Sourdough Sandwich Bread
This easy Sourdough Sandwich Bread is soft but still sturdy enough to stand up to any fillings, making it the perfect back to school lunch box staple.
It’s back to school season! Which means you’re probably thinking about pencils, erasers, backpacks, soccer, lunch boxes. And hopefully this bread will help you out. I’ve shared some 100% whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread here before, but sometimes you just want some good ol’ fashioned white bread, am I right? This one fits the bill. It’s soft and fluffy with a tender but well-developed crust, and the crumb is flexible but sturdy. It’ll hold up to any filling you’re ready to use. It’s my favorite sandwich bread ever, and we make it often.
But I’m going to let you in on a little secret. White bread isn’t bad for you.
… well, SOURDOUGH white bread isn’t. There are several scientific studies showing the effects of bread fermented with a traditional sourdough starter vs. with granulated yeast. The difference is significant. White and Whole wheat bread fermented with sourdough resulted in lowered blood sugar, and in one particular study, that lowered blood sugar from eating sourdough white bread lasted through the rest of the day. On the contrary, regardless of refined or whole wheat, the bread fermented with granulated yeast rose in resistant starch and didn’t improve digestibility. Unfortunately, my favorite study costs a pretty penny to read completely, but you can read the Abstract at the beginning for a quick summary here. Or heck, buy it and curl up on the couch with a slab of bread and have a really nerdy-fun evening.
So in everyday language, sourdough, whether it be white or whole wheat, is good for digestibility. Refined or not, it lowers blood sugar because the starches have been … well, pre-digested by the healthy bacteria in the starter. This bacteria resists high temperatures and actually continues to live on past the oven, which only increases it’s health benefits up to a certain point. So, yet another reason to switch to sourdough in your baking. It’s worth your time, I promise.
I mean, look at that beauty. Who doesn’t want a slice of that?
And besides the health benefits, the flavor is SO MUCH BETTER. I know at first it may seem daunting, too time consuming, but once you start, you’ll start to see a beautiful rhythm that you never knew you were missing. There’s something so beautiful about connecting to your food at such a basic level, and trust me, it’s worth the effort. The bread cycle becomes less of a burden and more like spending time with a dear friend.
Aw, how cute. I sound so soulful. The truth is, I love it. And I want you to, too.
Ready to make some awesome sandwich bread?
680 g cool water (dechlorinated)
200 g sourdough starter, refreshed*
1000 g organic all-purpose flour**
15 g softened butter
20 g honey
20 g fine unrefined sea salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the water and sourdough starter and stir to combine. Attach the dough hook and add the flour and butter. Turn the machine on to low and let it mix until it becomes a smooth, cohesive dough, about 10 minutes. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides occasionally. The dough should be smooth and elastic, and slightly tacky to the touch.
Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 40 minutes to fully absorb the liquid into the flour. This is called the autolyse phase.
After autolyse, add the salt and turn the machine back on to fully mix into the dough. Form the dough into a smooth ball and cover and rest. Fold the dough*** every 15 minutes for the first 2 hours and let rise for an additional 3~5 hours until almost doubled in size.
Prepare 2 9x4x4 loaf pans by generously greasing with butter. Take the dough out of the bowl and cut in half. On a damp, clean counter, roll or stretch the dough out to an approximate 9 inch square. Tightly roll up the square and pinch the seam shut. Place the dough, seam side down, inside a prepared loaf pan. Repeat with the remaining dough and the second loaf pan. Cover and let rise on the counter for 1.5~2 hours, or until loaves almost double in size. You can check to make sure it’s ready by pressing lightly on the dough. If it springs back slowly, it’s ready.
After the final rest, bake at 425°F for 35~45 minutes until the internal temperature registers 180°F. Immediately brush the top with butter. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then remove from the pan and let cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Once cooled you should store in a non-breathable bag or wrapper to keep the soft crust.
Lasts at room temperature for 2~3 days****. Or slice, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze for up to 3 months.
*this means to feed the starter a few hours before making the dough so that the starter is at its peak of activity. I usually go for about 6~8 hours before. Once your fed starter is aerated and about doubled in size, it’s ready to go. You can check by dropping a little amount in some water. If if floats, it’s just right.
**you can just up to 30% with a whole grain, but any more than that will comprise the texture. If you want a 100% whole wheat sandwich bread, try <a href=”http://www.scratch-eats.com/2015/11/17/whole-wheat-sourdough-sandwich-loaf/”>this recipe.</a>
***folding the dough increases surface tension and allows the bread to rise up instead of out. It’s a critical step to a well aerated crumb. In order to fold, with wet hands, take one side of the dough and fold it over the top to the other side. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat with all four sides. This is one fold.
****Keep in mind that the live & active bacteria in sourdough survives the high temperatures of the oven so it keeps souring the bread out of the oven, though at a much slower rate. So after the first day, your bread will start to take on that iconic tang that sourdough is known for.
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