Egg and Cream Sourdough Bread

This bread is rich and golden—perfect for breakfast toast and utterly decadent as French toast. For readers who were interested by recent posts on baker’s percentages and designing bread recipes here are the technical details:

I started out by choosing a hydration level of 62% because that seems about ideal for toast. The two 500-gram loaves I wanted called for 620 grams of flour and 384 grams of water along with 12 grams each of yeast and salt. A brief online search provided a rule of thumb that 240 grams of 100% hydration sourdough starter replaces one envelop, 6 grams, of yeast. I chose to replace half the yeast in my basic recipe. Because 100% hydration sourdough starter is 50:50 by weight flour to water, I reduced the flour and water by 120 grams each making my basic recipe:

Sourdough starter

240 grams

Flour

500 grams

Water

264 grams

Yeast

6 grams

Salt

12 grams

 

For toasting bread I like to add a 4% baker’s percentage of sugar and of fat, in this case 24 grams each. The two eggs I used contributed 10 grams of fat and for the rest I used cream. Since heavy cream 36% butter fat I needed 40 grams of it. The eggs also contained 80 grams of water and the cream 25 grams so I adjusted the amount of water accordingly. Here, then, is the final recipe, using white whole wheat in place of ⅕ of the flour:

Note: I designed and tested the recipe using metric units. The customary units are approximate equivalents. Do not mix units.

Ingredients

 

100% hydration sourdough starter

240 grams

8 ounces

Warm water

160 grams

6 ounces

Heavy cream

40 grams

3 Tablespoons

Sugar

24 grams

2 Tablespoons

Eggs

2 large

2 large

Active dry yeast

6 grams

1 envelope

Salt

12 grams

2 teaspoons

White whole-wheat flour

100 grams

3½ ounces

Unbleached white bread flour

400 grams

14 ounces

Method

Weigh the sourdough starter, water, cream, sugar, and eggs into the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer and combine them using the paddle beater on medium speed. Stir in the yeast and salt then weigh in the flour. Fit the dough hook onto the mixer and knead at the speed recommended by the mixer manufacturer (2 for KitchenAid) until the dough is smooth, about 7 to 10 minutes.

At this point I like to weigh the dough to make dividing it later more accurate.

Warm a large, heavy earthenware or glass bowl with hot water then dry and pour in enough oil to just cover the bottom. Form the dough into a large ball, place it in the bowl, and roll it around so that it is evenly coated with the oil. Put a piece of plastic wrap loosely directly on the dough and cover the bowl with kitchen towel. Proof until doubled in size, about two to three hours depending on the temperature. Note that a long rising at a lower temperature yields a more finely-textured bread.

At the end of proofing, punch down the dough and divide it into whatever size loaves you prefer. Form the loaves and place them in lightly-oiled pans. Cover with a towel and allow to rise again until the dough is just above the sides of the pan.

Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C) for small loaves or 375°F (190°C) for large ones (I use the convect pastry setting on my convection oven at 375°). Bake for 35 minutes for small loaves to 50 minutes for large ones. The best way to determine doneness is with a thermometer; the center of the loaf should be between 200°F and 210°F (93°C and 99°C).

egg and cream sourdough toast

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