Jane’s Sweets & Baking Journal -- janessweets.blogspot.com -- February 2013

(This bread formula was adapted from this recipe on the King Arthur Flour website:

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/clays-multi-grain-sourdough-sandwich-bread-recipe)

Three-Seed Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Yield: Makes two standard-size loaves.

1 and 1/2 cup liquid sourdough starter, fed or unfed (I used fed; this recipe uses the starter more as a flavoring than as a leavener, so it's okay if you use unfed. This type of starter is the consistency of thick, stretchy, sticky pancake batter; it is not a solid starter.)

1 and 1/3 (up to 1 and 1/2 cups) lukewarm water

2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil (I used olive oil, which definitely adds a distinct flavor.)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 and 1/2 teaspoons salt (I used coarse kosher salt.)

3 cups (or slightly less) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup plain potato flakes or 1/2 cup potato flour (I used unflavored potato flakes, the dehydrated stuff you can buy to make mashed potatoes.)

1 cup white whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat.)

2/3 cup (total) combined mixture of sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and flax meal

4 teaspoons of instant yeast

In the large bowl of your mixer (or, if you prefer, do this by hand), combine all of the dry ingredients and gently mix them together using the paddle attachment on the lowest speed. Add in the sourdough starter, water, and oil. Mix for a couple of minutes until a nice sticky dough has started to form. At this point, if you want to stick with the mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on low speed for about four more minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic; if you want to knead the dough by hand, dust a clean work surface with a small handful of all-purpose flour, and knead the dough until it's smooth and elastic (this took me about seven minutes by hand).  

Put the dough into a bowl that's been greased, oiled, or sprayed with vegetable spray (I did the latter). Cover the bowl with a piece of greased, oiled, etc. plastic wrap, and then cover that with a lightweight dish towel. Let the dough rise in a draft-free spot for up to about two hours, until it's doubled or almost doubled (mine was doubled at 90 minutes).

Lightly grease two standard-size loaf pans (I always use a pastry brush to coat bread pans with vegetable shortening). When the dough has risen sufficiently, dump it out onto a barely flour-dusted work surface (the less flour added at this point the better) and gently deflate the dough. With a bench knife or sharp chef's knife cut it into two equal pieces. Round each piece with your hands, pulling slightly downward on the tops to create surface tension. Let them rest, covered with the greased plastic wrap, for about 12 minutes.

Uncover the pieces and form them into loaves, being careful to tightly pinch closed all seams; place the pieces, seam-side down, into their pans. Lightly cover the pans with the greased plastic wrap, and cover that with the dishtowel. Place the pans in a draft-free spot that is a little warmer than room temperature.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Let the loaves proof (have their final rise) until the dough rises at least 1" over the top of the pan. Carefully uncover the risen loaves. Mist them with water (use a squirt bottle; if you don't have one, wet your hands  and very gently pat the tops of the loaves) right before you put them in the oven. Place them in the preheated oven on the middle rack, and quickly squirt your mister into the oven to create a quick burst of steam (be careful not to aim for the lightbulb).

Bake for about 20 minutes and then check it to see if it's browning too quickly; if so, lightly cover it with foil. It should be done in about 30-35 minutes, when the crust is dark golden, and the internal temperature is at least 190 degrees inside. You can check by poking an instant-read thermometer into the bottom of each loaf. (I very often do this to be on the safe side. You'll know it's under-baked bread if the inside is kind of gummy/heavy even  after it's cooled.) Take the finished loaves out of their pans and set them on a rack. Melt one or two tablespoons of unsalted butter and use a pastry brush to lightly coat the tops of the loaves while they're still warm. Let them finish cooling before slicing.