Sourdough Sandwich Bread
I have been on a mission to get my hands on sourdough baking! It is absolutely a positive activity and there's so much science involved that imparts lots of learning through meticulous research.
The famous quote - one man’s food is other man’s poison ☠️! Keep this in mind when you refer to any sourdough recipe. Even if we use same brand flour and follow the recipe to the T, the outcome won’t be same unless you understand the process.
Key factor is attention, focus, and patience over all too. Room temperature affects the performance of the dough. If you see below I mention water to be +/-, because some flours may absorb more water and some might not. This is simply because of humidity or dry climate where you are based. Also the room temperature matters. I have a steady 21-23deg in my kitchen so I know how the dough will behave. If your temperature at home is higher, you might need less time to see the activity or more time if it is colder. Keeping in oven with lights on may work too.
Also note you have to be specific with the timeline mentioned below. I have tried to be detailed as much as possible but the whole process isn’t lengthy. All you need is first 3hrs to be precise and then the next bulk fermenting and proofing leaves you enough time to do your thing while the dough does it’s own.
If you prefer to bake bread next day then the bulk fermenting should be done in the fridge and take it out an hour before proofing and baking.
If you have any doubts, please hit me on my Instagram @bakercharmz and I will be happy to guide you through the little experience I am picking each time as I bake.
My sourdough sandwich bread turned out superb with so much deep flavor and lovely crusty sides. It is so well complimenting the soft airy crumb. Sharing my recipe and suggest you read well before setting foot on this wonderful bread-ing journey:)
400gm All purpose flour with protein above 10%
110gm active sourdough starter (click here for my formula)
9gm sea salt
15gm unsalted butter
315gm Room temperature filtered water (+/- depending on flour quality and weather conditions)
1 - Add 60gm flour and 50gm filtered water to mature sourdough starter and let it bloom until doubled and with lots of air bubbles. Do a float test to make sure it is ready (gently drop a small piece of dough in water to see if it floats briefly before sinking)
(Note I have linked the formula i have used to make my levain/starter. Link is in the ingredients above. I recreated using the same formula with All purpose flour.
2 - add water in a clean large bowl. Tip in sugar and the active starter and mix well .
3 - mix flour and salt separately and add it to the water. Using hands or back of a wooden spoon, mix all until no dry bits left. Cover with a damp towel and keep it for 30min at room temperature.
Stretch and fold - 4 sets at 30min interval
4 - After the autolyse is over, slather butter on top of the dough and pinch in the dough to incorporate butter well. Then with wet fingers, push your hands below one end of the dough, stretch up as you can without tearing the dough, fold it on top. Repeat this 12 times in all directions with wet hands. Makes sure you don’t get in too much water into the dough with this step. Cover with damp tea towel and keep side for 30min.
After 30min - 2nd stretch and fold
5 - repeat the same process as above with 8 strech and fold. The dough will start to gain strength. Remember to not stretch until it tears. Cover with damp tea towel and keep aside for 30min.
After 30min - 3rd stretch and fold
6 - Repeat the same process as above with 6 strech and fold. The dough will start to gain strength. Remember to not stretch until it tears. Cover with damp tea towel and keep aside for 30min.
After 30min - 4th stretch and fold
7- Repeat the same process as above with 8 strech and fold. The dough will start to gain more strength. Remember to not stretch until it tears. Cover with damp tea towel and keep aside for 30min.
8 - Remove the dough in square container to be able to see the rise. I had to change to a square as I used a different container. Do a coil fold (https://youtu.be/9xZx5n-rd6Y) by lifting the dough to the center from both sides and let the ends drop slowly without tearing and folding over it. Turn 90deg and repeat. Do this 4 times in total. Cover the box and let it ferment for 3-4hrs at room temperature or until just doubled in size.
9 - Pour out the bulk fermenting dough on a very lightly floured surface and using a floured bench scraper, shape the dough into a log shape to fit your loaf pan. I am using a Pullman loaf pan with lid. You may use regular loaf pan in which you will get a dome shape.
10- Make sure you make a tight shaped dough with tension on top without tearing.
11 - Place the dough in a well greased pan with seam side down for about 2-2/12hrs in a warm place with lid on that has been greased too.
12 - Preheat oven to 230C and bake the loaf with lid on for 50min and about 15min with lid open, until the top is well browned.
13 - Remove the loaf from the tin using safety gloves and let it cool down for couple of hours or overnight before you slice it.