Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Joybee's Baking Journal: Light Wheat Bread (sourdough)

Light wheat bread makes a great sandwich bread with a little more whole wheat than plain white bread. This recipe is 33 percent whole wheat flour (33% of the total flour weight). I modified this recipe, slightly from the one in The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I made this a sourdough by using half the final dough weight in barm and adjusting the flour and water weights as necessary.

My Recipe:

The night before (feed sourdough):
My goal is to have 16 oz barm. I will also add the whole wheat flour at this point.
2.5 oz sourdough starter
6.75 oz whole wheat flour
6.75 oz water

The next morning:
The barm was bubbly and had grown at least double in size. To this I added

10 oz bread flour
.75 oz honey
.38 oz salt
1 oz powdered milk
1 oz butter
2 oz water

I mixed it all, with the paddle attachment on my stand mixer, until all the flour was hydrated and the dough formed a wet ball. Then I switched to the dough hook and kneaded for 6 minutes, adding more flour until the dough became firm, tacky but not sticky, the dough pulled away from the sides of the and did not stick to the bottom of the bowl. I transferred the dough to a large, oiled glass bowl and covered with plastic wrap and a towel.

After 4 hours the dough had doubled in size.

Then I shaped the dough into one loaf, put it in an oiled 9x5 inch pan and let sit for 2 more hours until the dough was cresting over the lip of the pan.

Finally I baked the loaf at 350 degrees (with the loaf pan sitting on a baking sheet--so the bottom of the loaf turns golden and stays soft) for 50 minutes, rotting the pan and covering it with foil after 30 minutes.

I removed the loaf from the pan immediately (it sounded hollow when thumped on the bottom) and let cool for about 3 hours before slicing.


Bread is light brown in color and smells like sourdough. With a buttery, tangy flavor. This loaf tastes more like sourdough than some of the other recipes. It has a tight crumb that is soft and spongy with a soft, chewy, golden crust. Makes great sandwiches, it's more sturdy or dense (because of the whole wheat flour) than white bread, but I loved the flavor and texture
I think I may have found a good ratio of barm to final dough weight. The dough doubled in 4 hours, and then the shaped loaf only took 2 hours to come to size. I'm not sure if the amount of barm is the underling cause of this, it could be temperature or maybe the ingredients in the dough. I'll make other breads with the same barm to final dough ratio and see how well they rise.

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