Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sourdough Sandwich Loaf

I've had my sourdough starter for a while now and love how versatile and easy it is to use. I only need to make sure that at least every few I use it in a recipe, or if for whatever reason that just doesn't happen, I only need to feed it to make sure it continues to do well. Since I love making bread and trying out new recipes it usually isn't much of a problem to find something to do with it. 

I discovered this sandwich loaf a little while back when I was looking for a quick and easy way to use my sourdough starter. Since I was in the mood for a few sandwiches I searched around for a simple sourdough sandwich loaf. This recipe, adapted from King Arthur Flour, fit the bill perfectly. A nice, pretty basic yeasted bread recipe with the addition of sourdough starter as well as a combination of seeds and grains for some chew and nuttiness. I changed up the recipe just a little bit to suit my needs without any real problem, and ended up with a perfectly delicious sourdough sandwich loaf, just what I needed for a few really fantastic sandwiches. 

If I'm going to make bread I like to make sure I make it worth my while so I decided to double the original recipe and make two loaves instead of just one and I was able to do this without any real problem. I've also increased the amount of whole wheat flour in my recipe to make the bread even more nutritious. Throwing in a few handfuls of whatever grains/seeds/nuts I have on hand gives the final product a nice heartiness that I really enjoy, especially in whole wheat bread. I think you could just skip this part all together if you wanted to, but it really does add a nice touch to your bread. In other words, this is a very forgiving bread that I've made several times now and really enjoyed. Play around with it to make it work for you, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Sourdough Sandwich Loaf
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • ~2 cups (11 oz) fed sourdough starter
  • 1 1/2 cups (11-12 oz) lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon (3/4 oz) olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup (5 oz) All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 cups (15 oz) Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2/3 cup your favorite blend of seeds and/or grains (such as coarse cornmeal, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and whole oats)    
  • 2 1/2 -3 teaspoons instant yeast

Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook and knead to form a smooth dough, about 5-7 minutes. Cover the dough, and allow it to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours; it'll become puffy, though it may not double in bulk.

Lightly grease two 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" bread pan. Gently deflate the risen dough, shape into two logs and place in the pans. Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap, and allow to rise until it crests at least 1" over the rim of the pan, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The bread doesn't have much oven-spring (i.e., it won't rise much once it's in the oven), so be sure to let it rise fully before baking. A loaf risen 1" over the rim of the pan will be denser and more close-grained; letting it rise higher will give you a "spongier," lighter bread. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes, tenting it with foil after 20 minutes if it's as brown as you like it. When it's done, the bread will be golden brown, and will register 190°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center.

Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack, to cool completely.

Yields: 2 loaves, about 15 slices per loaf

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