The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Soft/Moist White Bread??

smartdog's picture
smartdog

Soft/Moist White Bread??

I am trying to find the elusive soft and moist white sandwich loaf. The two loaves that I've made so far have been lovely, but...I am finding the crumb too dense for my liking. Don't get me wrong, they all toast up wonderfully but I am looking for the texture of "wonder bread texture/slices falling over soft). Is there a trick to get this texture?

Luv4Country Soaps
 
http://www.luv4country.com/catalog

browndog's picture
browndog

Hi, smartdog, a couple of things to think about-- first the lower the protein content of your flour the softer your crumb will be--go for storebrand unbleached ap, or something similar (3g protein on the nutrition panel) as anything labelled 'bread' flour will be significantly chewier and King Arthur ap has a higher protein content than typical for ap. Fat and sugar will tenderize, so will anything acidic, for example buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream. And you don't want to knead or mix the heck out of your dough--you want a little less gluten development to keep it soft, not chewy. A little while ago I made some bread that could only be described as "Wonder" and if that's really your heart's desire, the secret ingredients were rice flour and potato--I could not believe how tender the crumb was. I think this might be what you're looking for.

  • 1 c warm water
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 c warm buttermilk
  • 1/3 -1/2 c honey, depending on how sweet you like
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 5 1/2 c ap flour
  • 1/2 c mashed potato
  • 1/2 c brown or white rice flour
Proof yeast in warm water. Combine ingredients, knead til smooth and springy, 5-10 minutes by hand, adding a little flour only if necessary, dough will be slightly sticky. Let rise til doubled, 1 1/2-2 hours. Gently deflate dough, shape into loaves, place into 2 greased loaf pans. Leave til nicely risen but not over-proofed, 35-45 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees 45 or 50 minutes til well-browned and bottoms sound hollow when thumped.
bwraith's picture
bwraith

Browndog5,

I see how that works. Good thing the kids don't watch this site, at least I don't think so. Beautiful and thought provoking very soft and sweet white bread. Is this what you put the Dutch Crunch crust on, in cake pans, to make morel shaped Dutch Crunch? Thanks for posting the details.

Bill

browndog's picture
browndog

the acute softness really was an accident. The original Hensperger recipe called for adding cooked rice to the dough, I forget how much. Well, speaking of kids, mine does not like running into anything bumpy or chewy in his bread, and though Struan is wonderful, rice isn't favorite with me, either. But I wanted to do something different, so since I had the rice flour at hand as well as leftover potato...I included them both and HOLY MOLEY. And poor JMonkey...I have visions of him in another few years after having so lovingly and carefully reared his young daughter on breads with first-rate fiber and nutrition values, she's going to turn to him one day and say "Daddy, I want WHITE bread..!" (Thanks, by the way, for the BBA 'Crunch' formula. I was happy to see it, and will definitely be trying it out for comparison's sake.)

smartdog's picture
smartdog

Thank you so much! I'll have to get some rice flour and try your rendition soon.

Luv4Country Soaps
 
http://www.luv4country.com/catalog

verminiusrex's picture
verminiusrex

There are two ways to achieve this type of bread.  One is to use all high gluten flour, and you'll end up with Wonderbread.  The first time I played with high gluten flour, I was amazed at how soft it was. 

The other way is to make the White Sandwich Bread from the cookbook The Best Recipe (sorry, can't find my copy but it's a common cookbook).  It makes a pretty quick loaf beginning to end, using warm water for the dough and proofing in a warm place, so you end up with soft white bread in under 3 hours.  I found this bread to be excellent for French toast, because it soaks up the batter so well.

Good luck.

browndog's picture
browndog

Verminiusrex, you have such a top-notch moniker that I hate to quibble, but my understanding is that the higher the gluten, the higher the protein content and the chewier the finished product, cake flour, for example, milled from soft wheat and conspicuous for its low gluten, is 2g protein (per 1/4 cup) compared with 4g for bread flour. Hi-gluten flour is often the flour of choice for bagels, but I think if tenderness is the goal, a baker would be disappointed with it. It pretty much insures a really good rise, though. I do find it interesting that you found it softening things up--what kind of bread was it?

verminiusrex's picture
verminiusrex

I made a straight out loaf of white bread when I got a bag of high gluten flour just to see what happened, and it made a very light, fluffy loaf.  The chewy texture you find in bagels and pizza dough made with high gluten flour is more a result of being risen slowly in the fridge for 12-24 hours, so the gluten develops differently.  You can get similar results with regular bread flour, it just works better with high gluten flour for the bagels and pizza dough.

 High gluten flour gives the loaves more elasticity to rise and "fluff" more.  Try making Alton Brown's Very Basic Bread with all high gluten flour as an experiment, I can promise you that it'll be one of the lightest, fluffiest loaves you've ever made.  I did find that it makes a softer dough as opposed to the same weight of regular bread flour, so I'd recommend using a loaf pan rather than just shaping a boule becasue it's more likely to spread and flatten out unless you use a higher quantity of flour to compensate. 

I like the fluff affect that the high gluten flour has on my loaves, so what I usually do is use the high gluten flour for about a third of the total flour in a loaf.  That gives it a lighter texture that many people just don't associate with home made loaves.  If you compare high gluten loaves to  regular bread flour loaves, the high gluten makes them lighter and softer, and not the denser and crumblier crumb of your basic all bread flour loaves.  Playing around with different ratios of regular and high gluten flour in loaves is very fun, I highly recommend it.  

browndog's picture
browndog

This is some interesting stuff, thanks, verminius. Old dog, new tricks...

sphealey's picture
sphealey

Rose Levy-Beranbaum's _The Bread Bible_ has a soft white bread recipe specifically designed to replicate Buttertop(tm), which apparently was the Wonder Bread(tm) of NYC in the 1940s and 1950s.

sPh

BROTKUNST's picture
BROTKUNST

that's a fine oxymoron. Kind of botteling your own homemade Coca Cola.

Cheers :-)

BROTKUNST

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

Her recipe for her "Wonder Bread" is fantastic.  I use it to make a large Pullman style loaf and it works wonderfully well.  Today I'm actually baking some.  1 loaf in a regular loaf pan and a small pan of quick cinnamon rolls.  Yum.

mse1152's picture
mse1152

I follow another blog called A Year in Bread, which just posted a white bread recipe.  I haven't tried it, but here it is:   white bread.

Sue 

mse1152's picture
mse1152

This is easy to make for a mid-week baking fix. It took me about 4 hours. I made three mini-loaves from a half recipe, but I think I should have made four.

Farmhouse White minis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I should have slashed them or left them to proof longer. Looks like they're all tipping their hats.

 

Farmhouse white crumb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For white bread, it's pretty good. The taste reminds me of the rolls I got in the elementary school cafeteria...the tall white pull-apart kind. I cut it while it was still hot. mmmmmmm...

Sue

kjknits's picture
kjknits

Wow, those are some tall loaves! They look delicious. I especially love the brown crust.

I posted my family's favorite sandwich bread recipe here today. You might like to try it out. It's white, with a little wheat bran for fun.  It's light, yet has some body, and is moist without being dense.  We love it.

 Katie in SC 

Susan's picture
Susan

You do good bread!

Susan

mse1152's picture
mse1152

I'm eating my third piece right now.  My visit to the Y this morning is totally obliterated.

Sue 

RFMonaco's picture
RFMonaco

2 tablespoons of instant yeast? WOW!,,,Not a typo in her recipe?

HogieWan's picture
HogieWan

I've always wanted to find a recipe for the rolls in my elementary cafeteria.  They were the best part of every meal.  I will have to try this recipe as I'm almost out of sandwich bread

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

The Fresh Loaf has everything you could want.. including old fashioned lunch lady rolls.  I actually have a recipe FROM a school lunch recipe book.. only problem is, it makes 500 rolls.  I scaled back and surprisingly, it is very much like this recipe here.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/19661/lunch-lady-rolls

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

I made Peter Reinhart's Buttermilk White Bread (you can also make it with milk) to help a beginning baker on another forum who was having trouble with the recipe. You'll probably find the detailed instructions I gave overkill, but you can find the posts at http://www.discusscooking.com/forums/f23/need-help-with-white-bread-recipe-32899.html

Post #5 covered equipment
Post #9 covered ingredients and measuring
Post #13 covered mixing and kneading
Post #14 covered rising and baking

This makes a soft white bread that's good for sandwiches. Frankly, white bread isn't exactly my cup of tea, but if that's what you're looking for this is a pretty good recipe.

smartdog's picture
smartdog

WOW! Thank you for the great resource! That's a HUGE cooking forum huh? I registered there and I think I will be busy perusing for years! LOL

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

hi smartdog

Discusscooking.com is a good general cooking forum. There is a core of experienced cooks who are dedicated posters and the forum is monitored so there are no flame wars.

As far as bread baking goes, I think this forum is *much better*. I've recently "transitioned" here (although I actually registered several years ago) in part because discusscooking.com didn't meet my growing interests (hmmmm - that's actually a growing *obsession*) with bread baking.

I am a dedicated lurker here and am *totally impressed* with both the knowledge and courtesy of the posters.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

oh well, as long as ppl are posting photos, here are ones of Reinhart's buttermilk white bread (from Bread Bakers Apprentice)

I'm not too good with close-ups, but here's the interior

tattooedtonka's picture
tattooedtonka

I just finished a couple loaves about two hours ago, it is my plain ol' white bread.

I have polled my family to see if they would describe it as soft, or as chewy.  They all agreed soft.  The crust is thin and crunchy though, so if you are looking for a soft crust as well, this will not help you.

This was made with a high protein flour (KA Special).  Before I made this bread with KA flour, I used Gold Medal "All Trumps" another high protein flour.  I feel the key for me is not over kneading the dough.   Not completely smooth (no window pain).

Here are the photos inside and out.

 

 

To me it is definately soft, very moist, and very good eaten plain.  And for a guy who likes butter on everything, that says alot.

TT

mse1152's picture
mse1152

TT,

Those crumb shots look like giant pillows!  Wonderful stuff.  Does your recipe include milk or buttermilk?  Much oil or fat?  So far, I like milk doughs best for white bread.

Sue 

tattooedtonka's picture
tattooedtonka

but there is nothing in this recipe but

Flour,Water,Salt, Yeast.

 

TT

Susan's picture
Susan

You outdid yourself! Today was a brick day for me, but there's always tomorrow.

Susan

mse1152's picture
mse1152

I'm so used to white bread dough with enrichments, this is quite impressive!

Rather than laughing, I was struck dumb.  duh.

Sue 

smartdog's picture
smartdog

I am really glad I started this thread! It just keeps getting more helpful every day. :)

Luv4Country Soaps
 
http://www.luv4country.com/catalog

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

so today I baked Rose Levy-Beranbaum's The Bread Bible recipe for the Wonder Bread loaf with AP.  Sorry no camera but it turned out my best loaves yet.  But I do have questions:

  • I put the starter in the fridge overnight but not the loaves after shaping.  Is that the only way to get more taste to the bread?
  • The recipe calls for dry milk but I avoided it since people say the dry nonfat  milk tastes funny but in the liquid form I worry that it might impact my yeast development. Is liquid milk ok?
  • What is the secret for folding AP flour? I put a cup of WW flour in but it was all still so very loose.  I obviously don't know the secret.

 thanks, countryboy

sphealey's picture
sphealey

=== I put the starter in the fridge overnight but not the loaves after shaping. Is that the only way to get more taste to the bread? ===

Well, that is how the whole artisan bread revival got started in the first place! By definition I don't think you can get much flavour out of soft white bread unless you add nuts, seeds, etc.

The theory is that you shouldn't retard doughs (especially soft white doughs) with sugar and fats overnight because undesirable reactions will occur and create bad flavour. That said I have done it, and our overnight cinnamon roll recipe (which includes oil, sugar, and egg) specifically requires retarding, so I would say give it a try.

=== The recipe calls for dry milk but I avoided it since people say the dry nonfat milk tastes funny but in the liquid form I worry that it might impact my yeast development. Is liquid milk ok? ===

I haven't noticed any problems with plain ole Carnation dry milk, but if you are concerned you could try some bakers' dry milk from the King Arthur catalog.

However, I often use liquid milk in soft bread recipes (2%) and see no problem with yeast activation using Fleicschman's Bread Machine yeast (equivalent of some other manufacturers' instant yeast). I suspect that modern yeast technology has made the concern about milk enzymes obsolete for any reasonable percentage of milk.

On the fifth hand, I don't really like soft white bread, so maybe you should ask my family members how the stuff I make tastes!

sPh

 

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Reading through old threads, I just saw your question about dry milk tasting bad in bread.  I know that when dry milk gets too old it smells and tastes bad.  I keep mine in the freezer, and sniff it before using.  It should smell like sweet milk, not milk that's going off, or rancid. (I know that with no fat it shouldn't be actually rancid, but I've had some that smelled that way when stored too long in the cupboard.)

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Countryboy, to get more flavor in your bread use less starter. This will slow down the fermentation to develop flavor. Then do multiple proofings, preferably at a temperature between 70 and 75 degrees. Any warmer than that will cause it to rise too fast to develop flavor. Don't let it over-proof before knocking it down. Try two proofs and then the final proof after shaping. See if that gives you more flavor.

Don't be afraid to use dry milk. True, it doesn't taste the best for drinking but it is great for baking. Another thing that I use for soft bread is the addition of 1/4 to 1/3 cup of dried potato flakes.

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Appreciate the guidance, countryboy

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

SourdoLady, would the third proof affect the final texture of the bread?  Made your deluxe sourdough loaf recently and it's very good.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

In my experience, and I'm by no means an expert, the final texture of the bread depends largely on the dough hydration and how the dough was handled during the final shaping. It can be tricky to shape the loaf without degassing it too much. This particular bread recipe isn't meant to have very large holes, however, as it is an enriched bread. I'm glad that you enjoyed the bread!

kjknits's picture
kjknits

Don't miss my soft white bread, here...also, I second the idea of using potatoes in one form or another in bread to make it softer. I will sometimes replace some of the flour with Bob's Red Mill potato flour. It helps the bread retain moisture.

I love seeing all this bread! It makes me hungry. And I just ate a whole bowl of oatmeal. =)

Katie in SC

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Yes, if soft is what you are looking for potato water might help you out.

--Pamela

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

as liquid in an white with rolled oats loaf and also came out very moist.  It was left over from steaming cubes for freezer storage.  I let the oats, yeast, and half the flour soak up juice for an hour.  No added sugar, added salt and kneaded in more flour.   Baked the loaf within 5 hours, no retardation.   Very fluffy & flavorful and no taste of pumpkin.  There is some kind of gel in the juice that  must be working here. 

Mini O

juancho's picture
juancho

Does anybody know arecipie for a white bread that ends up with a soft white crust? No browning and seems to have extra flour dusted on top.

Thanks

 

msgenie516's picture
msgenie516

Hi,

I know this thread is old, but I just found it.  I posted a recipe quite some time ago and I think it may be what you're looking for:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20065/perfect-bread-recipe-beginning-baker

I have never baked it in a loaf pan, but I think it would work.  Good luck! Genie