When I first started baking bread, I made artisanal loafs almost exclusively. I felt that they symbolized the essence of bread and that to use a tin to make bread more suited to our modern conveniences was sacrilege. However, some astute comments courtesy of my father made me realize that in order to appeal to a broader audience, my bread had to be in a useful shape to encourage consumption. This recipe is from the King Arthur Flour website, one of my favorite places on the internet.
I’ve made it with and without the addition of instant yeast to leaven it and while it’s truer to the sourdough title if no additional yeast is used, it’s not as practical for me. I really enjoy a nice big loaf and using instant yeast helps to get there. Using just fed sourdough starter, the rising times double or quadruple depending on the strength of your starter and I’ve had a hard time getting the appropriate volume from my dough. This could also be because the loaf tins that I have are a little larger than the original recipe calls for, 9 inches rather than 8 which is the size of a medium sized-loaf tin. I have grown to love this recipe and it makes two loaves, which freeze really well. I find that freezing freshly baked loaves is a lifesaver in order to have something close to fresh bread around my house every day. I know that the freezer isn’t for everyone but it’s one of the modern conveniences that I believe is essential to the practical and busy baker.
There’s also a few different methods that you can use to shape the actual bread. I use a slightly more complicated method from the King A’s website which involves some weird folding but you can really just roll the dough out in an 8″ by 16″ rectangle and roll it up to fit into the tins. I don’t love the swirl that the simpler method often leaves and you can always just look up how to shape a sandwich loaf. The bread also keeps for up to a week and a half in an airtight plastic container at room temperature. I’ve never refrigerated this loaf after baking so if you do, let me know how it goes in the comments below!
Sourdough Sandwich Bread Recipe
For the Levain: This is an offshoot of your sourdough starter that develops on its own overnight. It needs about 12 hours to fully develop, it should have small holes throughout and then its ready to be used.
- 128 grams All Purpose Flour (1 cup+ 1 tablespoon)
- 128 grams cool water (60-70F, 1/2 cup+ 1 tablespoon)
- 44 grams ripe sourdough starter (3 tablespoons)
For the Dough
- 631 grams Bread or All Purpose Flour (5 1/4 cups, if using All Purpose, the dough will be much stickier but it gets the job done)
- 50 grams granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
- 2 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (table salt can be used, personal preference here)
- 2 teaspoon instant yeast (if omitted, quadruple rising times and plan accordingly)
- 57 grams unsalted butter at room temperature (1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons)
- 340 grams milk (70-80F, 1 1/2 cup, can use any percentage milk fat
- Ripe levain
For the Levain
- Mix all ingredients together and place in a covered container to grow. I use a deli container because it allows me to see the rise. Should take about 12 hours to double in size at a room temperature of 70F. It is ripe when there are large bubbles throughout the levain.
For the Dough
- Mix and knead all the ingredients to make a smooth and supple dough. Even using AP flour, the dough should not be overly sticky. Takes me about 10 minutes to knead and I check that its ready by seeing if the dough springs back immediately when poked.
- Form into a ball and place in a greased container and let sit 2 hours or until doubled in size.
- Turn out the dough and divide into two. Using a scale helps here because the dough can trick your eye. Shape the dough into two 8″ logs and place into two greased loaf tins.
- Cover the tins with a proofing bag and let rise 2 more hours or until the dough has risen to 1″ above the rim of the tin.
- Preheat the oven to 375 and bake for 30-35 minutes. Once done, immediately turn the dough out of the pans and let cool on a wire rack. Wrap once cool and keep at room temperature in an airtight container or freeze immediately.