Sandwich Mechanics: Winter Wheat in the Summer

Hello again, everybody. Man, it's been--what?--six months? God, what happened? Er, a lot of code happened. And I wasn't making sandwiches for myself consistently for a little while, which stops the creative juices' flowing. But I hadn't stopped completely, so I nicely stockpiled some photos on my phone to remind me of breads that needed a little textual appreciation.

The one I'm writing about this time left quite an impression on me, enough so that I remember it vividly enough to write about months after I tried it. I'm talking about Oroweat Winter Wheat, a pretty unique bread off the shelf in the store.

Probably the very first thing you'll notice upon picking up the package is that it's kind of small. The form factor, if you will, is noticeably smaller in all dimensions than a standard loaf of bread. Despite that, the weight is comparable. Hmm. We'll revisit this soon. I prefer the regular size of bread, myself, because it gives me more surface area to work with when laying out ingredients. Raw spinach leaves, in particular, are finicky things, just chomping at the proverbial bit to slide off during construction.

Still not having opened the packaging, you can see some kind of large seeds on the surface of the loaf. These are actually sunflower seeds, and they contribute nicely to the texture of the bread; more on this later.

I'll be direct: this bread is quite tasty. It's kind of expensive, but if you're okay with shelling out for some yuppie bread, I do recommend it. The base taste of the bread is mildly sweet, so if you're adding on sweet spreads like Miracle Whip or the cranberry spread depicted (despite being cranberry, it is tempered quite a bit), you may get a little too much of that.

But the mere taste isn't what makes this bread unique or interesting. I briefly mentioned the weight before. Despite the bread's small size, it retains the weight of a normal slice. In other words, it's dense. This is a thick bread, and not in the sense of the cut of the slices. When you bite into it, it's a bit doughy. At the same time, the texture of the bread itself is kind of coarse: it breaks apart into large granules. Think of it as tending towards the consistency of, say, pumpkin bread. Mmmm, pumpkin bread...

Erk, where was I?

The words I used to describe it here might make it sound unappetizing, but it's really not. It's simply a different taste. You have light, airy breads like many white breads and the Italian bread I'll come to in a later episode, and you've got the heavier breads like the Winter Wheat.

What else is going on with the texture? Well, there are walnuts baked into the bread, too. Chopped walnuts, like you'd bake into a cake or something. They're slightly crunchy and add a lot to the normally boring texture of plain bread. Couple these with the previously mentioned sunflower seeds and you have a sandwich that suddenly has a number of extra "little bits" that surprise you as you eat each bite. I remember being somewhat distracted during lunch that day, chewing these little treats incorporated unexpectedly into my sandwich. It was great!

This is a great sandwich bread, but I don't recommend using it as dipping material. The bread is too expensive to waste as a mere soup-sponge. Its texture talents are better served where they'll be noticed: in a sandwich. Besides which, the coarse grain that I talked about before does not lend itself especially well to holding together in damp situations.

All in all, I recommend trying this one. It's a little expensive, and the small bread size can be a bit harder to work with, but the taste is good and the extra bits of texture complement the average sandwich well.


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