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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.
- The night before you plan to bake, make the sponge.
- Feed your sourdough starter to activate it, and let it sit until it's nice and bubbly. I found this takes around an hour.
- Mix together the 2 flours in a bowl. (I use a whisk to get them nicely integrated.).
- 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.
- Pour the remaining flour mix blanket over the top.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let sit overnight, 12 - 14 hours.
- Cut the butter into small bits for easier integration, and let it soften at room temperature.
- Mix the dough together for about 1 minute (on speed 2 if using a KitchenAid), until it comes together into a rough ball.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
- 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.
- Scrape the dough into an oiled container, cover, and let rise until doubled. (About 3 hours, but you really just have to watch it).
- 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.
- 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.).
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and have a baking stone or tiles on the lowest shelf.
- 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.