Friday, May 6, 2011

Joybee's Baking Journal: White Sandwich Bread (Sourdough)

I love sourdough bread. I love the flavor, the sent and the texture. Most of all I love that I can grow my own yeast and not have to buy it at the store. There are some draw backs to using sourdough (or wild yeast), the yeast is not as concentrated as the store bought instant yeast and it takes longer to rise. The 1-2 hour initial rise can take from 4-6 hours, and the 90 minute final proofing takes about 2 hour. Sourdough bread can take all day to make, but most of the process is waiting. That is a reason I like it so much. It takes some forethought and planning, but once you have a refreshed active barm, the mixing process takes about 20 minutes, then you can go off and read a book, or do something else for 4-6 hours, come back and shape the dough into loaves, wait for another couple of hours and then bake it.

My KitchenAid makes the mixing and kneading process so quick and easy, I make better bread now because of it. The main thing I want from sandwich bread is a soft fluffy texture that won't fall apart or crumble. Kneading by hand this was difficult to accomplish. I always ended up adding too much flour to keep the dough from sticking to my hands, and it took much longer to knead it to the proper consistency, resulting in crumbly, dense loaves. Now with the KitchenAid my dough gets kneaded perfectly and is still soft and much wetter than when done by hand ending with a beautifully soft, light and fluffy bread.
Once again I used a recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice. You can see the actual recipe on Google books (pg 266). I only veered from the original recipe by adding a large amount of barm. Keep in mind that my barm contains equal parts flour and water, so I just substitute some of the flour and water of the original recipe with barm, but my total flour and water weights are the same as the original recipe.

My Recipe

24 oz barm
9.5 oz bread flour
.38 oz salt
1.33 oz powdered milk
1.66 oz sugar
1 large egg
1.66 oz butter
1 oz water

I pretty much followed the recipe exactly, except I creamed the butter, egg, sugar, salt, and powdered milk together first(using the paddle attachment). Then I added the barm, flour and water (using the dough hook to knead it). I kneaded for about 7 minutes adding flour until the dough 'cleared the sides of the bowl but stick ever so slightly to the bottom'. This is much softer and wetter than you would expect, I needed to use a rubber spatula to scrape it out of the bowl, and oiled my hands to keep it from sticking to then while I transferred it to an oiled bowl to rise.

I let it sit for about 4 hours until it almost doubled is size and then shaped it into 2 loaves, put them in oiled loaf pan (8.5 inch loaf pans are a must) and let proof for 2 hours.

I brushed the tops of the loaves with egg wash before baking at 350 degrees for 35 minutes (turning halfway through baking and covering with aluminum foil after 20 min)


This bread turned out great. Light, fluffy, soft, moist and perfect for sandwiches. It has a mild sour flavor from the sourdough, but it is not over powering. This is the best sandwich bread I have made so far.

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