Perfect Light Wheat Bread #3 [sourdough]

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Total Time
18hrs 40mins
Prep
40 mins
Cook
18 hrs

Attempt #3 at a nice everyday wheat bread. This is a modification of my Perfect Light Wheat Bread #2 to use a sourdough starter, thanks to the advice and support of the folks over in the Breads and Baking subforum. Making this bread as sourdough instead of using commercial yeast adds a depth and complexity of flavor that I really like. I think it keeps the intense wheatiness of the recipe from being overwhelming.

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Ingredients

Nutrition

Directions

  1. The night before you plan to bake, make the sponge.
  2. Feed your sourdough starter to activate it, and let it sit until it's nice and bubbly. I found this takes around an hour.
  3. Mix together the 2 flours in a bowl. (I use a whisk to get them nicely integrated.).
  4. In a mixing bowl, (I use my KitchenAid stand mixer), add the sponge ingredients and whisk for 2 minutes, until the sponge is the consistency of a thin batter.
  5. Pour the remaining flour mix blanket over the top.
  6. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let sit overnight, 12 - 14 hours.
  7. Cut the butter into small bits for easier integration, and let it soften at room temperature.
  8. Mix the dough together for about 1 minute (on speed 2 if using a KitchenAid), until it comes together into a rough ball.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
  10. Add the butter, honey, and salt, and knead for about 6 minutes (on speed 4 if using a KitchenAid). Properly kneaded, it will be just the slightest bit sticky.
  11. Scrape the dough into an oiled container, cover, and let rise until doubled. (About 3 hours, but you really just have to watch it).
  12. Oil 2 loaf pans (mine are 9x5). Divide the dough into halves with a bench scraper. Shape each half into a loaf, and place in the pans.
  13. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise until puffed up over the tops of the pans. (About 1 1/2 hours, but again, watch it.).
  14. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and have a baking stone or tiles on the lowest shelf.
  15. Bake the loaves for 35-40 minutes. Remove from the pans immediately and cool on a wire rack. Let them cool completely before storing or slicing.