This No Knead Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread is now my go-to vegan bread recipe because it's simple to make and is a great example of how wet doughs can create wonderfully light and spongy breads. The higher water content allows the gliadin and glutenin in the flour to align into tight gluten bonds over time so you can forget about all the kneading drama. The result is a fluffy, chewy loaf that's perfect for sandwiches. Feel free to use this bread as a starting point and substitute a ½ cup of the flour for things like wheat germ, wheat bran or oat bran. It's important to note that due to the wetness of this dough it's only suitable for baking in a loaf pan.
2 cups warm water
2 Tablespoons maple syrup or agave syrup
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
3 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the warm water, maple syrup and yeast. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the yeast activates.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour and salt.
Add the wet ingredients to the bowl containing the dry ingredients and vigorously mix with a wooden spoon in a circular motion for 1 minute. Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours. Alternatively, place this in the refrigerator for about 12 to 24 hours. Remember that we want our dough to double in size regardless of whether it spends a full 24 hours in the refrigerator or rises at room temperature. Feel free to let it rise in the refrigerator for some of the time and outside of the refrigerator the rest of the time.
Vigorously mix the dough again with the wooden spoon for 30 seconds and allow it to rise once more, covered, at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours.
Preheat your oven to 350F (177C). Stir the dough one last time for 30 seconds to degass it. The dough can now be 'proofed' by gently forming it into a lightly oiled loaf pan and allowed to sit covered with a plastic bag until it reaches about 80% to 90% of it's intended size, which should be about 40 minutes. The proofing stage is where the dough takes most of it's shape. It's important to leave room under the plastic bag so the dough can rise sufficiently.
Remove the plastic bag so the dough can rest for about 10 minutes. Due to the high water content in the dough it may begin to spill over the sides of the loaf pan. In this case, take the edges of the dough and stretch it over the loaf to the other side, working your way around the perimeter of the loaf pan as you go. Stretching the dough over itself will also help keep the loaf in its proper shape as it bakes. Lightly dust the top of the loaf with wheat germ, wheat bran or oat bran.
During baking, the dough will rise another 10% to 20% of it's intended size in the process known as oven spring. Bake until the internal temperature of the bread registers 180-190F (82-88C) when read by an instant-read thermometer. This should be about 45 minutes. Rotate the loaf 180 degrees in the oven halfway through the baking duration for even baking.
Remove the bread from the loaf pan after about 30 minutes and allow to cool on a wire rack until it's cooled to room temperature. This bread is best stored covered in a cool dark place or pre-sliced and stored in a plastic freezer bag in the freezer. Makes one loaf of No Knead Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread.