I’ve been making some variation on this loaf for a couple of months now. Don’t get me wrong, I love the process of making the boules: the artistic touch with the lame before it goes into the oven, taking the lid off and seeing how much it has sprung, cutting it (after patiently waiting for it to cool) to look at the cross section. I love bringing them to friends and family and hearing their enjoyment of just tearing pieces off of a loaf, unable to resist a nibble each time they walk past. I love the crisp crust and the creamy interior, a perfect vessel for dips and spreads or simply some good olive oil. But really, sometimes you need a more practical shaped loaf. I’ve dripped a lot of peanut butter through the little air pockets!
I started developing a loaf pan bread mostly because I was thinking ahead to school, and imagined I would be packing a lot of sandwiches. Since Luke bought me a stainless steel lunch container for my birthday last year, and I recently bought myself an insulated lunch bag, more often than not I just pack dinner leftovers. Turns out I’ve drawn a bit of attention to myself in class when lunch time rolls around, as every day my desk mate asks what I’ve brought for lunch and then stares at his sandwich with a bit less enthusiasm.
I find that I can get this bread started and finished on the same day if I wake up early enough to get the levain going, but if you go that route you’ll need to increase the percentage of starter in the levain so that it’s ready in about 4-5 hours. I love the flavours that develop from a cold overnight proof, but I do appreciate this method of mixing and baking in the same day because it means I get bread (relatively) quickly. I also do it this way because I bake my pan loaves in a cast iron loaf pan, and I’m not sure what the effects would be of a) leaving it in the fridge overnight, and b) moving it from the fridge to a very hot oven the next day.. If you have experience in cold proofing then baking using cast iron/glass loaf pans, give me some tips!
I like this particular bread because it has a good percentage of whole grain flours without tasting too strong to overpower your sandwich. If you aren’t into seeded bread, you can swap them for an equal weight of rolled oats, keeping the water the same. The addition of the soaker adds moisture, texture and flavour without tasting too oatmeal-y, and also contributes to a denser crumb, which is crucial for a sandwich bread in my opinion. I also took the opportunity to finally make a stencil, which is how I got that floury pattern on top. I’m always blown away by the beautiful ones created in Tara’s workshops, so I thought I should get my act together and make one already 🙂
sourdough multigrain sandwich bread (vegan)
makes one standard loaf
10 g starter
30 g water
30 g whole spelt flour
60 g rolled oats
40 g sunflower seeds
175 g boiling water
all of levain
all of soaker
164 g whole spelt flour
36 g whole rye flour
114 g all purpose flour
186 g bread flour
276 g water (about 76-80F)
9 g salt
spray bottle with water
The night before, start the levain: mix together the starter, water, and whole spelt flour in a small bowl or container. With this percentage of inoculation, it should be ready in 8-10 hours (longer if your kitchen is cool). At the same time, prepare the soaker: pour the boiling water over the oats and seeds, cover then set aside.
The next morning (10-12 hours later): when your levain is getting close to being ripe, you can start the dough. Add the flours to a large bowl and stir, then add the water. Mix with your hands and try to get all of the flour-y bits. At this point the dough might seem a bit dry, but there is additional water in the levain and soaker. Let the flour autolyse for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, add the levain and soaker, and squish them through with your fingers to incorporate them, then let the dough rest another 30 minutes. Add the salt, and squish it through to incorporate it really well. At this point the dough will seem quite sticky. I suggest doing slap and folds into the bowl (less messy), or give it turns for 3-4 minutes until it has a bit of strength. Cover and bulk proof for 3 1/2 – 4 hours, doing 2-3 turns at 30 minutes intervals (the first picture above is what the dough looks like after mixing).
After the dough has finished bulk fermentation (the second picture), turn it out onto a counter, pre-shape, then cover and let it rest for 20 minutes. Give it a final shape, then place into a lightly oiled loaf pan. Cover and let proof for about 1 hour and 45 minutes (depending on the temperature in your kitchen, it could be longer or shorter). About 30 minutes before the bread is done proofing, preheat the oven to 400F fan (425 regular). When the bread is ready, place it into the oven and carefully spray the walls of the oven with the water (don’t spray the glass, it could crack). After 5 minutes spray again, then let it bake for another 20. Reduce the heat to 375F fan (400) and continue baking for 20 minutes.
If you forget to make the soaker the night before, you can just do it the next day when you autolyse the flour.