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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Soft White Sandwich Bread with soy flour

I know, I know, of all the breads, why white bread, right? It doesn’t sound appealing, rather bland, nothing exciting! However, white bread is simply a staple and probably something most consumed. But it is something I don’t think  much about. It is only usual that one like to try different and fancy recipes, I suppose.

Somehow I ended up here baking basic white bread with two main motivations. One was that I wanted to experiment with soy flour in bread and it would be better to do it with simple basic recipe. The other was that I wanted to experiment making super soft sandwich bread by implementing intensive kneading as per txfarmer’s blog on The Fresh Loaf.

I based the recipe roughly on white bread recipe from Peter Rienhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentices cookbook.  I tweaked the recipe a little by including sourdough starter, reducing amount of yeast slightly and replace 5% of bread flour with soy flour.

I made this same recipe (straight from book, no tweak) over a year ago when I first got Bread Baker’s Apprentices, my first bread book. It was the first bread I ever made actually. I still can recall when I first got the book. I just began making bread. It was only natural I wanted to make common and straight forwards bread, no preferment, no poolish, please! So, I jumped to the white bread recipe first and foremost.

The recipe produced great sandwich bread. I remember the moment I had my first me-made bread. I thought to myself that it was the yummiest bread I ever had. Well, not that I was a great baker, it's just hardly anything can beat freshly baked breads, especially when you make them yourself. It was an absolute joy and great sense of satisfaction.

One year past, same recipe with tweaks of sourdough starter, soy flour and intensive kneading (to produce soft and tender crumb), this time, the bread tasted even better. So much better, in fact. Soy flour added mild sweet nutty flavour and creamier crumbs. Incorporating sourdough starter in the recipe also gave more flavour to the bread. The bread was so soft, flavoursome, sweet, creamy and has fantastic aroma (the aroma from the baking stayed in my house for whole day, I’m not joking). It was so yummy that I could just eat the bread on itself, without any butter or spread.

I followed TXFarmer’s instruction to intensively knead the dough until it was beyond windowpane test. The dough can be stretched until a very thin transparent membrane was seen without tearing. When the thin membrane was pierced or poked to get a hole, the edges around the hole should be smooth, not sharp.

This kneading method worked like a charm. It delivered the softest bread I ever produced. It reminded me of the breads I had when I was a kid from our local bakery in Bangkok. It was the soft buttery sweet bread that our family loved. We would buy a loaf and eat them as they were without anything and they would be gone in hours. Having this bread brought back those memories.

This basic white bread was one of the yummiest bread I ever made. You can never underestimate the simplicity.  It was also nice to revisit the first bread I made.

Can you recall the first bread you made?

Great with pea and ham soup too!

This recipe makes 2 large loaves using 23 x 13 bread tins.

I used soy flour and sourdough starter, which is optional. If not using these two items, you can add more bread flours and milk to compensate.

To produce soft bread, intensive kneading is required. The dough will be very strong that it can be stretched until you can see a very thin transparent membrane. It won’t tear easily when poked. When the thin membrane is pierce, the hole will have a round smooth edge, not sharp.

The dough was a little sticky and I had to add about 3 tablespoons of flour to achieve soft and tacky consistency.

The recipe can also be made into bread rolls and hot dog rolls.

make 2 large loaves


Overall Formula
Baker’s Percentage
Bread flour
667 g
Soy flour
35 g
56 g
8 g
100 g
75 g
352 g
90 g
12 g
1.7 %
1.40 kg

Final dough ingredients
Bread flour 577  g
Soy flour 35 g
Salt 2 teaspoons (12 g)
Sugar 56 g
Instant yeast 2 1/2 teaspoons (8 g)
Eggs 2 , slightly beaten, at room temperature
Butter 75 g , at room temperature
Full cream milk 352 g (slightly lukewarm)
Sourdough starter 180 g (100% hydration, active, fed twice or more before mixing)
Egg wash (optional)

Soy flour and sourdough starter are optional. If not using, replace soy flour and 90 g flour in starter with bread flour (add 125 g more bread flour). And replace 90 g water from starter with milk (add 90 g to the amount of milk).


Mixing: Stir all ingredients together until incorporated and a dough ball is formed. Mix on medium speed for about 10 - 15 minutes, or until the strong gluten development is achieved. You should be able to stretch a little piece of dough until you can see a thin transparent membrane without tearing. When you pierce the thin membrane, the edge around the hole should be smooth, not sharp.

Bulk fermentation: - Leave the dough in a lightly oiled container and cover the bowl with plastic bag or wrap for 1.5 – 2 hours until doubled in size.

Divide the doughs into six equal portions. Pre-shape the doughs into rounds  and let them rest for 20 minutes under a tea towel.

Shaping: Roll each dough pieces into oval, then roll it up into rolls. Let them rest for about 10 minutes. Again, roll each roll into oval sheet in the different directions (you will now roll along the seam). Roll the sheet tightly into small log, this is to create tight crumbs.

Put three logs in each tin well spaced from each other. The logs will touch when proofed.

Proofing: Cover the pans with plastic bag or tea towel. Proof at room temperature for 60 – 90 minutes until they are almost doubled in size.

Baking: Brush the top of the loaves with egg wash before baking. Bake at 175C for 35 – 45 minutes. Turn the loaves half way through the bake for even baking. The loaves are baked when they are well brown.

Submitting this post to YeastSpotting.

More details on shaping can be found on txfarmer's blog, here.


  1. I like the comfort white bread gives..I'm sooo wasted right now though, I'm sore all over, it was a good day nevertheless..what I'm saying is I cannot get myself even stand up, I can't really bake right now haha
    They're looking really pretty Sue :)

  2. Thanks Ceren.

    When there's gain (fun), there's pain, heh?


  3. hi Sue,
    haha right..oh, my blog is still couldn't get over being stupid :P I can't really reply back there, so here goes;
    ''Haha the name, butter chicken was a little bit scary though, but it was good nevertheless and it apperently was not just chicken pieces swimming in a butter mixture, haha to have thought that, silly me!
    Oh and thank you for your compliment <3

  4. Now I realize soy flour counts as part of bread flour in the baker's percentage.

  5. I prefer to include it as flour as it somehow absorb water. It gives me better picture of the recipe.