Okay, here’s my first try at making the softest white sandwich bread possible.
I’ve just returned from the supermarket, laden with Bob’s Red Mill Potato Flour & Soy Flour along with some organic lecithin granules and other groceries (I can never resist stocking up on groceries 🙂 ). I already have Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten, bread flour, olive oil and full cream milk powder, so I’m ready for Trial # 1.
Soft White Sandwich Bread Trial #1
(adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (2007) by Jeff Hertzsberg & Zoe Francois, page 204, and Pain de Mie (Pullman loaf or regular sandwich bread) by King Arthur Flour)
Prep: About 15 minutes
Initial Rise: About 2 hours
Rest: About 40 minutes
Oven: 350°F (~180°C)
Bake: About 35 minutes
Cool: About 1 hour
Makes: 2 1-lb loaves
1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
3/4 Tablespoon instant yeast (~12mL)
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
4 Tablespoons (1/4 cup) olive oil (110g)
3 1/2 cups Pillsbury BEST Bread Flour (450g)
2 1/2 Tablespoons lecithin granules (~24g)
2 teaspoons potato flour (~4g)
2 Tablespoons soy flour (~6g)
2 Tablespoons vital wheat gluten (~22g)
4 Tablespoons milk powder
1. In a container, the salt & sugar were dissolved in the water, and the yeast was stirred in.
2. Using a whisk, the flours, lecithin & vital wheat gluten were mixed together and then they were poured into the yeast water.
3. A wooden spoon was used to thoroughly combine the flour mixture with the yeast water to make the dough.
4. If you were keeping track of the ingredients, you would have noticed that I’d forgotten to add the olive oil and milk powder … yeah, not a very good start to my search for how to bake the softest white sandwich bread, eh? 🙂 But perhaps all was not lost … when I’d realized that the olive oil was missing, I measured in the 4 tablespoons of the oil onto the dough and used my hands to thoroughly incorporate the oil. I’d then realized I had also forgotten the milk powder … so in went the milk powder, which was incorporated into the dough using wet hands.
5. The dough was then covered loosely and left to rise on the counter at room temperature (about 86°F or 30°C where I am) for about 2 hours.
6. With wet hands, about 3/4 of the dough was taken out from the container, quickly rolled into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom and dropped into the lightly greased small Pullman lidded loaf pan. The dough filled about 2/3 of the pan and was left to rest for about 40 minutes.
7. Interestingly, half way through letting the dough rest, it sort of exploded out of the pan! So, I had to use my kitchen scissors to snip off more than a third of the dough that was in the pan. But, not to worry … back into the dough container the excess dough went, ready to be baked another day.
8. After letting the dough rest and the dough was within about an inch from the top of the pan, the greased lid was put on and the pan went into a preheated 350°F (~180°C) fan-assisted oven for 25 minutes.
9. The lid was removed and the pan returned to the oven for an additional 10 minutes (until the middle of the loaf had reached 190°F (88°C)).
10. The loaf was gently shaken out of the pan and was left to cool on a rack for at least an hour. Here’s what the loaf looked like as it was cooling …
I believe the indentation on the top of the loaf was due to my snipping off the excess dough from the pan earlier. But it slices just like soft white sandwich bread …
Here’s a close-up shot of a slice …
And here’s the whole loaf that has been sliced into 9 soft white sandwich bread slices …
Yes, the picture above only shows 8 slices … we’d already devoured one of the slices and it tasted quite good … it could be a bit more sweet but it was very soft and light, just like stored-bought white sandwich bread. My daughter was convinced enough that she said she wanted to eat it for breakfast.
But the real test will be whether this bread will retain its softness tomorrow and the days after … time will tell, eh?
As for the leftover dough in the container, well, it’s been more than 4 hours since I’d made the dough and it’s still rising! I’ve put the dough in the refrigerator to be baked another day … as the dough has grown quite a lot, I think I’ll use a bigger Pullman lidded loaf pan.
BTW, if you’ve read my previous post, you may be wondering why I didn’t use any ascorbic acid (aka vitamin C). Well, I did find a bottle of citric acid specially made for baking, which … eh … I had forgotten to add to the dough. 😉
But, perhaps it was a good thing I didn’t, as I just learnt that citric acid is not the same as ascorbic acid. Citric acid may contribute to the building of sourdough flavors in the bread but it does not aid in yeast growth nor act as a preservative like ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
So, I’ll keep a lookout for ascorbic acid and add some to my Softest White Sandwich Bread … if I’m successful in determining the correct mix of natural ingredients for such a bread.
Have you ever used any of the natural dough conditioners I’d mentioned in this post, like lecithin, soy flour, potato flour, ascorbic acid, citric acid, etc?
Here is a tip. I live in South Florida and the weather is hot right now. So when I make bread during my summers, I cut down the rise time. When it exploded out of the pan it had over “proofed.” Over proofed bread (let rise too long) always sinks in the middle. You don’t need to add wheat gluten when you are working with bread flour. You only add it to all purpose flour because the gluten has been removed in the milling process or specialty flours that have no gluten. I use Pillsbury bread flour too. Rice flour, Potato flour and Soy flour added to bread flour always makes a softer loaf. These softer lighter flours proof quicker also. I just looked at your rise time. 2 hours is way too long. Cut in half and it should make it through your resting time with out bubbling over. Keep a eye on it. You may need a shorter resting time or no resting time at all because bread rises while baking. There are some breads that I make that I only let rise the one time by putting the dough right into the pan after mixing and bake it after it rises once. Try making it with out the lid to see how the yeast responds. You will get a techneque figured out that will work for you.
Hi, Trkingmomoe, yes I think you’re right! My dough was over-proofed. Sadly, I’d already started on Trial #2 before your comment came along, so it was very obvious that even the loaf made for Trial #2 was over-proofed. 🙂
I’ll also go without VWG in my next trial and will carefully watch the initial rise and resting of the dough.
Thanks for the tips!