Can the Old-Fashioned Sandwich Loaf be made with wholemeal or spelt flour? Or can I replace half of the amount of white flour with wholemeal? Also can it be made in a breadmaker?
Nigella's Old-Fashioned Sandwich Loaf is a white, tender-crumbed loaf, soft on the inside with a firm but yielding golden crust. It is not only ideal for sandwiches but also for toast. Nigella tried the loaf with all wholemeal (whole wheat) flour and the dough took double the time to rise once it was put into the loaf tin. The texture is also different and it is not the bouncy, soft loaf of the original. So you can use wholemeal flour but it is not our preference. A mixture of half white bread flour and half wholemeal may give slightly better results, as may spelt flour, but unfortunately we haven't tested with these so are unable to give guidance at this time.
We would prefer to make the bread with the method in the recipe rather than in a breadmaker. The soft crumb of the white loaf comes partly from the kneading method, which is three very short, gentle, kneads over a 30 minute period and minimal "knocking back" before the dough is put in the loaf tin for the second rise. Most breadmakers are designed to give one or two longer kneadings and this develops the glutens in the flour so will give a different consistency. You can certainly use the ingredients in a breadmaking machine but we suspect that the finished bread will have a different crumb and texture.