answer above you recommended adding a few tablespoons of something, but not sure what…. Could you explain?

        Thanks for all you do and this awesome way to interact with my bread making heroes!


    1. We do, Gluten Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day… Click on the book image above to go to the book’s Amazon site

  18. Hello. I love your books and this method of baking bread. My husband’s favorite is the challah. I always reduce the yeast down to about 7 g of SAF yeast and then refrigerate at 24-48 hours before baking and the bread tastes really wonderful!

    Regarding the American-Style Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread on page 137 of the New AB in 5 book, what do you think would happen if I added about 1/4 cup of dry milk powder to the recipe? Thanks.

  19. Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread, 2009 edition of the Healthy Bread book, pp.92-3. This worked great for hamburger buns, but the loaves (8½”x4½” pans) looked pretty nearly the same size at the end of the 90 minute rest period as at the beginning. No oven spring when they baked. Should I be letting the shaped loaves rest someplace warmer than my 68° F. room temperature? The whole wheat flour came from Prairiegold hard white wheat that I milled. King Arthur unbleached flour, SAF instant yeast.

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      Does the dough seem dry or wet compared to what you see in our videos? Are you using vital wheat gluten? You may need a touch more with the home ground flours, since they don’t tend to produce as much gluten structure.

      Thanks, Zoë

  20. Hi,
    I have the New Artisan Bread book. I have question regarding WW S/W bread on pg 134.
    1. Purpose of adding milk?
    2. Instead of milk can water be added in same amount?
    3. Can the quantity of honey be reduced as it makes the bread more on the sweeter side?

    1. Milk is a tenderizer, so if you switch to water, you’ll have a firmer result, more toothsome. It’ll work fine though.

      Plus the nutritive content will be lacking what dairy provides, if that’s a plus for you.

      Sure, reduce the honey– the slightly bitter flavor of WW will be a little more forward. Honey mellows that.

  21. Hello! What is the suggested water amount when using King Arthur whole wheat flour for the Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread (NHB page 132)? Thanks!

    1. Hi K,

      Because it is not the only flour in the dough, it can be used with the amount of water indicated in the recipe.

      Thanks, Zoë

  22. Good morning!! Ok. I’m using the all purpose flour master recipe to make a sandwich loaf, but following the sandwich loaf directions from The New Healthy Bread cookbook. In the past I typically use whatever dough I have left, usually 1 to 1.5lbs (and end up taking it out at about 30-35min because it’s smaller), but this time I’m using 2lbs. The healthy bread cookbook states to cook the loaf for 40-45min at 450°, but a search on your website states to bake the loaf for 60 minutes at 375°. Help? Which is best?

    1. Hi Salvatore,

      For the master recipe I would go with 45 minutes at 450°F with steam. It rises better if you slash the top before baking. Brush it with butter when it comes out of the oven if you want a softer crust.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  23. I grew up eating a pull apart cheese loaf that was made with powdered cheese. I love the way it toasted up and was amazing smothered with butter. I have purchased some powdered cheddar cheese, but am not sure how to use it in a basic bread recipe…do I need to reduce the amount of flour, or add more liquid since I’m using additional ‘dry’ ingredients; how much powdered cheese do I use in a basic recipe, etc…I absolutely LOVED that bread and would like to try duplicating the taste/texture. It was a soft bread that toasted up crisply…

    1. Hi Leanne,

      This sounds amazing, but I have never used powdered cheese, so I’m not certain how to replicate the loaf you loved so much. I would start with a half batch of dough and add about 1/2 cup of the cheese powder to the mix, don’t change anything else. If that is not intense enough, you can try a bit more, but the powder will start to make the dough a bit slack and not have as much structure if you add too much, so go slow.

      Keep me posted on the results. Zoë

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