Basic Soft Sourdough Bread

by - May 06, 2019

Basic Soft Sourdough Bread

Basic Soft Sourdough Bread
Basic Soft Sourdough Bread

Since I have quite a bit of excess sourdough starter discard, I used it to make this basic soft sourdough bread.  This recipe is adapted from Jeannie Tay with some modifications.  Thank you, Jeannie for the recipe.  

The aroma of this is very different from bread made with instant yeast.  It is a nice fragrant bread with the very slightest taste of sourness that subtly enhances its flavour.  I understand now why some bakers say that you will not want to use instant yeast if possible, after trying natural levain.  The texture is very soft. However, the bread will become slightly dry by the third day.

I have several Soft Sourdough Bread Recipes that you may like to try too.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.

Recipe - Soft Basic Sourdough Bread 

Yields:  1 loaf

INGREDIENTS:

Levain (260g):
90g sourdough starter (100% Hydration)
90g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
90g water

Main Dough:
270g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
80g whole wheat flour
260g levain (from the above)
30g brown sugar or honey (I used brown sugar)
1 tsp salt
30g butter, room temperature
130g full cream milk
60g lukewarm water  (reserve 20g of water, add in if the dough is too dry)

Utensil:
Loaf Pan (20 cm X 10 cm X 10 cm)

METHOD:
  1. Levain:
    1. Mix all ingredients in a jar and cover.
    2. Let it ferment at room temperature (approximately 30C) until tripled.  It took about 3-5 hours depend how strong is your starter.  It yields 270g of levain.  But you will need only 260g. 
  2. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter), including the 260g sourdough starter (levain) into a bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix for 2 minutes or until all incorporated.  Change to hook attachment and knead for another 3 minutes or until the dough comes together. Add in butter and continue knead for 10 - 12 minutes or until reach window pane stage.  During the whole kneading process, I stopped few times to scrape down the dough from the hook to be sure it is evenly kneaded and also to prevent the motor from overheating.
  3. First Proofing/Resting The Dough:  
    1. In the same bowl, let the dough rest for 60 minutes. Keep it covered with clingfilm or use a lid.  The dough did not rise a lot in 60 minutes.
  4. Shaping: 
    1. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide into 2 equal portions. Form each portion to a ball.  Flatten with rolling pin into a dish.  Fold right to centre and fold left overlap it.  Roll out with rolling pin into long rectangle shape. Roll up the dough like Swiss Roll until a small log is formed. 
    2. Place all dough in the prepared loaf pan.  
  5. Final Proofing:
    1. Let it proof at warm and dark place until the dough reaches the height of the pan.  It took around 4 hours or more at room temperature of 28C - 30C.  It may take longer to proof depending on your ambient temperature and your starter.
  6. Baking:
    1. Preheat oven at 190C (top & bottom heat) or 170C (fan-forced) for 15 minutes.
    2. Bake at preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
    3. Remove bread from oven and let them cool on rack completely before slicing.

GENERAL NOTES:

SOURDOUGH STARTER
A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  

There are so many ways and methods of how to maintain the starter.  Below is my method of starter maintenance.  This is just for your reference. Please try and find a way or schedule that works best for you.

I bake almost everyday.  So, my starter is left at room temperature and I feed it twice a day every 12 hours at its peak when it is tripled.

Example
10.00 am - at ratio 1:10:10 at room temperature 26C - 27C
10.00 pm - at ratio 1:10:10 at room temperature 25C - 26C 

I feed a very small amount of 1g starter + 10g water + 10g flour if I am not baking, so that I will not end up with too much discard.  When I am baking, I will feed the starter accordingly to make up the quantity required by the recipe to be baked. If I know that I won't be baking for a few days, I will then feed it only once a day at 1:10:10, transfer to the fridge when it is doubled, and feed again 24 hours later.

If you do not bake daily or if you bake perhaps once or twice a week, then you may place your starter in the fridge and feed once a week.  But, you will need to refresh your starter 2 days before the baking day. There is no way around this, sourdough baking takes planning! 

How I judge my starter is healthy?  My starter usually tripled in size (or at least double) in within 3 - 4 hours at room temperature (27C - 28C) for feeding ratio of (1:1:1 = starter:water:flour)

When is a starter at its peak?  My sourdough starter is usually at its peak when it is tripled in the jar. The surface of my starter looks bubbling and uneven.  It usually stays at its peak within 30 - 60 minutes before it starts to reduce/fall.  

Why use starter at its peak?  This is when the starter is most active and it will result in a better rise for your bread in general.  By the way, you can use when it is doubled/before its peak too.  But, not it starts to fall.

GLUTEN DEVELOPMENT & WINDOWPANE TEST
Gluten forms when flour comes in contact with water.  Hydration of the flour causes the sticky and stretchy protein to form, giving structure to the bread.  This makes your bread trap air and rise. 

Gluten in dough can be developed by autolyse, resting, kneading or folding.

The windowpane test is used to determine whether the dough has been sufficiently kneaded.  By gently pulling the dough (or you may pinch off some dough) and trying to stretch it into a thin membrane.  If you are able to stretch the dough paper thin and translucent  without tearing, then the gluten is fully developed.  However, if you can stretch it without tearing but the membrane is not transparent, then the gluten is not yet fully developed.  

However, from my experience not all the recipe can achieve a thin and translucent window pane stage easily.   For example low hydration and low fat dough.  For such recipes, a reasonable window pane is good enough and it can be left to rest. Gluten will continue to develop while resting.  Exercising restraint to not over-knead the dough prevents the gluten from being overworked and broken.   Some of you may have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  It is because the dough is over kneaded. 

The total kneading time for me is usually 15 minutes at low speeds except brioche dough with high fat percentage or dough using liquid fat which usually takes a little longer (maybe 18-20 mins).

From my experience, I found that high hydration dough with high percentage of fat will be easy to stretch and achieve a paper thin windowpane stage.

KNEADING TIME
For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.

FLOUR
The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.   To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  The protein content is around  12 - 13%.

HYDRATION
The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 

PROOFING
Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate, environment, flour and your starter. 

If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:

Proofing:
  1. Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
  2. If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
  3. If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
  4. There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 
WRINKLE TOP OR SHRINKING
If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof until the tip of the dough just reaches the rim of the pan, around 80% - 90% in size.

BAKING TEMPERATURE AND TIME
Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.

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85 comments

  1. Hi, can I use fresh milk instead of full cream milk?

    ReplyDelete
  2. 请问做软基本面包的盒子要放防沾纸吗,我盒子是没防沾的,烤这面包要加风扇,还是只用上下火18O,谢谢

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there,

      Thank you for asking. Sorry, my Mandarin not so good. I don't understand what you are asking on the first part. Anyhow, I baked at 180C bottom and top heat. If you would like to use fan-forced, please reduce to 160C. However, it is just a guideline as difference oven behalf differently.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  3. Hi, I don't have sourdough starter, can that be made from scratch? T. I. A.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Hi June,

      Thank you for asking. I followed this Youtube below to make from scratch.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6pGkOuZnrk&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR1FsfjjSmPQc5UOHPXabYdEq1YhLdMRcYYjm9tukY4AFiuYXo-DfBB9ubE

      Cheers:)

      Delete
    3. Thanks! By the way, if f I want sourdough rye bread, can I substitute bread flours with rye flours? T. I. A

      Delete
    4. Hi June,

      If I am not wrong, you should not replace all bread flour with rye flour. It is because rye flour doesn't have gluten and may not yield the texture like bread. If I were you, I will use only 20% rye flour of the total flour.

      I hope it helps.

      Cheers:)

      Delete
  4. Great recipe ... easy to put together and tasty result. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment. Glad that you like it.
      Cheers :)

      Delete
  5. What is the temperature of fresh milk?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thank you for asking. I used cold milk from the fridge. Room temperature is fine too.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  6. Namaste,
    Your Sourdough recipes are amazing. However i would be very grateful if you could let me know whether i can use non dairy milk, oil instead of butter and egg substitute ike flax meal to make it vegan? Thank you so much

    Regards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there, Thank you for your comment and questions. Yes, of course you can substitute with vegetable oil for butter, water, soymilk or any non dairy milk for full cream milk. This recipe does not require egg.

      Cheers and happy baking...

      Delete
  7. Hi.. I tried this recipe.. I have posted the pics in Instagram and I have tagged you there!! Amazingly soft loaf and very tasty.. Thank you so much for the recipe..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thank you for trying this recipe and your feedback. I am so glad that you like it. It is my pleasure to share.. Happy baking :)

      Delete
  8. Hi YL, I really like the sourdough soft bread but do you have a version that uses tangzhong method? Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rachel,

      Thank you for asking. Please try sourdough with yudane method. Yudane is quite similar to tangzhong method. The bread stay fresh and soft for several days.

      https://www.bakewithpaws.com/2019/05/soft-sourdough-bread-with-yudane-method.html

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  9. Loaf pan size20*10*10 in cm is 8*4 size pan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry for late response. Yes.. 8 X 4 X 4 inch pan.

      Delete
  10. Hi! Thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes. May I know, for whole wheat flour in this recipe, can I just use bread flour only? Will it make any difference? Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there,
      Thank you for asking. Yes, you can replace with using all bread flour. This will yield white sandwich bread instead.

      Cheers and happy baking :)

      Delete
  11. Trying this recipe now. I get 870gm of dough after 2 hrs proof. Is this quit big for a 8x4x4 laid pan?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there,

      Sorry for late response. This is the size pan I used for this recipe. I like tall bread. You can use bigger pan if you don't like your bread to be as tall as the picture shown on the above post.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  12. Hi! I have a question. If there is unused levain, can it be used for tomorrow? Is there any special way to store it? Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there,

      Sorry for late response. You can keep the unused levain (sourdough starter) in the fridge. But, you need to feed again before using.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  13. Tried it just now. Very happy with the result. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there,

      Thank you for trying this recipe and your feedback.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  14. Hi I used your recipe today with my sourdough starter and it turned out to very good. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there,

      Thank you for trying this recipe and your feedback. Happy to know that you like it.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  15. Made this with a very young starter so it took about 12 hours for the levain to triple in size. Stuck the levain in the fridge because it was too late to start on the dough and it fell about half. In the morning I used 132 g of the levain to make half of the recipe. The sourdough turned out amazing!! Super soft and fluffy on the inside with a tiny hint of tang. Can't wait to try out your other sourdough recipes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lisa, Thank you for trying this recipe and your feedback. Glad that you like the bread..

      Happy baking :)

      Delete
  16. Hi Yeanley,

    may i know what does it meant by 100% Hydration (for the sourdough starter)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Melinda,

      It means 1 part of flour and 1 part of water. Ratio of flour and water is 1:1.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  17. Hi , i tried your recipe but facing some challenges. after kneading for 15 minutes - the dough still is sticky and i didnt get the window pane results. I added flour and it was ok to handle to proof till 1 hour. You think because of that i didnt get the a soft fluffy bread?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Thank you for trying this recipe. Sorry to hear that your 1st attempt was not successful. Sometimes, it could the flour. Did your dough rise nicely at second proofing?

      The liquid measurement given is also a guide. It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go. This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency. This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  18. Hello, I just happened to found your blog and recipes.
    Can you guide me how to make sourdough starter.
    TQ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thank you for visiting my blog. I followed this Youtube. It is very detailed.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6pGkOuZnrk

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  19. Hi! I love all your recipes and can’t wait to try your sourdough recipes. Very new to it.
    May I know if I can bake this bread without salt and sugar? Hoping to bake some for my baby too.

    I know baking without salt and sugar would result in dryer bread when using yeast, but not sure about it with starter. Thankyou in advance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      Thank you for asking. To be honest I never tried without salt and sugar. I think is ok. But, I can imagine the bread will be tasteless if you don't mind.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  20. Hello! Feeling hungry and inspired by your soft sourdough recipes! Wondering if these would be possible using a bread machine on dough setting? I do not have a stand mixer so usually make no knead sourdough recipes...but would really love to try some soft bread! Tried something similar once and it was very hard work kneading by hand, so have shied away from a repeat attempt. Any tips or advice for someone who does not have a stand mixer? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thank you for visiting my blog. Yes, you can use bread machine to knead. It works quite the same as stand mixer. Remember not to add all water at one time. Reserve some as per my recipe above.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
    2. Great thank you!!! Will try this out tonight!

      Delete
    3. Good luck and happy baking :)

      Delete
    4. Thank you! Tried this tonight with my bread machine dough setting and it worked well! Just wondering...with soft bread like this, do you have to leave it a couple of hours to cool before you can cut into it, like you do with regular sourdough? Sitting here staring at my lovely warm loaf and desperate to rip into it haha

      Delete
    5. Hi Ginny,

      Good to hear that this recipe worked for you. Just slice and enjoy once it is cooled. No need to wait for couple of hours. If it is slightly warm is fine.

      Cheers and enjoy your bread....

      Delete
  21. Hi Yeanley
    Your loaf is quite big for just two of us . Wonder if it’s ok to just half all the ingredients including the starter? Will it affect the texture of the baked bread?
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Shou,

      Thank you for asking. Yes, sure it is fine. I don't think it will affect the texture.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  22. Hi, if I do not have Whole Wheat Flour, can I replace with Bread Flour ?
    Lastly can I replace butter with the Vegetables oil ? Thanks a lot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Thanks for asking.. Yes, you can replace with bread flour and vegetable oil.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  23. Hi, do we bake with fan forced or without fan force ?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi, thanks for reading this recipe.

    I just made an amendment on the temperature.
    Please bake at 190C (top & bottom heat) or 170C (fan-forced).

    This is my oven temperature. Please adjust accordingly to your oven.

    Cheers :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi, place at the lowest shelf of the oven ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for reading this blog. Place at lowest 2nd shelf from the bottom.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  26. Hello! Baking this beautiful loaf again after several successful bakes! My family LOVES this bread. Wondering...after shaping, can the dough be moved to the fridge overnight for baking the next day? My plans have changed and we now won’t be eating this until tomorrow! Hoping I can stash it in the fridge and bake tomorrow so it is fresh when we are ready to eat it? Should I leave it to rise a bit first before putting it in the fridge, or give it some time at room temp tomorrow to finish rising? Appreciate your advice! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for trying this recipe and your feedback. You can let it rise first and retard in the fridge overnight. But, the bread will collapse sometimes the next day. This method will create more sour bread.
      Another way is prepare the bread dough in the evening and let it rise in the aircond room overnight. You can can retard in the fridge before rising. But, sometimes it may not rise by the next morning. All these very much depend on your starter.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  27. Hi, could I check if this recipe is different from the one on youtube(shokupan?) where we have to put boiling water to the flour the night before?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jamie,

      This recipe is different from the Youtube. The one I share in Youtube is using Yudane Method. I have shared the written recipe link in the youtube or you can click here:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cTzNvWB5UM&t=19s

      Cheers :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks! but if I would like to use this method instead of Yudane its fine as well right? abit similar just that this dont use eggs?

      Delete
    3. My pleasure.. Just it is fine to convert to Yudane method. You can also use the Shokupan Recipe on the youtube, just replace egg with water or milk at same amount.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
    4. Hi, I just made this bread and its really soft! however I can taste the sourness! Is there anyway to make it less sour?

      Thanks!

      Delete
    5. Hi Jamie,

      Thanks for trying this recipe. Please omit wholewheat flour and use 350g High Gluten Flour instead. Bread made with 100% white flour is less sour. Another option is use sweet levain (adapted from Autumn Kitchen). Add sugar when building the levain.

      Sweet levain:
      90g sourdough starter (100% Hydration)
      90g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
      90g water
      45g sugar

      I hope it helps.

      Delete
    6. Hi, I made sweet levain and the bread tasted really good!!!! thank you so much for this! love the bread :)
      Just wanted to check could I also use this recipe and make buns instead of loaf bread? it should work too?

      Delete
    7. Hi Jamie,

      Good to know that you like it.
      Yes, you can make buns too. But, please cut down the baking time as buns easily get dry if over bake. Maybe 12-20 mins. Please monitor.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  28. Hi, If my levain falls by the time I can start to work on the dough, I shouldnt' go ahead to do up the dough right? Could I store the levain in the fridge and start to do it another day not the next day? is that possible? do I have to feed the levain again?(10g bread flour + 10g water?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Thanks for reading this recipe. It is better if you use at peak when the starter is strong. However, if you miss it. It is fine to go ahead too. Maybe you will take slightly longer to proof if you use after peak.

      Cheers and happy baking :)

      Delete
  29. Hi! Can I use AP flour instead of bread flour with this recipe?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for reading this recipe. Your bread will not rise very tall like this if you use AP flour.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  30. Hello Bake with paws

    "Since I have quite a bit of excess sourdough starter discard, I used it to make this basic soft sourdough bread."

    Just a point of clarification, did you use your discard in this recipe?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for reading this recipe. In this recipe I used newly fed starter (levain) as mentioned on the above. However, you can try with discard if you like. It should be able to work too. But, maybe take longer time to proof.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  31. I have tried this recipe a few times and I love it. I followed a few of your recipes. Just wondering when you mentioned preparing the starter before going to sleep and using next morning, how many hours will that be?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for trying this recipe and your kind feedback.

      I used to take 8 - 9 hours for the ratio of 1:3:3. Lately, my starter got tripled in 9 hours when I fed 1:6:6. My starter is quite strong and healthy as I have been feeding daily. So, I would say it is much depend on your starter.

      Please experiment your starter so that you can plan your schedule.
      Cheers:)

      Delete
  32. Hi! Thanks for good recipe. I will try but just would like to know is this bread a bit sour as usual from sourdough starter or should not besour?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for reading. It tastes slightly mild tangy sometimes. It depends on your starter too.

      You can also try the Sourdough Shokupan (Sweet Stiff Starter) and maybe this one less tangy.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  33. Hi, so can I replace the levain with my discarded starter?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, yes you can. But, please make sure your discard starter is young discard that still active.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
    2. Hi, thanks for the advice. I did use newly fed starter but I couldn't reach the windowpane as required. I paused in between kneading as I afraid my machine got overheated (kenwood) and placed my dough in the fridge during the break of 3-4 mins before I continued to knead my dough. Yet I failed to achieve the windowpane. Can you advise what should I do as I took almost 1hr+ to knead the dough (a few break in between kneading)? Thanks.

      Delete
    3. Hi, thanks for trying and your feedback. In this case, you do not need to knead until you reach the very thin membrane. A reasonable window pane stage will do. However, during the bulk fermentation the gluten will be develop too.

      Sometime different flour also affect the development of gluten and achieving window pane stage.

      I hope this help.

      Cheers:)

      Delete
  34. Hi, appreciate and thanks a lot for your kind advice.I'm using Jap flour (PS). Hence, I did knead with hand for a while before placing it for bulk fermentation for approx 1.5hr. Although I did not manage to achieve the window pane, the loaf turned out to be pretty fluffy & soft. Thanks for the recipe. 🙏😊💞

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's good to hear this. You are most welcome :)

      Delete

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