Sourdough Sandwich Bread
This white sourdough pain de mie sandwich bread has amazing texture and a slightly sour tang. The addition of honey and butter give this bread a wonderfully complex flavour. Recipe credit: The Perfect Loaf. A stand mixer is recommended for this bread. You can find examples of both the stretch and fold technique and the bread shaping technique in this video.
- Remove butter from the fridge and cut into 1/4 inch pats. Place the butter pats in a bowl to soften.
- Combine flour, 315 grams of your water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir with a spatula until just combined. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
- Add your starter, the salt and the final 25 grams of water to your dough. Using the dough hook, mix on speed 2 for 4 minutes.
- Add the honey and mix for 2 more minutes on speed 2.
- On the lowest speed add the butter, one pat at a time and mix until the butter is incorporated.
- Increase the speed to 2 and mix until the dough looks smooth and gluten has developed, 2 to 3 more minutes.
- Now is the bulk fermentation time. Ideally, the dough should ferment at 24-25 C/76-78 F. The entire bulk fermentation could take 4-7 hours depending on the temperature that the dough is fermenting at. The dough should be in a covered bowl for this. Perform 3 sets of stretch and folds. The first at 30 minutes into the ferment and then two more at 30 minutes intervals after that. After the final stretch and fold, let the dough rise, untouched until it has risen significantly in the bowl and show signs of smoothness. If you wet your hand and gently poke and pull at the dough, it’ll feel more elastic and strong. You’ll also see bubbles at the sides and top, the edges where the dough meets the bowl will be dome down (convex) and the dough will be a bit jiggly.
- Now it is time to divide and shape your loaves. Dump the dough from your container to a lightly floured work surface. Using your bench knife, divide the dough directly in half. Then, liberally flour the tops of each half and preshape each into a tight round on the work surface. Let the dough rest uncovered for 30 minutes until it has relaxed and is ready to be shaped.
- Liberally grease two 9 inch loaf pans. Working with one round at a time, use a floured bench scraper to loosen the edges of the dough from the counter, then turn the dough over. Fold the bottom of the dough toward the centre, then fold each side toward the centre. Finally, fold the top of the down toward and over the bottom of the dough to form a log shape. Place the log seam-side down in one of your loaf pans.
- Cover both pans completely with plastic so no air reaches the dough for the final proof. I use a large plastic bag for this. The final proof time can vary depending on the ambient temperature in your kitchen. The dough should relax to fill the pan, rise to some degree, and spring back slowly when gently poked.
- Place a rack in the lower middle position of your oven and preheat it, without a baking stone, to 425°F (218°C) for 30 minutes. When hot, place baking pans in the oven side-by-side and bake for 35 minutes at 425°F (218°C). After this time, turn the temperature down to 375°F (190°C) and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until done. The interior temperature of the loaves should register above 208°F (97°C).
- Carefully remove the pans from the oven, uncover any that had lids, and turn out the baked loaves to a wire rack to cool. Be sure to wait at least 1-2 hours to slice after baking to ensure the interior has set and flavours have melded.