The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Using artisan recipe for pan loaf

  • Pin It
LynnDot's picture

Using artisan recipe for pan loaf

Hi all,

I have a go-to sourdough recipe that I love. It's a 70% hydration dough and the only ingredients are the starter, a mix of rye and a/p flour, and salt. Since it's pretty wet for me to knead I do a series of stretch and folds, bulk ferment, shape it, proof it, then bake in a covered dutch oven for a bit for steam, then the rest without the lid.

The flavor is what I'm looking for and only gets better as my starter much as I like making boules, my boyfriend and I were hoping to get a sandwich loaf out of it to enjoy for sandwiches.

I'm still a newbie to baking in some ways so my question is can I translate this recipe as is for a sandwich loaf, or does it need different ingredients? When I tried Googling sourdough sandwich pan bread they have a lot of other ingredients - either oil or sugar/sweetener, milk, etc. I was hoping to keep my recipe how it is now but I wasn't sure if these ingredients were just preferences by the authors or if making it in a loaf pan is very different?? I've never actually made bread in a loaf pan other than banana bread, haha, so wasn't sure.

My plan was to do everything in my recipe as usual, but do the final proofing in a greased loaf pan rather than my proofing basket. Preheat the dutch oven as usual and bake the bread in the covered dutch oven for a bit, take it off, then once the bread has a good enough shape to hold on its own take it out of the loaf pan and finish baking it directly on a baking stone just so the crust browns up nice.

Do you guys think this would work? Is taking it out of the pan to let it finish baking a good idea? I read that on one of the many recipes I found and it seemed to make sense. I don't need a crunchy crackly crust since it's a sandwich loaf but I'd like the crust to have a decent texture.

If I'm way off base on translating this recipe let me know...once the loaf I just made runs out I want to try this as an experiment so any advice is welcome!

For reference, here is the exact recipe:

500g poolish starter (which is half rye, half a/p)

400g a/p flour

100g rye flour

15-20g salt, depends on the day

275g water

Maine18's picture

I'd try it as you described without altering first -- I've done versions of this over the years that have worked well.  (One note, I sometimes have had issues with the loaf sticking to the bottom of the loaf pan after the bake, so I will sometimes add a parchment liner across the sides and bottom to ensure and easy release).

Also, check out this video starting at 1:57, where Chad Robertson's friend does levain breads in pans as well -- results look amazing.


LynnDot's picture

Those do look pretty delicious! And exactly what I'm looking for haha, I hope my experiment turns out just as good. Like the poster below referenced though I'll have to play with lower temperatures, but otherwise I think the first loaf I'm going to try my recipe as is, then see what comes out...

Good thing is the boy is pretty easy to please. I think I could put a loaf of chewy old bread in front of him and he'd still eat the whole thing...I'm the picky one! Haha

DavidEF's picture

I didn't exactly say this in my other posts, but your recipe should work fine in the loaf pans just the way it is. The reason I mentioned lowering hydration is that the dough is easier to work with, and the lower temperature oven doesn't require the higher hydration dough. You really want a high hydration dough when you're baking at 500F because the dough can dry out before it is really properly baked otherwise. The dough I started with was 75% hydration. I lowered it to 65%, and now I sometimes make it at 60% hydration. It's just easier to work with.

DavidEF's picture

I started learning to bake with a simple recipe that was intended for crunchy boules and such, but I adapted it to work quite well in a pan for sandwich bread. All I changed was the hydration (lowered it a little), the oven temp (lowered it, too) and the baking time (once again, lowered a little).

Here is what I came up with, and you can adjust it to fit the ingredients you like to use:

Hydration is around 60 to 65 percent.

Salt is around 2 to 2.5 percent.

Starter amount is whatever I feel like at the time, but works best if it is less than the amount of flour added.

Baking temperature is 375F.

Baking time is 40 minutes.

I have three different loaf pans, just cause that's what happened. The 8.5" x 4.5" x 2.5" loaf pan takes about 700g of dough. The 8.5" x 4.5" x 3" loaf pan gets 750g of dough. The 9" x 5.25" x 3" loaf pan gets around 950g of dough. Most of the time, I'm using just the two smaller ones, but I always make extra dough, and have some left. Using the formula above, I would probably use something like 1000g flour, 520g water, 400g 100% hydration starter, 20g salt. That would give me 1620g dough, of which I would use 1450g for two loaves, have some dough sticking to me and the bowl, and put around 480g in a small container to use later for something. I'd let it rise until doubled in the mixing bowl, divide, shape, and rise again in the loaf pans, which need a light application of oil, grease, or spray release, and bake in an oven preheated to 375F for 40 minutes.

LynnDot's picture

Ahh yes you reminded me of another question I was worried about: temperature! I normally do 500F with the lid on for 20 minutes, then drop it to 425-450F for the rest of the baking time for 30 minutes. Looks like I need to go a lot lower haha.

375 for 40 minutes sounds like a good idea. Do you cover yours at all when you do loaf pans or take them out at some point, or just do the straight 40 minutes without touching anything?

DavidEF's picture

I don't cover my bread at all while in the oven. I've tried using steam, and maybe it makes a little bit of difference, but I haven't really noticed it making enough difference to be worth doing, so I don't mess with it any more. I think keeping moisture around your dough during the first several minutes of baking is very important in a hot oven, but when baking at 375F it doesn't seem to matter.

I do put my loaf pans inside a container of some sort to rise during final proof. I usually use a small spray bottle to spritz the inside of the container with water before putting the loaf pans in there and letting the dough rise for about three hours in my case. that way, there is no thick hard skin to bake into a hard crust in the oven. After they are loaded, I don't touch them again until they are ready to remove from the oven. I used to take them out of the pans about 20 minutes into the bake, but it doesn't seem to make any difference.

For softer bread, you can add a little bit of sugar, and a little bit of oil. I sometimes do that, but not always. When I do, it is usually just 4 or 5 percent sugar (compared to total flour) and maybe 7 or 8 percent oil (again, by total flour weight).

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I have made nice sandwich loaves with the tartine country loaf recipe baked in a cast iron Lodge Loaf pan.

The bread comes out much denser so it is easier to slice thinly. Had a great chew and was delicious. I think the density probably came from having too much dough in the pan, but I liked it.

I wound up using a second cast iron loaf pan to "cover" and make my dutch oven.

You can sign up for a free 30 day trial of amazon prime and get free shipping on the pans.

DavidEF's picture

Your bread looks really good. I wish I could afford to buy a bunch of cast iron cookware. I've got several skillets of various sizes, but that's it. I can imagine the Lodge Loaf Pan makes a perfect crust!

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I don't think it made a perfect crust.  I get the perfect crust, occasionally, out of the cast iron combo cooker.

I have no idea why the inverted loaf pans did not generate a crisp crust, perhaps because the cast iron could not be pre-heated, at least the bottom portion, since it was proofing in the pan. That, and because it is insulated by all of that iron until it gets hot.  I think that if I wanted a crisp sandwich loaf maybe I'd have to take it out of the pan after the 20 minute covered bake.


PetraR's picture

I oil my loaf pan with Vegetable oil , than I put my dough in and it is all around beaitufl crisp.

emkay's picture

My naturally leavened lean doughs typically have anywhere from 68-80% hydration and they seem to bake up fine in a loaf pan.  For a 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.5-inch loaf pan, I will bake at 400F for about 40 minutes.  I see no reason why your formula shouldn't work. Good luck and let us know how it turns out for you.

:) Mary

PS: The bread from the cafe in the Tartine video ( that does the variation of the country bread baked in loaf pans is really delicious. I could eat it everyday. Dave and his staff make great bread.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I watch that video and watch Chad pinching and folding the dough (not sure if that is the proper description) and it looks like he is working with an entirely different animal than the stuff that I am working with.  His dough does not appear to be the slightest bit sticky. It appears to be "over proofed' in that it is super duper billowy, and it just looks gorgeous.

Does anybody here get dough that looks like that when making the basic country loaf? 

 I would gather that he is using a lot more flour than I am...either in the mix or when he "lightly coats" the dough. I use a smattering only and wonder if I should be using more.

PetraR's picture

I always make a Sandwich Loaf with my fav. Sourdough Bread recipe in a greased Loaf Pan and it works just fine.

I bake it for 45 minutes at 200 C. 


PetraR's picture

Give it a go:)

I love making my bread as a Boule in my Dutch Oven , but my Sons and husband like ot have it in loaf Pan Form because it is easier to toast in the Toaster.

So, I make 2 Sourdough Bread in loafe Pans for them, and than 1 Boule in the Dutch Oven.

For the one in the loaf Pan I do all the steps as with a Dutch Oven bread.

Mixing Levain and Flour and water,autolyze 30 Minutes, than do 6 Stretch and Folds in 30 Minute Intervalls, than let Bulkferment in the fridge over Night. 

Once about doubled in Vollume I form the 2 loafes and put them in 2 greased loaf Pans, let them rise for about 2.5 hours, than bake in the Oven for 45 Minutes at 200C.

They come out lovely.

For a softer crust on top I rub some Butter on the top of the loafes and let the bread cool completly and bag them and put them away to be eaten.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and then stick lots of raw sunflower seeds into it.  Never sticks and tastes great!  And bake closer to 400!F.  

LynnDot's picture

Hi all, just wanted to update you guys. I baked the bread today. After going through everyone's advice I ended up following my recipe as usual except I did the final proof in oiled baking pans and put them right in the oven. 400F for 40 minutes put them right at 200F!

Here are some pictures. I did not have enough dough for two full loaves so the second one is a baby loaf. Next time I do this I'll either downsize for one or make extra dough to actually fit two pans.

Didn't get a picture of them cut but they turned out great. Not too dense, good amount of air in the crumb...the perfect texture for sandwich bread!

The sides are dark from the olive oil I greased the pan with. Next time I'll glaze the top of the dough with oil too just so it has a nice even brown crust. Flavor wise though, it's great! So now this week we have plenty of sandwich bread :)

Thanks for all your ideas! If anyone wants more details on the recipe and baking process just let me know, I'll be happy to write it up.