The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Nice Soft Sandwich Bread with Soft, Sweet Crust and No Crumbling

MangoChutney's picture

Nice Soft Sandwich Bread with Soft, Sweet Crust and No Crumbling

 My husband says this is the best bread I have ever made.  I think I agree with him.  The final loaf weighed about 2.8 lbs.



Water Roux:  
1 oz whole barley, milled fine  
5 oz cold water  

Water roux from above  
4 oz Greek yogurt  
6 oz water  
16 oz hard white spring wheat, milled fine  

1 cup starter
4 oz hard red winter wheat, milled fine  
4 oz rye, milled fine  
5 oz water  

Final dough:  
Pre-soak from above  
Pre-ferment from above, minus 1 cup  
1 tsp salt  
1 tbsp olive oil


This is the schedule for beginning the evening before a morning baking. Modify as desired to fit your own baking routine. For example, you can probably do the "evening before" steps in the morning and do the baking in the evening.

I use a bench mixer for some of the recipe but everything can be done by hand if you prefer. I do use two identical loaf pans. One contains the loaf and one is used as a cover. Any arrangement which traps moisture in with the loaf will work.  

Prepare the water roux by sprinkling the 1 oz of barley flour on the 5 oz of cold water, in a small pan. I use a non-stick omelet pan. Blend the flour with the water until there are no lumps. Heat over low heat with constant stirring until it is thick like hot breakfast cereal, but do not let it simmer or boil. Immediately remove pan from heat and place water roux into a weighed mixer bowl. If the weight of the water roux is less than 6 oz, add enough water to bring the weight back up to 6 oz.  

Add the 4 oz of yogurt and the 6 oz of water to the water roux in the mixer bowl. Add the 16 oz of white whole wheat flour to the mixer bowl. Stir with the mixing blade on lowest speed until all of the flour is incorporated into the liquid, or visa versa. The pre-soak will be a sticky mess. Remove the mixer blade and cover the bowl with some kind of plastic cover. I use (and re-use multiple times) a disposable plastic shower cap. Leave the mixer bowl on the counter-top overnight.  

In a container which can be closed, combine the 1 cup of starter with the 5 oz of water. Add the 4 oz of rye flour and the 4 oz of red wheat flour, and stir until smooth. Cover and leave on the counter-top overnight. The pre-ferment will be somewhat stiff. If you are unable to stir in all of the flour after making a reasonable effort, add just a little more water.  

In the morning, remove 1 cup of the pre-ferment and store for future use as starter.   Add 1 tsp of salt to the pre-soak in the mixer bowl. Add the remaining pre-ferment. Use the dough hook on the lowest setting to combine these. In 2 to 3 minutes, the dough will have formed a cohesive mass. Add the 1 tbsp of olive oil and run the mixer for about 30 seconds more. Remove the dough hook from the dough and turn the oiled dough out onto the counter. Knead by hand briefly, to test for lumps. The dough should be wonderfully soft and smooth, and no longer sticky.  

Return the dough to the oily mixer bowl, cover, and let rise. Once it has risen, turn out onto the still-oily counter again. Press the dough gently into a rectangular shape appropriate for further shaping into a loaf. Shape the loaf. Place into a greased 9"x5" loaf pan. Cover (I use the same shower cap) and let proof until the center of the dough has risen higher than the edge of the pan.  

Preheat oven to 400F. Gently pour 1/4-cup of cold water over the proofed dough, and into the pan. Place the pan in the pre-heated oven and cover with an inverted identical loaf pan. Bake for 20 minutes at 400F. Remove the second, covering, pan and reduce the oven temperature to 350F. Bake for 30 minutes at 350F. Turn out of pan and let cool.  


1. Adding the water roux in the morning did not result in such a nice-handling dough.  

2. It may be possible to add the salt the night before, which would prevent forgetting it the next morning. This bread tastes very strange without any salt.  

3. Baking at 450F for the first 20 minutes makes for a crisper crust, but the loaf shrinks from its maximum size which is achieved by oven spring. Baking at 400F instead of 450F retains the maximum size.

4. I use a convection oven with a turntable.  

5. I plan to make this bread with barley in place of the rye, once my rye flour has run out. It should be possible to substitute any low-gluten grain for the rye. Replace the hard winter wheat with a softer grain, however, reduces the size of the loaf.

Mebake's picture

Very inspiring Mangochutney! Lovely recipe, and the bread looks really delicious!

This is one healthy flavorful bread i must try sometime, when barley hits my pantry.

Janetcook's picture

How timely this post is as I have a yogurt bread in the works today.  I am going to make a roux with barley this morning and then mix all together tonight.

A bit of difference to yours though due to my experimenting with YW now....I am combining yours with mine to see what results.  The yeast water has already been added to the yogurt and leaven so that is my starter and all will bulk ferment overnight rather than during the day....

Almost tempted to toss in some new crystal malt I found yesterday at a local home brew shop.  I was buying an Erlenmeyer flask and a hydrometer so I can track the sugar/alcohol content in my YW but couldn't help taking a peek at all of their malted grains.  They man in the shop highly recommended the crystal malted rye so I bit his bait and now have it waiting to be used in a loaf.  I was waiting for a rye loaf but....we shall see by the end of the day - who knows :-)

Thanks for your formula and photo....nice to see what you have been writing about.

Take Care,


MangoChutney's picture

I've never used any of my old brewing supplies for my bread.  I'll be interested to see how things work for you.  Maybe you can post some pictures, too.  *smile*

Here's a close-up of the crumb of the loaf above.  You can see how well the starch has gelled.  I haven't gotten anything like this since I backed off the high-hydration doughs I was making last year, which were a pain to handle.  This is why I was raving to you about the water roux.

dabrownman's picture

a lot.  I personally would like to see some sprouts in it but that is just me :-) The one thing I can't figure out is how your keep the 1/4 C of steaming water that you pour over the bread before covering it , in the pan.  If the bread is risen properly and the pan not too big for the dough amount, wouldn't the water just run off onto the counter since the pan is already full with dough?  I also like covering the pan with another.  Do you use metal pans and clip their lips together with binder clips?

MangoChutney's picture

There is usually some room down in the corners and just along the edge.  If some water runs off, then it runs off.  No big deal, unless you were holding it over something water-sensitive at the time.  If there's no room at all, it usually means I've overproofed the dough and I won't get any oven spring.  Perhaps that does mean that the pan is too big, but for my purposes it's just the right size.  *smile*

The pans are metal (USA Pans) but I don't use clips.  I tried using those big black springy paper clips, but they would only hold for a few moments before coming off with sudden snapping sounds and flinging themselves on the floor.  I tried two different sizes of clips, and the result was the same.  Just the time until snapping off changed.  Then it turned out that gravity is sufficient to keep the pan on so I stopped trying to fix it tightly.  My original lid was an aluminum foil balloon sort of thing, but that was a mess to get on without spilling the water (if put on before walking to the oven) or accidentally poking the dough (if put on after pan was in oven, which incidentally was HOT).  Also, I was too cheap to throw out the foil every time so I had a crumply looking foil balloon to store in between baking times.

I take great joy in removing the upper pan and "discovering" the nicely risen loaf within.  I always go tell my husband that it has risen THIS time, too.  *giggle*

isand66's picture

Very interesting formula and great looking bread.

I have saved this one to try in the future.

What hydration is your starter kept at?

MangoChutney's picture

5 oz water to 8 oz flour is 62.5%, plus I dribble a little water over the starter when I store it so the surface does not dry out.  I count it at about 65%.  The one cup I put into the pre-ferment is my entire starter, which is recovered each time.

isand66's picture

Thanks!  That is about the same as my starter.

MangoChutney's picture

After baking several more loaves of this, I have found the following.

1.  Dividing the non-roux water equally between the pre-soak and pre-ferment (5.5 oz in each) makes it easier to mix the two without lumps in the morning.  The starter is thus being kept at about 68%.  The portion of starter retained is now between 7 and 8 0z, being closer to 8 oz.

2.  Adding the salt the night before was not a good idea.  The pre-soak felt "dead" and was darker in color.  This probably means that the yogurt is acting on the pre-soak.

3.  My kitchen is now 70F in the daytime and 65F at night.  This is the winter-time thermostat setting.  Results from this recipe thus may not be the same in the summertime.  On the positive side, I have managed to coax my refrigerator up to 35F from 30F so it is more like normal people's refrigerators.

4.  I have been adding the 5.5 oz of water to the starter the morning before baking, so that it is room temperature by that evening when I feed it as the pre-ferment.  By evening, it smells slightly sour and a little yeasty.  In the morning, the pre-ferment smells sharp from carbon dioxide and winey from alcohol, and a little sour.  I can't tell if the bread tastes sour.  We like it, that's all I know.

 5.  The recipe, and the starter, are both quite robust and will even survive one's husband accidentally spilling two-thirds of the diluted starter onto the floor.  I simply added an extra oz of each type of flour (5 of each) and made the water up to what felt right when I stirred it in.  The smell of the pre-ferment the next morning lacked any sourness but was very yeasty, and the bread was fine although the rising was a little slower.