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Almost no-knead sandwich bread w soft crust and tender fine crumb

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    Almost no-knead sandwich bread w soft crust and tender fine crumb

    In my 20s, I made bread quite often, but my recipes were developed purely by trial and error -- I didn't know about hydration and baker's ratios and all that. Nevertheless, I finally developed a couple of recipes that always turned out well for me, but they required long minutes of traditional kneading.

    After a long hiatus from bread making, I read the New Yorker recipe for no-knead bread, and I made several batches. I learned I am not a fan of "artisan" bread like this. IMO, the crust is much too hard, the interior has large holes and the texture (to my mouth) is overly rubbery. On top of that, the free-form loaf is not as ideal for making toast and sandwiches as bread baked in a loaf pan.

    I wondered if the no-knead method could be used to make bread with a softer crust, firm yet tender interior, and smaller holes that don't let butter leak through. In other words, I wanted a no-knead bread that is similar to the kneaded "sandwich" bread I used to make.

    This seemed like a tall order, because nearly all of the recipes I found using a no-knead method are based on a "lean" dough -- no milk, no egg, little or no fat. Several internet articles stated the no-knead method is best suited for lean recipes, but they annoyingly didn't explain why. I started to wonder if these authors were merely parroting "facts" and "common wisdom" to get articles written for their blogs without any real science to back it up.

    So I got busy. I made several batches of a no-knead recipe without any ingredient changes, but I used a baking method more typical of a sandwich bread.

    Many no-knead recipes instruct you to bake the loaf in a preheated Dutch oven at 400F or so until the loaf has an internal temperature of 200-210F.

    I baked my bread in a loaf pan in a preheated 375 F oven until the internal temp of the loaf was 190-195F. The loaf was cooled in the pan for about 10 minutes and then further cooled on a wire rack with an optional "tea towel" draped over the top to retain more moisture. The change in the baking method produced bread in the shape I wanted. The bread also had a nicely tender crust, but the interior was still coarse with large holes and too chewy.

    I then altered this recipe by replacing the water with full fat milk and adding a few tablespoons of mild flavored oil. I got better keeping qualities and an even more tender crust. The interior of the loaf had a slightly finer crumb, but it was still more coarse and chewy than I wanted.

    I then stumbled across an almost no-knead method that uses high-hydration recipes like most no-knead breads, but the authors briefly folded the dough during the long rise. This folding is simple and quick to do, unlike kneading, and the authors reported it did a lot to develop the gluten, make a finer crumb, and produce a taller rise in the oven. That was the final key I needed. After several batches, I am here to say a nice sandwich bread can indeed be made with an almost no-knead method.

    The things that distinguish this almost no-knead sandwich loaf from its artisan brother --
    Use fat and/or milk rather than plain water to add keeping qualities and more tenderness
    Fold the dough several times during the long rise to make a finer crumb and a higher rise during baking
    Use a loaf pan to create a sandwich- and toast-friendly loaf and to retain more moisture in the loaf during baking
    Bake the bread at slightly cooler temperatures and to a slightly lower internal temperature
    Cool the loaf after baking with a light covering to further soften the crust (optional)



    Almost no-knead soft sandwich bread

    Makes One 9x5 inch / 23x13 cm loaf

    Ingredients
    525 grams (18.5 oz) all purpose flour. Can substitute up to ~200 g of other flours if desired

    3.5 grams (1/2 package or about 1 teaspoon) active dried yeast

    8 grams salt (scant 2 teaspoons Morton kosher salt or about 1.5 teaspoons regular table salt)

    425 grams (15 oz) lukewarm milk OR
    370 grams (13 oz) lukewarm water OR
    370 grams (13 oz) lukewarm water plus 55 grams buttermilk powder

    1-2 Tablespoon sugar or honey

    2 Tablespoons mild flavored oil

    Method
    Measure flour, sugar, yeast, salt, sugar (if using), and buttermilk powder (if using) into a large bowl. Mix well.

    Add milk or water, oil, and honey (if using) to the flour mixture. Stir with a sturdy spatula until all ingredients are mixed into a shaggy, lumpy dough. Do not knead or fuss with the dough -- just get the ingredients mixed and then stop.

    Cover dough with plastic film and let rise at room temperature for 12-16 hours. Either bake the loaf at that time, or put the dough in the refrigerator to rise for another day or two. A long rise in the refrigerator will develop desirable tangy flavors in the bread. A long rise at room temperature may result in off flavors.

    About three times during the rise, use a spatula or your hands to fold the dough about 12 times. To fold, lift one edge of the dough and push it into the middle, turning the bowl after each fold so all parts of the dough get handled. When folding, leave the dough in the bowl, and do not add any flour. The folding requires very little effort and very little time -- just quickly get the dough folded about 12 times and stop. After each folding session, cover the dough and let it go back to rising again.

    To finish the bread, sprinkle the counter with a small handful of flour and turn the dough out onto the flour. Fold the dough as described before with the aim of forming a tidy oblong loaf shape as best you can.

    Place the shaped loaf into a greased 9 x 5 bread pan. Let the dough rise at room temperature until it is a scant 1 inch / 2.5 centimeters above the rim of the pan. At that point, preheat the oven to 375 F / 190 C (standard oven) or 350 F / 175 C (convection oven).

    Slash the top of the loaf 3 or 4 times with a serrated knife right before putting the bread in the oven.

    Bake the loaf for 35-45 minutes, turning it once about halfway through so the loaf browns evenly. Bread is done when the temperature in the center of the loaf is 190-195 F / 88-90 C.

    If desired, cover the top of the loaf with butter. Let the bread cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, and then turn out onto a cooling rack. Cover lightly with a thin tea towel to soften the crust if you prefer. Let the bread cool to room temperature, and store in a closed container.

    Proportions
    100 parts flour
    70 parts water
    1.5 parts salt
    0.7 part yeast

    References
    Bincy Chris, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIxAWabmkbc
    Emma Christensen, thekitchn.com/noknead-bread-hack-how-to-make-105248
    J. Kenji López-Alt, https://www.seriouseats.com/2011/06/...ead-dough.html
    Brod and Taylor, https://brodandtaylor.com/blogs/reci...no-knead-bread


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    Last edited by Huskee; November 28, 2020, 05:21 AM.

    #2
    Wow! Looks fantastic!

    Comment


      #3
      I suddenly find myself longing for a sandwich. Fabulous.

      Comment


        #4
        Great write up and thanks. I have been working my way through all the bread recipes discovered here and now I have another to try. However that will be in a few days as I have 6 loaves sitting out waiting for the oven to reach temperature as I write.

        Comment


          #5
          I played around with the proportion of water to flour from 66% to 76%. I liked 70% hydration the best, but all of them made good bread.

          I also tried several oven temperatures when refining my recipe. 350 F worked well in my convection oven (that would be 375 F in a conventional oven), although 400 F in my oven (425 F conventional) worked fine too.

          A big advantage in my bread baking now is my trusty Thermapen. The common advice about being browned on the bottom and "the loaf should sound hollow when tapped" never worked well for me -- I remember from my early bread baking career that this advice usually resulted in an unappetizing, underbaked loaf. Baking bread to a specific internal temperature has been a lifesaver.

          Comment


            #6
            I still haven't made my first loaf. Now I have another to put on the list. Thanks for the excellent write up.

            Comment


            • IowaGirl
              IowaGirl commented
              Editing a comment
              This one is about as easy as it gets. Even my non-baker hubby wants to try it.

            #7
            That's a great lookin' loaf. My go to recipe now is Japanese Milk Bread using the tang zhong method. It makes wonderfully soft bread with a soft crust, but it needs a 10 to 15 min knead...

            Comment


            • IowaGirl
              IowaGirl commented
              Editing a comment
              I learned about tang zhong method in my meanderings around the bread making universe. It sounds scrumptious.

            • RonB
              RonB commented
              Editing a comment
              My wife said they were the best rolls I have made. We don't eat a lot of deserts, so I don't bake many, but I want to try using this dough to make cinnamon rolls. It will be a while though because my blueberries are starting to ripen and that means blueberry pie!

            #8
            What a FABULOUS write up.

            Thank you for this. It has flour so it’s not in my lane but you have me thinking.

            Comment


            • Mr. Bones
              Mr. Bones commented
              Editing a comment
              Agreed, FABULOUS!!!
              I'm in th same lane as HouseHomey, but stuck behind his Chevette lol!

            #9
            I'm going to have to try this. I accidentally made a similar bread with sourdough levain back in March. I was going to make King Arthur's white sandwich bread but I was going to use an overnight poolish of regular bread yeast along with some sourdough. Simultaneously I had a sourdough levain started for some artisan bread. I grabbed the wrong bowl and used only the sourdough but the results were amazing: moist tender white bread with a good sourdough flavor. I hope I can reproduce it.

            Comment


            • IowaGirl
              IowaGirl commented
              Editing a comment
              I'm not familiar with what you mean by levain and poolish, but I think I get the general drift of what you did. Sounds like a very happy and delicious accident!

            #10
            Ooooh IG, gotta give this a try! I am an "Either/Or" feller. I love me some big holed sour dough, but at times I love me some good homemade country bread!

            I am going to give yours a try for sure!

            Comment


              #11
              Ok, I tip the scales at 210-220ish, I start baking bread like that the skies the limit on my weight, not to mention the butter I'll be piling on each slice clogging my arteries....
              But man what a way to go....
              IowaGirl Thank you for a great write up, but in the interest of self-preservation I gotta pass.

              Comment


              • HouseHomey
                HouseHomey commented
                Editing a comment
                Some salted grass fed butter by the 1/4 Cup. Oh boy, you and me.

              • smokin fool
                smokin fool commented
                Editing a comment
                HouseHomey I'm there
                ....then 2 heart stents and 2 Lipitor prescriptions to go

              • HouseHomey
                HouseHomey commented
                Editing a comment
                I am off ALL meds now. No BP, no triglycerides, no statin, no nothing except some supplements. Down 100lbs since spring 2018

              #12
              Many Thanks fer sharin th results of alla yer extensive research, an experimentation, IowaGirl !!!!

              It's likely that I'll actually give this one a roll, after a long hiatus from bakin, but unlikely that it will happen until it cools TH down, hereabouts...

              Comment


              • HouseHomey
                HouseHomey commented
                Editing a comment
                You first.

              • IowaGirl
                IowaGirl commented
                Editing a comment
                It's been hot here too, although my part of Iowa is usually cooler than where you live in Kansas. Even so we only have one bitty window AC for a largeish space, so the oven is verboten. I've been baking this bread on my Weber gasser to keep the house cooler.

              #13
              Oh wow! Look at that! And you do make bread! I’ll be expecting some photos of a green chile cheese bread when you get that order of fresh chile in soon!

              and like the others - if I made bread as much as I like to eat it.....I’d be gigantic! Bread and 1/4 cup butter like HouseHomey says....maybe some honey for desert bread....but also a hot sandwich...the list goes on...

              but, I may have to try this regardless!

              Comment


              • IowaGirl
                IowaGirl commented
                Editing a comment
                I kinda surprised myself about this return to bread making. I'll give some thought about that chile cheese bread. No promises, but it does sound like a tasty idea.

              • smokin fool
                smokin fool commented
                Editing a comment
                IowaGirl There's a bakery up here makes an incredible kalamata olive loaf.
                I mean if we're putting in orders?

              • IowaGirl
                IowaGirl commented
                Editing a comment
                smokin fool -- My dear hubby truly dislikes olives, so an olive bread is a non-starter here on the farm as long as he has any input on the household menu.

                I just got him trained to my liking and that was a ton o' work. I ain't about to break the domestic peace for the sake of olives.

              #14
              Thank you for the awesome write-up. I plan on trying it this weekend, but I have a question. When you stated to do 3 folds during the rise, what is the time frame that you use? Did you try to have folds done in first 6-8 hours or spaced evenly over the rise time?

              Comment


              • IowaGirl
                IowaGirl commented
                Editing a comment
                Honestly, I do it when I think about it. I maybe I do one set of folds every 3-4 hours for the first 12-16 hours.

                If I refrigerate the dough after that to ferment longer, I might fold the dough maybe 1-2 times a day -- whenever I open the fridge and go, "Oh, geeze that dough is still in there, it's puffy, let's give it a quick fold. Gotta get that baked tomorrow!"

                There's no real magic to the 3 sets, IMO. I probably wouldn't do less than 3, but more would be fine.

              #15
              IowaGirl I am making this for the second time in two weeks. Really good (and really easy) with a nice sourdough character. I posted above about an accidental sourdough sandwich bread I made, I made this a similar way (double batch): 7am 400g AP flour and 400g warm milk plus 1 T active sourdough culture. Set in warm place (my 1950 gas stove - pilot light keeps it warm but not hot) until I get home from work for lunch at noon, set on counter until I get home from work at 5:30pm. Add 650g AP flour, 450 g warm milk, 2t yeast, 16g salt 4T oil (I used avocado oil) and 3-4T sugar or honey. Mix all, turn every hour. It rises fast - I'm in a warm climate - once the yeast is added. It is ready to divide into the bread pans in about 3 hours or less. Let rise and bake per your instructions (I spritz the loaves with water as they go into the oven and I spritz the oven floor too). I've been playing around with sandwich loaves for several years - this is my go to sandwich loaf now. Thanks for the recipe and detailed instructions!

              Click image for larger version  Name:	bread1.jpg Views:	16 Size:	3.55 MB ID:	945350

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              Cooling on a wire rack, top and bottom views.

              Click image for larger version  Name:	bread3.jpg Views:	16 Size:	4.98 MB ID:	945352
              Last edited by 58limited; November 26, 2020, 07:57 AM.

              Comment


              • IowaGirl
                IowaGirl commented
                Editing a comment
                Looks really yummy, 58limited -- I'd eat that! Thanks for sharing how you incubate the sourdough starter and use that rather than store-bought yeast.

                Red Star now sells a yeast product that includes their yeast plus dried flakes of sourdough "stuff" in it. (Not sure what the "stuff" is.) I used 1/2 packet of this to make my first 2-loaf batch (was making only 1 loaf batches before). It gave the bread a chewier, more holey texture. I know it's not "real" s'dough, but it was fun to try.

              • 58limited
                58limited commented
                Editing a comment
                IowaGirl I still used store bought yeast, I just added it later. Once the yeast was added the dough took off and I was shaping and baking in a couple or three hours. This bread comes out with a fine tender crumb and a crispy yet soft crust. The sourdough part of the process is slow and you don't see much activity in the dough until almost time to add the rest of the flour and other ingredients but it gives a good flavor.
                Last edited by 58limited; November 26, 2020, 08:00 AM.

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