The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Extremely soft sourdough sandwich bread - the most shreddble, soft, velvety ever!

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Extremely soft sourdough sandwich bread - the most shreddble, soft, velvety ever!

 

I have posted about how to make very soft, very fluffy, yet still bouncy sandwich breads with lots of flavor(see here). The key isn't any gimmick or special ingredient, it's intensive kneading, a full long bulk rise, and proper shaping. I have posted the windowpane picture in the earlier post, but still got some questions about it. Here I will try to describle how the dough would progress during intensive kneading:

1. Dough starts to come together, but if you pull a piece, the dough would easily tear, won't form windowpane.

2. Keep kneading, the windowpane gradually starts to form, but it's thick, and won't extend very far. If you poke and get a hole, the edge is rough.

3. keep kneading, the windowpane becomes very extensible. The windowpane is thin but very very tough to break. If you poke a hole (I actually have to use my nail), the edge is smooth.

4. Keep kneading, the windowpane becomes even thinner, more transparent, but it becomes more delicate, easier to poke holes. The edge of the hole is still smooth.

5. Keep kneading, the dough starts to break down into a puddle of mud.

 

Stage 3 is the "golden point" for creating sandwiches with the best texture, and highest volume. 4 is a little over, your bread will still be high and nice, bu the texture would be a bit rough.  Of course it will take a few trail and error to get to that point reliably. In addition, if you are making a sourdough version like I do here, the bulk rise would take a lot longer than the dry yeast version. During this time, the dough is still getting stronger, which means, we need to knead the dough a tiny bit less than stage 3. This time I stopped kneading probably 30secs before it reaches stage 3, and the bread I got is the softest, most shreddable, bounciest I have ever gotten.

 

Sourdough Incredibly soft white bread

Note: 19% of the flour is in levain

Note: total flour is 250g, fit my Chinese small-ish pullman pan. For 8X4 US loaf tin, I suggest to use about 270g of total flour. For KAF 13X4X4 pullman pan, I would suggest using about 430g of total flour.

- levain

starter (100%), 13g

milk, 22g

bread flour, 41g

1. Mix and let fermentation at room temp (73F) for 12 hours.

- final dough

bread flour, 203g (I used half KAF bread flour and half KAF AP flour for a balance of chewiness and volume)

sugar, 25g

butter, 25g, softened

egg whites, 60g

salt, 3g

milk, 102g

 

1. mix until stage 3 of windowpane (-30sec:P)

2. rise at room temp for 2 hours, punch down, put in fridge overnight.

3. takeout, divide, round, rest for 1 hour. shape as instructed here.

4. rise at room temp for about 6 hours. For my pullman pan, it should be about 80% full; for US 8x4inch pan, it should be about one inch above the edge. The dough would have tripled by then, if it can't, your kneading is not enough or over.

5. bake at 350F for 45min. brush with butter when warm.

 

Crumb shots from different parts of the bread, all very velvety soft, with no pores.

 

So soft that it's hard to cut, much easier to tear off pieces

 

Amazingly soft and flavorful

 

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Comments

Syd's picture
Syd

Beautiful, as always txsfarmer!  Is the sugar more for flavouring than it is food for the yeast?  And why only egg whites?  You explained the different stages of gluten development very clearly.  Great post. :)

Best wishes,

Syd

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

1) sugar is for both flavor and food for yeast. it also helps with the softness and lightness.

2) protein in egg whites helps with the volume, which leads to lightness. Without the yolks, the flavor is less eggy, the color is less yellow, the taste is "cleaner". It's just what this particular formula tries to do, you can get a equally soft and light bread with whole eggs too, the flavor and color will be a bit different, that's all.

 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Can't, and will not be better than this, Txfarmer! However,doesn't that oxidize the dough too much, that wheaty flavor present in the carotinoids will disappear? I guess Lactic acid produced through long fermentation makes up for the difference.

You've just hammered the final nail into the coffin of Wonder bread, Txfarmer! No excuses now!

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Yes, intenstive kneading does oxidize the dough and sacrafice some wheaty flavor. However, this type of bread is usually (lightly) enriched, 10% butter and sugar in this particular case, along with the egg whites. Most of the flavor comes from these add-ins anyway, the long fermentation and the usage of sourdough does add another slightly tangy dimention to it, which is why I prefer SD version to the more common dry yeast version.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I have baked using your method several times now with wonderful results. I read about intensive kneading's effects on dough but wasn't concerned due to what you have stated above but I decided to experiment with your SD 100% WW Sandwich Loaf with Bulgar just to see what would happen.  In my opinion (and my daughter's opinion) your loaves are just too good for someone not to bake due to being afraid of intensive kneading.

My experiment was to use S&Fs instead of the intensive kneading method and see what I got as a result.  I followed your formula with a couple of exceptions.  I added the bulgar after the autolyse and moved right into the 2 hour bulk ferment with S&F's every 30 min. for the first hour and then 45 min. for the second hour.

The dough got strong very quickly which surprised me.  I had planned on doing more S&F's but stopped after just 3.  When the 2 hours were up I put the dough into the refrigerator overnight and this morning I baked it after shaping and proofing. 

Results:  It was still shreddably soft and my daughter's comment was, "I think this is my NEW all time favorite loaf mom." The texture was just like your other formulas using the intensive kneading method!  

So if people are concerned about oxidizing their dough they can still get the same results via S&Fs though it is a bit more work....

Thanks for all of your wonderful formulas!

knightsofneech's picture
knightsofneech

Hi Janet! This is an old thread with an old comment. Forgive me. Do you know how many S&F's approximately? I was using a recipe recently that recommended 4-5 rotations every 30 mins for 3 hours or until soft and billowy.

 

Also, do you have a link to his SD 100% WW Sandwich Loaf with Bulgar?

knightsofneech's picture
knightsofneech

Hi Janet! This is an old thread with an old comment. Forgive me. Do you know how many S&F's approximately? I was using a recipe recently that recommended 4-5 rotations every 30 mins for 3 hours or until soft and billowy.

 

Also, do you have a link to his SD 100% WW Sandwich Loaf with Bulgar?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Oh ye of little faith, the answer lies within your own hands!  

Thank you Tx, beautiful photos!  You are the expert here!  It is so simple ...like the best of solutions.

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Thanks mini! Now I just wish my 100% SD rye would turn out half as good as yours. I am practicing constantly :)

Buster1948's picture
Buster1948

Thank you, Mini, for referring me to this entry. I will take this advice to heart and knuckles.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Txfarmer, that elongated crumb is spectacular! I can feel it in my mouth...

The explanation is very clear. Thanks!

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Thanks! This type of bread is very different from the soudough lean hearth breads we are used to around here, I love them both!

Boboshempy's picture
Boboshempy

Gorgeous! You make the most beautiful posts and breads!

Thanks for the great post!

Nick

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Thanks for your kind words!

RonRay's picture
RonRay


Clear, and beautifully covered with your photos.

Ron

 

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Hey, glad you dropped by! I baked those sourdough crackers following your recipe, they were delicious! Gotta post them soon, thanks!

RonRay's picture
RonRay

I am glad you tried them - great way to use the "discards".

I come by often, read much, say little (hard to match what you've said so well ;-)

Ron

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Thank you for taking the time to spell out how the dough changes during the intensive kneading process.  You always do such a great job at adding words to the process which helps me immensely when I am up to my elbows in dough and not sure how to proceed.  You have created a clear 'path' to a finished product!

Thanks too for yet another one of your 'shreddably' soft sourdoughs formulas.  I thank you and my 17 year old daughter thanks you.  :-)

Best Wishes,

Janet

 

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Thanks for the kind words, I am very happy that you find the posts helpful!

Anjali's picture
Anjali

Beautiful Bread! I am  practically drooling all over my laptop. 

Can I make the bread without the egg-whites?  My son is allergic to eggs. So I would like to avoid using them.

  • What changes would I have to make to the liquids used to replace the egg-whites? 
  • How long does it take to knead the dough by hand? (a guesstimate because I think you use a processor)

Thanks for the recipe and wonderful pics.

Warm Regards

Anjali

 

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

1. Protein in egg white helps this bread to be extra tall and light. You can replace it with equal amount of milk, but expect the bread to be shorter.

2. As I wrote in the previous post here:http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20669/sourdough-pan-de-mie-how-make-quotshreddablyquot-soft-bread , it takes a lot of practice to knead a dough to perfection by hand, especially when the dough is wet and soft like this one. While I often knead with my KA mixer, I started out hand knead such doughs 2 years ago, and still often do so. With that much practice, I can knead it to stage 3 in 30 to 40min, but I have seen people knead for hours yet sill don't get to that stage. So...it's really hard to give you a time frame for hand kneading. My best advice is: do NOT add flour, try watch this video(http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/video/2008/03/bertinet_sweetdough), and keep practicing.

 

Good Luck!

Crider's picture
Crider

30 to 40 minutes is a long time, and I'll be the first to admit I've never done it for more than 15 minutes or so.

I think it would be a great exercise to see if I could over-knead by hand and see if I can recognize the stages you explained above. I really would like to experience what really happens at the point of over-kneading. Thanks for showing your breads!

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Unless you posses superman arm strength and speed, it's nearly impossible to overknead a dough by hand. What's more likely is: you take too long to knead, the dough starts to fermentate (more common with a dry yeast dough which rises faster) before reaching stage 3, which makes the kneading harder. If you do knead by hand, I suggest to autolyse longer, and a smaller dough.

Crider's picture
Crider

This morning, I made up a lean dough with 350 grams of flour and 68% hydration. Then I got out a timer and set out to knead away. I kneaded for five minutes, then stopped, scraped off the dough from my hands, scraped off the counter, and then pulled a windowpane. I didn't use any bench flour.

You were spot on about 30 minutes being needed to get to your stage three. The windowpane was never as uniform as your photos — there were always small streaks in it, but I did get that nice, clean finger-punch hole as you show in stage three. It never not any thinner as you describe for stage four. In fact my notes said, "35 not much change." and "40 not much change." It was at 50 minutes that I wrote, "Starting to tear."

I didn't bother to put any yeast in the dough until the 30 minute mark. The dough seemed to be getting drier at later stages, so I would wet my hands before beginning each five minute phase after 35 mins. 

It was a nice experiment for me and I liked how much leeway there was in the character of the dough after 30 minutes or so.

 

Crider's picture
Crider

I autolysed for 30 minutes before starting to knead.

codruta's picture
codruta

hi. I try to adjust the quantities for the size of my pan (I want to use 290g flour), and I have this problem: you said hydration is 65%, but it just doesn't add up. flour is 250g in your recipe, and milk is 130g (6g from starter + 22g + 103g). The egg whites and butter count to the overall hydration? please, help me, because I started the recipe, I have everything "mis en place" and I don't know how to do it right. thank you. codruta

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi codruta,

I've multiplied everything up from txfarmer's original recipe so it all balances for 290g total flour.   See below: 

Material

Recipe [grams]

1. Levain

 

Starter [100%]

15

Flour

48

Milk

26

TOTAL

89

 

 

2. Final Dough

 

Levain [from above]

89

Flour

236

Sugar

29

Butter

29

Egg White

70

Salt

3.5

Milk

119

TOTAL

575.5

 

Best wishes

Andy

codruta's picture
codruta

andy, thank you so much for yor instant response. But not the math is my problem. :)), but the hydration in this recipe. I just don't get it why it says 65%. in the original recipe milk is 130g, flour is 250g, that give a 52% hydration. I wonder if the water in the egg whites counts, or is a spelling error in the recipe. thank you, again.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi codruta,

egg white will be about 90% water, the other 10% being largely albumen based protein.

Butter is 16 - 20% water.

Hope that helps you work it through

Thanks

Andy

codruta's picture
codruta

I decided to go with the recipe as it is, nevermind about hydration. the dough is rising at room temperature, as i write. it's smooth, elastic, and it looks promising. codruta

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

The 65% hydration was indeed a cut & paste error from a previous recipe, I have corrected in the orginal post.Sorry about the confusion and thanks for pointing it out. However, the recipe should work as is without adjusting any liquid amount. Hope your loaf turns out well!

Andy's spot on the 73%-ish hydration counting egg whites and butter, that's how the dough felt like during handling.

ananda's picture
ananda

I'm sure txfarmer has published a balanced recipe here, codruta.   I hope to see you post on the final bread you make.

Just out of interest, I estimate hydration to be calculated as follows, based on the numbers I provided in the post just above:

Milk @ 92% moisture gives 133g

Butter @ 16% moisture gives 17g

Egg white @ 90% moisture gives 63g

Total moisture is therefore 213g

As a percentage of the total flour @ 291.5g, that works out at 73%.

I suspect txfarmer has used different means to calculate hydration, but this would be my expectations as to the amount of water in the formula.   Remember too that flour has a moisture content of 14%

I was reflecting on this earlier and thinking that a dough with around 70% hydration, therefore has around the same amount of water in it as it does  nutritional flour [ie. with the water removed].   So, above that point is where we move into the concept which Calvel called "super-hydrated dough" [eg ciabatta, etc]

Interesting!

Best wishes

Andy

 

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Thanks andy for being so helpful, the 65% was indeed an error. The dough did feel like about 73% with all the liquids.

codruta's picture
codruta

it felt very wet indeed. i let the bulk 3 hours at room temperature, but it did not rise (my starter is good, i have and use it for 2 years, and it never failed me), any ideas why? The dough is now it's in the fridge. i'll let you know tomorrow how it will turn out. it better be good, cause i already bought the ham and cheese for sandwiches. :))

thanx for your support, codruta

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

I am in TX, my house temp is 25C, the dough would rise noticabally during the 2 hour bulk rise but far from double (maybe 30%?), but it should finish the bulk rise and double during the long retarding in fridge. Hope yours will turn out well tomorrow, if the dough does rise to its potential, the first thing I suspect would be under kneading.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi codruta,

just a thought that you will need a good quality bread flour to yield a loaf the sort showcased by txfarmer.   Otherwise, it will not support this level of hydration and yield softness and high crown as shown.

BW

Andy

codruta's picture
codruta

hello! This is how my bread turn out. I'm very pleased with the result, although the crumb is not perfectly even, but, in spite my fears, it did rise very very much. i divided the dough whithout weighting the pieces, because I didn't realise at the moment that is  important. thank you again for your support.

and andy, about the flour i use: it is a pastry flour, there are no details on the package about proteins, gluten, ashes, etc. I can't find a good white bread flour, here where I live. 11,5 g proteins is maximum what i've found, i bought a bag today to see if there would be noticeable differences.slice 1slice 2

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Looks great!

Pastry flour? It must be quite different from US pastry flour, which has even less gluten than cake flour. You will get much more height with a stronger flour.

ananda's picture
ananda

So you should be codruta, that's a lovely loaf.

I tend to agree with everything txfarmer says about the pastry flour you have used.   Bread flour at 11.5% would give more volume and crumb resilience.

I'm really glad it worked out

Andy

Eli_in_Glendale's picture
Eli_in_Glendale

Hi all,

 I was very excited to try this recipe, and tried to follow it carefully.  The levain went OK.  Then when putting together the dough, it was extremely sticky, way beyond any possible technique, too sticky to possibly handle.  I confess to adding a bit more flour, so I could plop it into my Kitchen Aid Pro 2 mixer.  Put it in with dough hook, set to speed 2.  Mix, mix, mix, checking periodically to see if it's coming together.  It never did, becoming "soup" before ever becoming any kind of dough, windowpane or not, at about 7 minutes in.  Pressing on, I gave up after about 15 minutes of mixing.  I checked really close to see if it was "about" to windowpane, and... nah.... tossed it.

Did I give up too soon?  Measure wrong?  Wrong kind of flour (it was bread flour but not KA).  Levain was over-done so too much acid, destroying gluten strands?  Any help would be most appreciated... I'd love to make some bread that looks anywhere close to those above!

 

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Don't know about flout type or mis-measurement, but in my KA pro 600, it takes about 15min (+-5min) for it to reach full windowpane. At speed 3 or 4. Yes, it's against what the instruction says (speed 2 for kneading bread dough), but instructions leave room, and it assumes a much firmer/bigger dough. I have kneaded loaves like this at speed 3/4 for 2 years, and my machine is fine.

Unless you are using very fragile flour, otherwise a bread dough WILL go through the normal process: loose, more gluten so that you can stretch, maximu gluten for windowpane, overknead and disintegrate. I think you just have to believe in the process and observe each stage to really learn how the dough changes.

Eli_in_Glendale's picture
Eli_in_Glendale

Thank you for your quick reply and for being so generous with your knowledge.  I will keep at it!

 

jarkkolaine's picture
jarkkolaine

Despite all my efforts to teach my family to love a rustic sourdough loaf, they still keep buying sandwich bread from the store, so I could say I have been forced to bake something like that for them... Luckily, I finally remembered this recipe of yours and decided to give it a go yesterday. This morning, I baked the first loaf. The kids haven't tasted it yet (as they are still asleep) but I took a few slices myself already, and I'm sure they'll enjoy what's waiting for them when they wake up :)

Hand kneading the dough is a lot of work, but I was very happy I did it (about 35 minutes) as I have never had such a beautiful gluten structure in my breads before. I guess it's worth taking the time to do the work properly. 

Big thanks for the recipe and the kneading instructions! 

 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Jarkkolaine,

I saw your comment here and wanted to let you know that when I first started baking bread my kids would only eat the loaves I made that I added cinnamon and raisins to.  I wanted variety so I did bake with a number of different flours and ingredients but in the beginning I always added cinnamon and raisins and that way they ate what I was making not knowing I was sneaking other things in.

The first lean loaf that I made without cinnamon and raisins was a loaf from Dan Leopard's The Handmade Loaf.  It was the Barley Rye loaf.  My son loved it toasted with butter and honey on it.....After that experience I began trying other lean loaves like Shiao Ping's Banana Pain au Levain and they liked that too.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is, don't give up!  I continued to bake because I loved it and got hooked.  I stopped buying bread at the store and gradually I have won them over.  Most of my breads that I bake do not have cinnamon and raisins in them but that is still their favorite :-)  It has been 2 years of baking for me now and when they taste something store bought they don't like it.  For them it now has no flavor.

Just thought of something else.  One of the things my family had a hard time with was the shape of the lean loaves I was making - boules and batards.  They prefer the sandwich loaf shape!!!!  Odd but true.  My husband and my daughter like small rolls. So you might experiment with the shapes you are baking too.

Good Luck!

Janet

Sadassa_Ulna's picture
Sadassa_Ulna

I had no idea that sourdough could be used to make bread like that. My kids complain about my crusty batards and now I have a new goal. Your breads (and photos) are beautiful. Thank you sharing your recipes and methods. 

Marc Brik's picture
Marc Brik

I just love this weird recipe. But it is not that weird if I think about it. It is almost like a "white" Brioche, (less sugar and butter than a brioche) without the egg yolks. The result is very satisfying. I multiplied the recipe 3x divide the dough up into 12x 122-123 gr/piece. Using the pullman mehod; 9 pieces I used for 3 loaves, only 1 third of the pan was filled. and the other 3 pices I cut in half before the scond roll and used the in my mini loaf tins. 

Making this recipe I learned about the perfect window pane, what eggwhite does to a bread recipe, that my starter is perfect, and the pullman rolling method

The result was moist, light fluffy crumb. The crust golden amber, crisp and the flavour light sour. This Bread is just beautiful. It deseves a definate place right next to Pierre Nury’s Rustic Light Rye. 

Thank you

TaiMai13's picture
TaiMai13

Hi txfarmer. I found your Pan de Mie recipe while I was searching for a solution to soft homemade sandwich bread. I have been using Syd's White Sandwich Loaf recipe for a while now, but I have not been able to achieve the same results as Syd. Your information on intensive kneading was very helpful and I have definitely seem some improvement in texture. However, I'm still not getting what I want. I'm keen to try your recipe here, but I was hoping maybe you (or some other helpful and knowledgeable contributor) could help me adapt it to a yeasted dough. My wife doesn't eat much bread, so I don't bake as much as I would like. As a result, I dont' really have the volume of bread necessary to try to keep a sourdough starter alive. It would be great if there were a way to adapt most of the same methods of this recipe but include yeast. And preferably dry yeast, as I can't find fresh yeast in less than 1kg blocks, which again I struggle to use up in time due to low throughput of bread. I realise that I could just "add yeast", but I'm smart enough to know what I don't know, and I'm just not experienced enough yet to know how much to use, when to add, division between pre-ferment and main dough, etc. I love the flavour that Syd's poolish adds to the bread, and would love to implement that technique with this recipe. I still have a long way to go when it comes to getting my kneading and proving right, but a solid recipe should definitely help me achieve that. Many thanks whether you have the time to help or not. You in fact already have helped me a lot with your wealth of knowledge in your existing posts.

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

The most straightfoward way to adapt it to a yeasted version is to convert the starter/levain into same amount of flour and water and add that to the main dough(so the total ratio of everything remain the same), add 1% instant yeast, adjust bulk rise and 2nd rise according ot how the dough behaves (usually 1-2 hours for bulk and 1 hr for proofing). 

If you prefer a poolish or other type of preferment, just follow that same preferment ratio, use the same baker's percentage for other ingredients as this dough, stick to the same kneading requirement. 

TaiMai13's picture
TaiMai13

Thanks for your reply tx.

I think one of the benefits of using a starter is the nice slow, controlled proofing you get with the natural yeasts. Even with 1% instant yeast, which is the ratio I usually go for, I find my bread will proof quickly (like the 1hr you mentioned). The quick proofing seems to wreck havoc with the structure of the dough, causing an uneven crumb, lots of air bubbles near the surface and lumps. I'm sure some of this will be able to be counteracted by better kneading with its better gluten network, but it would seem controlling the ferment would also be of benefit.

So my question is, do you think its better to reduce yeast or temperature to control fermentation? I've fermented in the fridge before, and haven't really been happy with the results, though this of course could have been my error as opposed to bad chemistry. It's usually cool here (Wellington, New Zealand) but we're having an unseasonably warm summer and we've just moved to a new apartment that is much warmer, so my ambient temp is way up. I will experiment with all of this myself of course, but any information you can provide from your wealth of experience on the way would be greatly appreciated.

My gluten-free friend was over yesterday and when he saw the pictures of your loaf above, he said he would happily suffer the consequences to eat such beautiful bread if I could replicate it!! I don't expect to get it quite as good as your's, but even getting close would make me extremely happy!

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