Super soft and full of flavor, this loaf bread is perfect for sandwiches or spread with butter. The milk and butter in the dough help give it the soft, rich texture.
1 scant cup (225 grams) warm milk (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons)
3 tablespoons (36 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon instant yeast (optional if starter is ripe)
½ cup (150 grams) sourdough starter, ripe or discard
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons (400 grams) bread flour, additional ¼ cup needed (425 grams total) if substituting all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons butter, very soft and cut into pieces
1 tablespoon melted butter, for brushing baked loaf
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the warm milk and the sugar until dissolved.
Add yeast and sourdough starter, stirring to combine.
Add flour and sea salt. Mix on medium-low speed until dough comes together.
With mixer on low speed, add butter pieces one at a time until combined.
Increase speed to medium and let the mixer knead the dough for 5 minutes.
Transfer to a large oiled bowl. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise until nearly doubled, about 2 hours if using the optional added yeast. (If using only starter, this proofing time takes 12-18 hours, which yields a beautiful dough with a more pronounced sour flavor.)
Turn proofed dough out onto a clean counter top and stretch it several times to develop the gluten. Roll it tightly into a loaf, pinching the seams together. Transfer to an oiled loaf pan and cover with oiled plastic wrap to rise again, about 1 hour or until dough is about 1-inch above the rim of the pan (this step will take a few hours if not using the additonal yeast).
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Bake at 350° for 35 minutes until golden and internal temperature reaches 190°-200°F on an instant-read thermometer.
Remove from oven and immediately brush top with melted butter. (Do not skip this step as it is key to a soft crust.)
Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
For best results, measure ingredients by weight.
Whole-wheat version: Use 200 grams whole wheat flour, and 200 grams of bread flour or all-purpose flour.
Keywords: soft sourdough bread, sourdough sandwich loaf