Sourdough wheat sandwich bread

Quick bread update.  I decided to use more of my sourdough starter to make this week’s 50% whole wheat sandwich bread.  This week I essentially used the same recipe as last week’s but with the addition of the sourdough.

Recipe:

  • 80g sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 300g 100% whole wheat flour
  • 255g bread flour
  • 145g rice milk
  • 260g water
  • 18g salt
  • 35g honey
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 5g yeast (cut down the yeast to see if the starter has some oomph to create rise)

I combined all the above ingredients into one giant slurry and let it auto-lyse for 30 minutes.  I am always amazed how the dough goes from a ragged mess to a cohesive and firm dough.

I did the slap & fold kneading for 15 minutes.  Each time I do this, I get better and better at sensing/feeling the dough coming together and becoming less sticky.  The first time I did this, I had no idea how long I was supposed to knead for and ended up doing the slap & fold for almost an hour.

After I finished the slap & folds, I put the dough in a clean bowl and let it bulk ferment for an hour.  As seen above, the dough really formed up very nicely.  Following bulk fermentation, I dumped the dough out on my lightly floured countertop and performed a stretch and fold (envelope style) and placed the dough back in the bowl for 20 minutes.  Once more I did a stretch and fold followed by the initial shaping.  This involved de-gassing the dough and creating a square shape.  I then folded the dough down from the top to the middle of the dough and pressed this down.  Subsequently I pulled the dough once more to me and pressed down to seal it (essentially creating a log shape).  I then bench rested the dough for 5 minutes and then re-shaped into loaf shape.  The dough was then placed in a well-greased (butter) 9″ x  5″ loaf pan.

I allowed the dough to proof for about 45 minutes (the kitchen was warm because I was also making pizza).  As with last week, the dough had risen really well.  I did the finger poke test and noted the dough was well proofed.

The bread went into a 425 F oven with water spraying.  I let it bake at this temperature for 10 minutes.  I dropped the oven to 375 F and baked the bread for another 25 minutes.  By this time, the top of the loaf was a nice dark brown color and the internal temp 187.7 F.  I read that enriched bread (which this is) is done between 185-190 F and you can let it go until 205 F if you want a really crunchy crust.  This time I decided to remove it a littler earlier to see what kind of difference it would make (last week’s was around 195 F).

After slicing, I noted that the bread was just slightly underdone.  If you look at the cross-sectional view of the crumb, you’ll notice at the bottom part of the bread, the crumb is a bit collapsed and not well-aerated like the rest of the bread.  Next time I’ll probably try to get it closer to 190 F internal temperature.

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Slightly underdone

This bread turned out good, still a little weaker than I’d like for a sandwich bread.  I wonder if I toasted it before making my sandwich if it would hold up a little better.  The wife said that it is softer than last week’s effort.

In other news, we were able to top our pizza with some homegrown arugula.  We decided to try some lettuces this year in our raised vegetable beds.  This was a first and out of the 4, the arugula is the only one that grew well.  There was a different lettuce that initially grew well then one day was all gone.  I am suspicious the local wild turkey came over and chomped it all away.

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Homegrown arugula

-StewsCat

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50% Whole wheat sandwich bread

50% Whole wheat sandwich bread

Since we’ve been suffering from triple digit heat the last week, I wasn’t planning on making bread this week (hot oven just makes the kitchen that much hotter, especially because we don’t actually have an A/C register in the kitchen – I blame the previous homeowner).  However, the wife asked for bread (and/or tortillas) for the week for lunches and of course I obliged with both.  I decided I was going to try a 50% whole wheat sandwich loaf baked in my 9″ x  5″ bread pan.  I started this whole recipe fairly late in the day (around 2 pm Sunday) and with no poolish.  I also did not follow a specific recipe this time.

I did read up on the things you should do when using a whole wheat (whole grain) flour.  The extra outer layer on whole grains basically acts like razor blades when you’re trying to develop gluten.  I elected to do a 50:50 mixture of whole wheat flour and bread flour because bread flour has a higher gluten content and should allow for good rises/proofing.  And while maybe not technically healthy, having 50% whole wheat is healthier than pure white bread.  Other tips I read were to make sure that you included some fats (oil) to help with dough texture.  I incorporated some honey to help with taste.

50% Whole wheat sandwich bread recipe:

  • 300g – 100% Whole wheat bread flour
  • 300g – Bread flour
  • 145g – Rice milk
  • 305g – Water
  • 18g – Salt
  • 35g – Honey
  • 1/4 c. – Vegetable oil
  • 10g – Active dry yeast

I mixed up all the above ingredients and let the well-incorporated mixture rest for 30 minutes to allow the flour to absorb all the water.  I then proceeded to knead the dough for about 14 minutes using the Richard Bertinet slap & fold method.  I could really feel the dough developing good structure this time (before I used to just keep slapping and folding forever not entirely sure that it was developing the gluten structure that I needed).  I know because of the whole wheat and its tiny razor blades I needed to make sure the dough was well kneaded.  After kneading, I allowed the dough to rest in a large bowl for the bulk fermentation.  Bulk fermentation can go anywhere from 1-2 hours depending on temperature.  With the aforementioned heatwave we’ve been experiencing, the inside of the house has been around 81-83 so I knew that rises and proofs most likely would be shorter than I expected.

After about 50 minutes I checked on the dough and it had more than doubled in size (~2.5x original).  I poured the dough out carefully on a lightly floured countertop and did a stretch and fold a few times.  I replaced the dough into the bowl and allowed it to sit for 25 minutes.

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Beautifully formed  dough

The dough had come together nicely (and was not the sloppy wet mess that was my previous attempt at whole wheat bread).   I did the envelope fold which helps de-gas the dough somewhat.  This was followed by a 10 minute bench rest.

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Bench rest

I then formed the dough into the proper shape for the bread pan, ensuring I created a nicely tensioned top portion.

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Shaped for the bread pan (9″ x 5″)

I lightly floured the top of the dough and covered it with a lightweight cloth to proof.  I set the timer for 60 minutes but started checking the dough after about 30 minutes (due to the heat of the kitchen).  I also pre-heated the oven to 425F.  The way to check whether a bread has proofed properly, at least from what I’ve read thus far, is to take a lightly floured finger, press the dough down and see what happens.  If it stays down, it has over-proofed, if it bounces back fully it isn’t ready yet (under-proof) and when it bounces back halfway, then it’s proofed.

I wanted to create that “muffin-top” like look for the bread, the same look you get from store-bought sliced bread.  I had to look up the dough size I needed to create this, since my 9″ x  5″ bread pan is larger than the standard size.  From my research, I came up with a dough around 850-900 grams.  As you can see above, I achieved that look I was going for. I had recently ordered some spray bottles so I could spray the oven/bread as it went into the oven to create that nice top crust.  I popped the bread pan into the oven, sprayed it and shut the door quickly in my 425F oven.  After about 15 minutes, I dropped the temperature to 375 F and sprayed it once more time.  A total of 40 minutes baking created the perfect color and doneness (I checked the internal temp which read around 197F).

Since I’m not planning on cutting it until tomorrow when I make my work for lunch, you’ll just have to check back later to see how the crumb and taste turned out.  Enjoy!

-StewsCat