Monday, September 10, 2018

Super Soft Sandwich Bread with NO Overnight Starter Recipe ONE

If you are not following my Instagram @zoebakeforhappykids, you might wonder why is Zoe not updating her blog... *crickets chirp* LOL!

The last three weeks had been a fun and amazing journey for us as it is our first time visiting the beautiful Italy. We had visited many iconic landmarks like The Roman Colosseum, Fontana di Trevi, Duomo di Firenze, Duomo di Milano, St. Mark’s Basilica at Venice and ate many traditional Italian food such like pasta, PIZZA and GELATO!!! We love pizza and gelato so much that my son and I even attended a pizza and gelato making class in Florence and the class was awesome!

Apart from pizza and pasta, we have even tried many truffled food, a Florentine steak (also known as Bistecca alla Fiorentina or La Bistecca) and ate many ciabatta sandwiches that are filled with gourmet cheeses, prosciutto and ham. YUM!!!

Are we sad that we are now back at Melbourne? Yes and no. Sad because we really enjoyed our trip in Italy. No because Melbourne is lovely too with a nice blooming mild Spring weather. Plus, we also miss our home-cooked / Asian food. ke ke...

As we are slowly adjusting back to our routine, the first thing I had to bake is our Asian-style super soft sandwich breads. Yup... We are back to our habit of eating less crusty ciabatta sandwiches and more super soft breads.

For our love for super soft breads, I have been exploring, baking and sharing many super soft sandwich breads for YEARS!

Many readers who have tried these soft sandwich breads recipes that I have shared said that these breads are indeed very soft and good! And I'm happy to hear these encouraging feedback as it helps to motivate me to share more of my favourite recipes in the future...

Very Very Very Soft Basic Sandwich Bread Loaf
Extremely Soft Bamboo Charcoal Bread
Golden Sandwich Bread
Japanese Shokupan Condensed Milk Sandwich Bread - Recipe One
Japanese Shokupan Condensed Milk Sandwich Bread - Recipe Two
Japanese Shokupan Condensed Milk Sandwich Bread - Recipe Three
Milk and Egg Enriched Sandwich Bread - Spongy Soft, Recipe One
Milk and Egg Enriched Sandwich Bread - Fluffy Soft, Recipe Two
Spongy Soft Honey Sandwich Bread
The Fluffiest White Sandwich Bread in the World
Vegan Extremely Soft White Sandwich Bread

After listing the above soft sandwich bread recipes, I realised one thing... These soft sandwich breads are actually made with NO overnight starter culture and NO Tang Zhong (汤种)!!! What is Tang Zhong? For those who don't know, please read here.

Based on two different super awesome super soft sandwich breads recipes that I have baked with sourdough or overnight starter culture at here and here, I have always believe that the use of sourdough or overnight starter culture will enhance the overall texture and softness of all breads... Or maybe not! Recently, I started to wonder... Is the addition of the overnight starter culture really necessary to make bread super soft? Or is it just a mere baking belief?

Like most curious people who can't sit still, I have converted a proven super soft sandwich bread with overnight starter at here into a recipe with NO overnight starter. Guess what? These sandwich breads with NO overnight starter are super soft too!!!

super soft sandwich bread
Here you go...
This is the Super Soft Sandwich Bread with NO Overnight Starter.

What makes the overnight-starter-culture-believing me starts to wonder?

Originally, I was going to re-visit and bake this super soft sandwich bread recipe at here but due to my busy schedule and limited time to bake, I had an idea! Instead of baking with an overnight starter, I have baked these breads with NO overnight starter and they turned out to be equally soft like those that are made with overnight starter!!! I was so shocked and impressed!

Is this baking experience telling me that the use of overnight starter culture is not necessary to make bread super soft? Well, I must say it is plausible! Now, I begin to think that the use of sourdough or overnight starter culture will enhance the taste of the bread with a nice fully-fermented sweet sourish taste and fragrance but won't increase or improve its moisture content and softness. Well, can I say that the composite of the bread and the baking techniques are the two most important factors that make these breads so super soft and tender?

That's good to know!!! ... because making overnight starter culture can be such a hassle! It can take up massive amount of space in the fridge and needs extra effort to make the overnight culture and also at least two days to bake two loaves of breads.

Next, I wonder... Can this NO-overnight-starter theory apply to other super soft sandwich bread recipes like here?

Interested? Stay tune and get the latest updates if you follow me at either my Facebook at here or here or my Instagram @zoebakeforhappykids

super soft sandwich bread
This super soft sandwich breads are awesome! 
And less hassle to bake with NO overnight starter culture!
super soft sandwich bread
Wow!!! With NO overnight starter, this bread is still so super soft!!!
Love to bake these breads again and again!

Want to bake these super soft breads too? No worries! Here's a video showing how I baked these sandwich breads.

Here's the recipe that I have modified from here.

Make two perfect square 10 x 10 x 20 cm or 450g loaves
Note: You can use half of this amount to bake just one loaf.

400g water, at room temperature about 25°C / 75°F
45g honey
650g bread flour with about 12% protein
40g milk powder
8g salt
100g unsalted butter, soften at room temperature
2 tsp instant dry yeast

extra butter or vegetable oil spray to grease the loaf pans (plus the pullman lids if required)
extra bread flour for dusting and shaping

If you are using a breadmaker to knead and prove, add all ingredients into the breadmaker according to this order. Use "dough" setting to mix and knead dough for 30 mins or until the dough is elastic and allow the dough to prove for 60-90* mins.

If you are using an electric mixer with an hook attachment to knead, combine all ingredients except butter in the mixing bowl and mix at low speed until a soft dough forms. Then, knead in the butter until incorporated. Continue to knead at low speed for at least 25 mins or until the dough is elastic. It is important that the dough has to be elastic and stretchy. Cover the dough and allow the dough to prove in a warm and humid place for about 60-90* mins or until doubled in size.

*Despite that an adequate amount of yeast has added, this bread dough tends to rise slower than most typical bread dough and might need an extra 15 to 30 mins to rise effectively. 

Important note: Please do not knead dough by hand as it is very sticky at the first 15 mins of kneading but it will become smooth and stretchy after sufficient kneading.

To shape the dough into bread loaves:
Grease 10 x 20 cm loaf pans (plus their lids if required) with butter or vegetable oil spray.

Divide dough into into 6 equal portions. Shape all portions of dough into smooth balls. Allow them to rest at room temperature for about 10 mins.

Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll each portion into long and flat oval shape (about 20 cm) on a lightly floured non-stick surface. Use your fingers to pick one shorter side of the dough and tuck and roll the dough like a Swiss roll. Use the rolling pin to flatten and roll the dough into a long rod shape. Then, pick one shorter side of the dough and roll it like a Swiss roll again. Repeat this rolling step with the remaining portions of dough.

Place three rolled dough with their seams side down into the each prepared pan. Press the top of the dough lightly to form an even surface. Allow the dough to prove in a warm and humid place for another 60-75* mins or until the dough is going to reach the maximum height of the loaf pan. Cover loaf pans with lids if required.

Bake breads in a preheated 180°C (350°F) oven for 25-30 mins or until the breads are thoroughly baked inside. Remove bread from the loaf pan and transfer immediately onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.

To store, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and keep at room temperature for 2-3 days or freeze in serving portions for 2-3 months.

Happy Baking
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  1. Hi Zoe, thks for sharing the recipe. May I ask, can I skip taking the dough out to roll and shape? If leave all the job to the BM to knead, proof and bake? Will I still get the soft effect?

    1. Hi Lanny, Different breadmaker have different baking settings and capacity. Thus, the incorrect setting chosen might affect the overall softness of these breads. If you prefer to use your BM to shape and bake your breads, you will have to check your BM user manual and optimise the bake accordingly. Cheers!

  2. I think I have found my go to recipe! Ironically, I found your page by searching for a recipe with an overnight starter. I don't have a mixer, but the recipe looked so promising I had to try. It is a very sticky dough, but I was able to handle it with patience and a few wet dough tricks I googled. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Hi Victoria, Thanks for your comment. Happy to hear that you like this recipe :)