This bread has a delightful flavor that has little sourness. The overnight, mild levain with all white flour helped to this end as did the direct bake (no overnight cold-proof). The sourness that does slyly peek through comes at you at the very end of each bite, a gentle, but welcome, pop of flavor.
What I love about this bread—besides the tender interior, flavors created through natural fermentation, and flavorful wheaty abundance, of course—is the shatteringly thin crust that forms when a slice is toasted (see above). We have the Pullman pan to thank here, and while a mouth-melting slice of bread is delightful, the added crunch in each slice is downright satisfying. And I think this might be the secret success of this bread: it’s soft, without excessive oil, eggs, or butter, for kiddos to love it, but still shores up enough strength to carry any ingredient you throw at it.
- 74g whole wheat flour (pre-cooked roux)
- 296g whole milk (pre-cooked roux)
- 693g medium-protein bread flour or all-purpose flour
- 157g whole wheat flour
- 65g extra virgin olive oil
- 37g honey
- 453g water
- 17g salt
- 10g ripe sourdough starter
- Prepare levain (Day one, the night before mixing, 9:00 p.m.)
In a small container, mix together the following and keep at 78°F (26°C) for 12 hours.
101g medium protein bread flour
10g ripe sourdough starter
- Pre-cook Flour/Tangzhong (Day two, 8:00 a.m.)
Add the following to a medium saucepan.
75g whole wheat flour
296g whole milk
Turn the heat to medium-low and cook, whisking continuously, until the mixture thickens and becomes like a paste, about 5-8 minutes.
- Mix (9:00 a.m.)
To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add:
All pre-cooked flour (from step 2)
591g medium-protein bread flour
157g whole wheat flour
65g olive oil
213g ripe levain (from step 1)
Mix on low speed for approximately 2 minutes until the ingredients come together, and no dry bits remain. Increase the mixer speed to medium (2 on a KitchenAid) and mix for 8-10 minutes until the dough starts to clump up around the dough hook. It won’t completely remove from the bottom of the bowl, and it will still be shaggy.
Transfer your dough to a bulk fermentation container and cover.
- Bulk Fermentation (9:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.)
Give the dough 3 sets of stretch and folds at 30-minute intervals, where the first set starts 30 minutes after the start of bulk fermentation.
- Divide and Preshape (12:45 p.m.)
Scrape out the dough, divide it in half, and preshape each half into a loose round. Let rest for 30 minutes, uncovered.
- Shape (1:15 p.m.)
Lightly oil two 9x4x4-inch Pullman pans with olive oil or neutral oil. Shape each piece of dough into a tube shape and transfer it to the pan. Top with sesame seeds, rolled oats, etc.
- Proof (1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at room temperature)
Cover the pans with reusable plastic and seal shut. Let the dough proof for 2 hours at 72-74°F (22-23°C).
- Bake (3:30 p.m.)
Preheat your oven, with a rack at the bottom third run and a pan with lava rocks on the bottom, to 400°F (205°C).
Bake at 400°F (205°C) for 20 minutes with steam. After this time, vent the oven, remove the steaming pan(s), and close the oven door. Bake for an additional 30-35 minutes until the top is well-colored and the internal temp is around 205°F (96°C). Remove the pans and gently knock out the loaves onto a wire rack. Return the loaves to the oven to bake for an additional 5 minutes without their pans to add extra color to the bottom and sides.
Let the loaf cool for 2 hours on a wire rack before slicing.
This bread can also be proofed overnight to bake the next day. At the proof step (#7), instead of proofing on the counter, retard the dough to the fridge (covered). Any time the next day, remove the dough from the fridge and bake straight away.