Updated: Mar 24
Created by Audrianna Southworth
I won't bore you with a story about how I created this recipe, or how my kids and husband celebrate when I make it. I'll just say, wow. This bread is just SO GOOD. It’s substantial without being heavy, and it stays so soft. Honestly, I don't think I've ever eaten better bread. But even more than that, this recipe is so easy!
This bread freezes perfectly, so I usually make 2 batches, eat 1 loaf fresh and freeze the others! when it's time to eat the frozen loaves I just pull them out before I go to bed, and they're thawed and perfect by morning! It's just as good as eating it fresh! ENJOY! And don't forget to tag me on instagram @southworth_sourdough when you make it!
Softest Sourdough Sandwich Bread
Created by: Audrianna Southworth
Note: time lines given are just for reference, go by look and feel of dough over timing.
250g Mature Leaven
1:3:3 ratio (30g starter, 110g water, 110g bread flour) or
1:2:2 ratio (50g starter, 100g water, 100g flour)
6g sea salt
60g sugar (sub. Maple syrup or honey)
450g whole milk
780g All-purpose flour
Melted butter to brush on the crust after baking
1- Mix the leaven, let rest until it reaches peak. The top of leaven should double or triple in size and should dome at the top. (For overnight use 1:3:3 ratio. If starting leaven in the morning use 1:2:2) 1:3:3 takes roughly 12 hours, 1:2:2 takes roughly 6.
2- In a small saucepan (I use a cast iron skillet) melt the butter, mix in the salt and maple syrup. Get it warm, but not too hot to touch. Pour in the milk and mix for just a moment to allow the milk to warm.
3- Pour the milk mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer, add about 150g of the flour and mix into the mixture to cool it down. Pour the mature leaven into the mixture and lightly whisk together.
4- Add half the flour into the bowl and mix on low until just combined, then add the rest. Once fully incorporated, but still shaggy, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a wet towel and rest for 30 minutes. This allows the gluten to develop and the fermentation process to begin.
5- After allowing the dough to rest, knead in the mixer for 10-15 minutes, until it passes the windowpane test. To test this, stretch a small amount of dough as thin as you can without tearing it, so that you can see light through the dough.
6- Pull dough out and knead by hand for just a moment, and form into a tight ball, return to the bowl and cover again with plastic or a wet towel. Let the dough proof for 2-3 hours.
7- Once the dough has proved, punch down (yes, we’re doing two proofs!) and separate the dough into two equal pieces.
8- To shape, roll out one of the pieces of dough to about 1/3 of an inch thick, into a rectangle. Roughly 12in by 16 in. Place the shorter sides so they are at the top and bottom. fold from the right, 2/3s of the way. From the left side, fold over the other side so the edge lines up with the first fold. Roll the dough out again to about 1/3 of an inch thick. Roll tightly from the bottom to the top into a log shape.
9- Place the shaped dough into a greased or parchment lined loaf pan, seam side down. Cover with plastic or a wet towel and repeat with the other half of the dough. Prove the dough for another 2-3 hours until the dough has doubled in size and is puffy.
** to make sure the shaped dough is ready to bake, gently press a finger into the corner of the dough. If the indent disappears, it needs to prove longer. If the indent stays, the dough is ready!
10- Preheat the oven to 375 F
11- (Optional) Slash the dough diagonally with a bread lame to allow for expansion and bake for 20 minutes then rotate the pans and bake for another 20 minutes until loaves are the desired color. You may be tempted to take them out early, as they will get kind of dark. Don’t. The bread needs the full time to bake. The crust will still be soft, and it will not be burnt
12- Once the dough is out of the oven, remove from the pans quickly and place on a wire rack to cool, and brush with melted butter. This will help the crust to be soft. Wait at least 20 minutes before cutting. For best results, wait until loaves are completely cool. The loaves will continue to bake, and the crumb will set. Cutting early will cause the bread to be crumbly.
Once you’ve shaped the dough, you can put the dough in the fridge for 12-18 hours to cold prove. This will deepen the flavor and give you more flexibility with your timeline! You will want to allow the dough to come to room temp before baking if you use the fridge method!
This recipe can also be made into dinner rolls or made into 4 mini loaves.
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