The Perfect Sandwich Loaf
This loaf is (almost) 100% whole wheat, making a dough that's a little more dense and a little harder to bake as a hearth loaf. The good news is, it'll bake wonderfully as a sandwich loaf.
Enjoy the honey-like smell of this loaf as it bakes in the oven. It'll make great sanwiches and toast, and stays lovely and moist for a surprisingly long time!
Try substituting the malted blend flour with spelt flour or more whole wheat flour to experiment with different flavours.
|8a.m. Sat||Mix the preferment*|
|4p.m.||Mix the dough|
|9p.m. Sat–8a.m. Sun||Proofing|
Ingredients (for 2 loaf yield)
- 120g whole wheat bread flour
- 100g cool (72ºF/22ºC) water
- 12g mature sourdough starter
- 600g additional whole wheat bread flour
- 310g malted blend bread flour
- 720g warm (90ºF/32ºC) water
- 24g salt
Note that we're making less preferment for this recipe than the others. This is because whole wheat flour ferments faster than regular white flour.
Mixing the preferment. In a big bowl or tub, combine the 60/120/440g whole wheat bread flour (for 1, 2, or 4 loaf yield), cool water, and mature sourdough starter. Mix it up until all the ingredients are combined into what looks a bit like pancake batter.
Cover and let rest for 8–12 hours at room temperature. After this time, the preferment should develop a lightly sour smell and some bubbles.
Mixing the dough. After 8–12 hours, add to the preferment the remaining whole wheat bread flour, the malted blend flour, warm water, and salt. Mix it all up until thoroughly combined into a shaggy dough, then let rest for about 10 minutes.
Stretch-and-fold. After resting, give the dough its first series of stretch-and-folds. Repeat the stretch-and-fold technique a total of 4 times, including the first one, at 20–30 minute intervals.
After the stretch-and-folds are complete, leave the dough to rest in a warmish location† for another 2–4 hours, until it has increased in volume by 50–100%
Shaping. After the dough has increased in size, lightly flour a working surface with about 2ft of area cleared. Gently tip the dough out of its tub and onto the countertop, using a lightly floured hand to encourage it out if necessary. You don't want the dough to drop and allow its gases to escape, so take your time and do this gently.
- If you’re preparing more than one loaf, dust the center of the dough with a line of flour, then use a bench scraper or dough knife to cut and divide the dough.
- Grab the dough by the edge furthest from you, pull and stretch it up, then fold it 1/3 of the way across the rest of the dough. Repeat on the edge closest to you.
- Rotate the dough 90º and repeat on the remaining edges.
- Using a bench scraper to help lift the dough off the countertop, flip the dough so it lies seam-side-down on the countertop. Cupping your hands, gently tuck the bottom of the dough ball underneath itself, tightening the dough.
Proofing. Lightly grease a regular-sized loaf tin with oil, butter, or margarine. Using the bench knife for assistance, gently lift your shaped dough ball and place it seam-side-up into the loaf tin.
Put the loaf tin(s) into the fridge, where the dough will proof overnight. To help prevent the dough from drying out, put the tin inside a plastic bag or place a plastic shower cap over it.
Note that we're leaving the loaf's seam on top this time; this will create a natural scoring on top of the loaf as it bakes, allowing the bread to rise and gases to escape.
Baking. After the dough has proofed for approximately 10–12 hours, preheat an oven to 475ºF/250ºC/220ºC fan for 45 minutes.
- Once the oven is pre-heated, remove your loaf from the fridge and cover with enough aluminium foil to create a “tent” above the loaf.
- Place the loaf tin into the pre-heated oven and bake for 30 minutes covered with the foil.
- After 30 minutes covered, remove the foil and bake for an additional 20–30 minutes, until the loaf is dark brown.
- Remove the bread from the oven and carefully remove it from the loaf tin. Let cool on a wire rack or on its side. Wait at least 60–120 minutes before cutting into the bread; it’s still cooking!