Once we have our sourdough starter ready, the next exciting job is to be bake a lovely loaf of bread. I have baked this loaf multiple times with all purpose flour, with part wheat flour and seeded loaf too. All of the loaves turned out amazing and I have loved every version of it. I have been making this sandwich loaf nearly every week and my family loves having these bread slices with jam butter, cheese, sandwich, stuffed, etc. This is a simple loaf and the perfect one to make as a beginner.
Ingredients & Equipment
- Sourdough starter (fed) 75 gms
- All purpose flour / Maida 300 gms
- Milk powder 15 gms
- Water 210 gms
- Butter (salted / unsalted) 15 gms plus for greasing
- Salt 9 gms
- Hand mixer / Stand mixer (Optional)
- Large bowl
- Small bowl / jar
- 7″ or 8″ Loaf tin
- Wire rack
Step 1 – Feeding the Starter
Since we need 75 gms of starter, we will start with 25 gms of starter from the refrigerator. Let it come to room temperature and add 30 gms of flour and 30 gms of water. Mix well to ensure no dry flour remains. It will double in 3-6 hours depending on the weather conditions. Once it doubles, it is ready to be mixed into the dough.
Step 2 – Autolyse
Autolyse is a simple process which gives amazing results. So even though this step is optional, I would strongly recommend this step. Autolyse is mixing the flour and water before it is time to add the starter. In this step, we take 300 gms of flour, 210 gms water and 15 gms milk powder in a large bowl and mix together. We do not need to knead the dough but only mix them together to ensure no dry flour remains. Cover and keep aside. The autolyse can be for any amount of time from 1 hour to 4 hours. You can do this at the same time as feeding your starter or at a later time as per your convenience. Autolyse lets the flour absorb the water and makes it softer and ready for the sourdough starter. This is especially recommended when you use whole wheat flour or other less glutenous flours for your loaf.
Step 3 – Mixing the dough
Once the starter has doubled we are ready to mix the dough. Add the sourdough starter, salt and butter to the large bowl with the dough and mix them all together to ensure no dry flour remains.
Step 4 – Kneading the dough
We can either knead by hand or by a mixer. Kneading by hand will take longer. If you are kneading by mixer, you have to knead for 10 minutes and then rest the dough for 15 minutes. After resting knead it again for 5-7 minutes till you can do the window pane test for the dough. If you are kneading by hand, do 3 turns of kneading with 2 breaks in between. Knead for 10 minutes then rest the dough for 10 minutes. Then knead for 2 stretches of 5 minutes each with a break of 5 minutes between them. Then the dough should be ready for the window pane test. The window pane test is stretching the dough till it is nearly transparent and you can see the light coming through it without it tearing.
Step 5 -Bulk Ferment
After the dough is sufficiently kneaded, we place it in a well oiled bowl and cover it. We then leave it to double in volume. This can take around 4 to 6 hours depending on the weather. Bulk ferment is also called the first rise of the dough before it is divided or shaped.
Step 6 – Shaping & Proofing
Once the dough doubles in volume transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Bring it together by folding it like an envelope on four sides. Then shape it into a log of 7 or 8 inches depending on your loaf tin size. Grease the loaf tin generously. Transfer the dough to the loaf tin. Cover and set aside. The dough should reach near the rim of the loaf tin in around 1 hour, if it warm enough.
Step 7 – Baking
Once the dough reaches near the rim of the loaf tin, preheat the oven to 200C. Brush the top of the dough with some milk. You can add seeds to the top of the loaf at this point. Bake for 40 minutes or till the top of the loaf is nicely brown.
Step 8 – Cooling
Once the loaf is nicely brown, take it out of the oven and loosen it from the sides of the tin with a butter knife or spoon. Generously apply butter to all sides of the loaf, especially on top so that the crust is soft and ideal for a sandwich bread. Transfer the loaf to a wire rack and cool it completely, around 2 hours.
Storing the loaf
I like to store the loaf wrapped in a cloth and then put in a box or cover till I first use it. Usually I finish baking late evening. Then once the loaf has completely cooled I wrap it in a kitchen towel and put it in a ziploc bag till the next morning when I slice it and have it for breakfast. I would recommend finishing the loaf within 3 days and not extend it for too long.
Variations to the loaf
I have tried a few different ways with this loaf and have found reasonable success. I have baked with 100% all purpose flour. I have baked it with different seeds. I have baked with 120 gms whole wheat flour and the balance 180 gms all purpose flour. The only difference is that the water needs to be increased to 225 gms. Otherwise you can follow this recipe as is. I plan to try with some other flours like oat flour, rye flour at around 25-30% with the remaining all purpose flour. I will keep this post updated with my results.
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Sourdough Sandwich Loaf
- Hand mixer (Optional)
- OTG or MIcrowave Oven to bake
- 7 or 8 inch loaf tin
- Mixing bowls
For the Sourdough Starter
- 25 gms Unfed starter
- 30 gms All purpose flour
- 30 gms Water
For the Bread Dough
- 300 gms All purpose flour
- 210 gms Water
- 15 gms Milk powder
- 9 gms Salt
- 15 gms Butter (Salted or unsalted)
Feeding the sourdough starter
- Mix all the ingredients for the sourdough starter in a jar or bowl thoroughly.
- COver and set aside till it doubles in volume, usually 3-5 hours
For the bread dough
- Mix the flour, water and milk powder in a large bowl thoroughly
- Cover and set aside for 2 hours or till the starter is ready. This process is called autolyse
- Add the sourdough starter, salt and butter to the flour and water and mix well
- Knead by hand or with a mixer for 15-20 minutes till the dough passes the windowpane test
- Cover and set aside till the dough doubles in volume, around 4 hours
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a 7 or 8" log
- Grease the loaf tin and transfer the dough to the loaf tin
- Cover and set aside till the dough rises to the rim of the loaf tin
- Preheat the oven to 200C
- Brush the top of the dough with milk
- Bake for 40 minutes or till the top of the loaf is nicely brown
- Remove from the oven and take it out of the loaf tin
- Generously apply butter on all sides to soften the crust
- Cool on a wire rack till the loaf is completely cool, around 2 hours
- Slice and enjoy your sandwiches