As you can tell, I’ve been greatly enjoying making different and new kinds of bread, and experimenting with sourdough. I’ve tried to keep it quite practical and not make enormous batches of bread that I’ll never eat (or, worse, that I *will* eat and will swell to the size of the moon with all the carbs), or bread that is somehow too fancy to be taken in to work for lunch at least three days out of five. It’s hard not to get carried away but I’ve done alright, between making small batches, sharing the bigger batches and freezing any leftovers. However, for a long time I’ve wanted to make a more ‘normal’ loaf that I can make sandwiches with – delicious tuna sandwiches. Oh, tuna sandwiches, how I love thee. I cannot count the ways, they are too many.
To that end, I ran an image search for ‘sandwich bread’ and chose the first picture that a) looked appetising and b) came from another blog, so I could follow the recipe and possibly find a cool new blog to follow while I was about it. I ended up with this recipe on Baking Bites. Nicole has created this recipe herself, to try and recreate her favourite commercial bread, and I am very much in awe of that. I’m still nowhere near making my own bread recipes, I think it’s a great talent to have, and I hope I can develop it over the months. Here’s my version of her excellent recipe:
- 1/2 cup sourdough starter
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 cup wholewheat bread flour
- 1/2 cup oats
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 1/4 cup white bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
First, mix the starter, water, wholewheat flour and honey. This will make a very sloppy dough, which you stiffen up by adding the white flour and salt. It’s important not to mix that salt and sourdough starter directly, because salt and yeast are MORTAL ENEMIES and will fight to the death and salt ALWAYS wins.
Knead the dough in a mixer fitted with a dough hook for five minutes (or you can do it by hand, but be warned, it is sticky).
Sprinkle a few pinches of flour over the dough and round the sides, and use it to loosen the dough from the bowl and lightly knead until the whole surface is coated in flour and not trying to cling to your hands or the bowl like a needy drunk.
Place the dough in a plastic or glass bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for two hours. I’ve read that a metal bowl can mess with the yeast in bread and stop it rising, so I’m testing this out. So far I feel like it might be true – this bread was doubled in only two hours, even though all the rising power was coming from the sourdough and not commercial yeast.
After the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a rectangle, the same length as your loaf tin and about twice as wide.
Fold the top and bottom into the middle and pat the seam together. Turn the bread over and place in the loaf tin – this is a bit tricky, the dough is very soft. Try to be gentle. Making sure it’s the right size will help.
Cover the loaf tin and leave in a warm place for another two hours to rise again. That sounded distinctly Biblical, or possibly supernatural. It won’t be zombie bread, I promise.
Heat the oven to 190C, then uncover the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until it sounds hollow when tapped. I will admit that I was a bit sad that it shrank away from the sides of the tin, I’d hoped it might actually rise a little while it was in there but it was not to be. This might be to do with oven temperature? A lower oven might be a bit more gentle and encourage the loaf to stay the same size, if not to rise.
Remove from tin and cool before slicing.
Eat hundreds of smaller than average tuna sandwiches.
The original recipe has nuts in it – pecans, though Nicola does suggest that you can swap them for another kind of nut. I’m still not crazy about nuts, though I do like them in the odd baked good, so I left them out altogether. I thought the wholewheat, oats and hint of honey would be texture and flavour enough to be going on with, especially with the sourdough tang mixed in. The oats didn’t really come through in the final flavour – some sprinkled over the top would be nice, another time.
I continue my quest for a sandwich loaf, but for now I’ll have twice the amount of small sandwiches and be glad.
I’ve done my usual submission to Yeastspotting – fresh bread every Friday. So much breadspiration!