My sourdough pain de mie sandwich bread is pure white bread in all its glory–and it’s the toast lover’s best friend. Each slice is remarkably soft and light, with the thinnest possible crust, but when toasted, the slice crisps and frizzles in an absolutely ideal fashion.
- 75g white flour (all-purpose flour)
- 75g water
- 8g ripe sourdough starter, 100% hydration
- 760g white flour
- 184g whole milk
- 100g unsalted butter
- 326g water
- 58g honey
- 15g fine sea salt
- 158g ripe levain
- Levain – 9:00 p.m. (overnight)
Mix the levain ingredients in a jar and leave them covered at a warm temperature, 74-76°F (23-24°C), to ripen overnight.
- Mix – 9:00 a.m.
Cut the butter into ½-inch pats. Set aside. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the flour, water, milk, honey, salt, and ripe levain. Mix on low speed (STIR on a KitchenAid) for 2 to 3 minutes until the ingredients come together and no dry bits remain. Next, mix on medium speed (2 to 3 on a KitchenAid) for 4 to 5 minutes until the dough smooths and begins to cling slightly to the hook. Turn the mixer on low speed (STIR on a KitchenAid) and mix for 2 to 4 minutes until the dough gains more strength and begins to cling once again to the dough hook. Next, with the mixer running, add the room temperature butter, one pat at a time, waiting to add each pat until the previous one is fully absorbed. Adding all the butter will take 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the dough to a bulk fermentation container and cover.
- Bulk fermentation – 9:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. (4 hours)
At a warm room temperature, 74-76°F (23-24°C), bulk fermentation should take about 4 hours. Give the dough 3 sets of stretches and folds at 30-minute intervals where the first set is 30-minutes after bulk fermentation start.
- Divide and preshape – 1:15 p.m.
Scrape the dough out of the bulk fermentation container, divide it directly in half, and preshape each half into a taut round. Let rest for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Shape – 1:45 p.m.
Shape one round into a tight tube, and place in the pan seam side down. Repeat with the other piece of dough. Cover the pans with a large, reusable plastic bag and seal.
- Proof – 2:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
At warm room temperature, 74-76°F (23-24°C), this dough should take 2 hours and 45 minutes to fully proof. If your kitchen is cooler, expect it to take longer.
- Bake – 4:45 p.m.
Place an oven rack in the bottom-third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
Place the pan into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (175°C) and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes. The loaves should have internal temperatures of around 204°F (95°C). Remove the pans from the oven, uncover, and let the loaves rest in the pan for 10 minutes. Then, turn the loaves out onto a wire rack and let cool completely, 1 to 2 hours.
Use the Pullman pan lid for a thinner crust.