A good portion of the flour in this recipe is fermented before the dough is made to better convert the flour to sugars and generally improve the flavor. This pre-ferment is called a poolish and is allowed to bubble and develop a nice aroma and flavor. This recipe is my take on Syd's White Sandwich bread from another site. While the process can take up to 3 days, the active time making the bread is the normal amount of time, long resting periods are added to improve flavor.
- 1 2⁄3 cups all-purpose flour (unbleached, 213 g)
- 7 1⁄2 ounces water (room temperature, 213 g)
- 1⁄8 teaspoon instant yeast (3 pinches)
- 2 cups bread flour (255 g)
- 4 ounces buttermilk (111 g)
- 1 teaspoon butter (6 g)
- 1 teaspoon salt (rounded tsp table salt, 8.5 g)
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast (7 g)
- Make the poolish, cover and leave at room temperature for about 8 hours.
- Add the other ingredients and mix well.
- Knead by hand or dough hook and stand mixer for about 5 minutes on low speed, rest 5 minutes, and knead for 5 more minutes or until it passes the windowpane test (small piece can be stretched without breaking until light shows through).
- Oil a clear container with straight sides (or bowl), place dough and mark level, and let rise until doubled in volume (about an hour depending on temperature).
- Pre-shape into a ball and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 F with a pan on the bottom for steaming.
- Fold the ball gently, tuck in the ends and seal the edge. Roll back and forth briefly until edge is sealed and a log (slightly larger in the center) is formed.
- Place in an oiled loaf pan (9"x 5"), cover with oiled plastic film and let rise until almost doubled in volume (45 min to 1 hour).
- Add 1 cup hot water to steam pan (don't drip on the door glass).
- Score the loaf and place in the center of the oven.
- Reduce oven setting to 375°F.
- After 12 minutes, remove steam pan and rotate the loaf 180 degrees for even cooking.
- Cook for 20 to 30 more minutes until the loaf is 205 F internally.
- Remove from the loaf pan and cool on a rack.
- note: the dough can be placed in the fridge at 40F, covered, to rise overnight. If you do that, remove 2 hours ahead of time to warm up.
Red, I can't thank you enough for telling me about this recipe. Made it for my family and they LOVED it, raved about the soft texture inside and the wonderful crust with that great, almost sourdough flavor. I made the poolish and then left it in the fridge for 2 days before making the bread and it turned out great. Only trouble now is that the family says they no longer want store bought bread as this is so much better. Thanks so much for posting.
Great as is. For more yeasty flavor combine 1 tablespoon vinegar with stong lager beer to replace the 4 ounces buttermilk. A bit of sugar helps for browning when making toast. I also let my poolish ferment closer to 24 hours. We have completely eliminated store bread from the shopping list, this recipe having taken the role of our mainstay for bread. Do not skimp on bake time. Allow at least 20 minutes following the initial steamed 12 minutes.