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.