July 23, 2023 at 10:11
Who doesn’t enjoy a bit of mad science now and again? Or a loaf of fresh bread? Or a sub from the expensive-and-we-know-it’s-probably-bad-for-us-but-boy-it’s-super-tasty Subway chain?
I’ve been fond (potentially unduly fond) of Subway since my age was measured in single digits. It was for many years the only chain fast food restaurant in my hometown, though we eventually got a chain pizzeria and a Tim Horton’s. I always loved when Mom was busy over dinner, because Dad’s rota was “Hot dogs”, “Kraft Dinner” (Kraft Mac & Cheese for those of you of a southern persuasion), “Fries from the fry wagon” or “Subway”.
I’ve been trying to come up with a decent approximation of Subway’s tasty, tasty loaves for some years now. I’ve got the silicone loaf forms now, so that’s a start. I’ve used a few different recipes that claim to be clones, but I’m not satisfied with them. The bread needs to be fluffier, have a thinner crust.
It wasn’t until last week that I realized I have one of the things which was eluding me, which is: Consistency and repeatability. I have a set of kitchen scales (both the large denominations and the small), so I can dial in tenth-of-a-percentage, baker’s weights style, on all my ingredients. I have a bread maker, so I can ensure that the mixing, kneading, and first rise are always identical. A redeployment of those scales will give me accurately-sized loaves (that is, I can mark down exactly how much one quarter of the dough ball is, etc).
Plus, I found soy lethicin and vital wheat gluten locally and I’m absolutely itching to try them, so, today’s experiment is going to be:
Whole wheat loaves with a consistent pattern and baker’s weighting.
Today is also going to be putting down a baseline- I need to convert the recipe I’m using from the all-too-stupidly-common “cups and tablespoons” to the far and away better grams and percentages.
So the recipe I have so far looks like this:
- 1.75 cups white and 1.5 cups whole wheat flour (my choice of split. Get weights for each measure and turn that into a total flour weight)
- 3/4 cup water (convert to grams, then get that as a hydration percentage, adjust as necessary- probably add a couple percentage to make up for dry milk and added gluten)
- 1 tsp salt (convert to grams, get as a percentage)
- 1 tbsp sugar (you know the drill)
- 2 eggs (replace with: 1% soy lecithin granules; adjust percentage in subsequent batches)
- 3 tbsp butter (replace with: 2 tbsp oil, convert to etc)
- 2 tbsp milk (replace with dry milk powder that would make 2 tbsp, convert etc)
- 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast (one packet, check the weight and get this as a percentage just for giggles)
- 3% vital wheat gluten - not in the original recipe but my research suggests that this is at a scale of 1-4% in most recipes, and since I’m using partially whole wheat flour we’re going to aim high to start
I’ll probably update this post later with the weighted recipe. Here goes nothing!
Updated after measuring:
- White flour, 285g
- WW flour, 260g
[Total flour weight: 545g]
- Water, 175g (32% hydration- this seems low, but we’ll see how it turns out and may amp it in later bakes)
- Salt, 7.5g (1.4%)
- Sugar, 12.5g (2.33%)
- Soy lethicin, 5.5g (1%)
- Oil, 25g (it makes sense to me here to continue use of liquid measures. The oil I used weighs close enough to 3g/tsp to make that a convenient fiction. This is 2 Tbsp) (4.5%)
- Milk powder, 16g (3%)
- Yeast, 8.25g/1 packet (1.5%)
- Vital Wheat Gluten, 16.5g (3%)
Notes: I’ve put this on the dough setting, two pound loaf size, and I’ve added a half-hour timer before the cycle begins to give the soy lecithin granules lots of time to rehydrate. I’ve heard that without this step you tend to get chunklets, and that’s not what I’m all about.
No. Bad. A trophy made from the back-end of a cat. Not nearly enough water. I am remaking the recipe with the following changes:
- Water, 335g
Ten-minute timer to let the lecithin rehydrate. I’ll be checking on this in twenty minutes or so to make sure it’s bread dough and not damp-sand textured dry ingredients.
This worked out.
Next batch in six days; the plan will be a 70% scaled batch but make two loaves (so instead of 4 loaves at 240g each, two loaves at ~ 350g each). The plan will also be to shoot for a higher hydration. Final percentages next week will be:
Water 75%, Salt 1.5%, Sugar 2.5%, Lecithin 1%, Oil 5%, milk powder 3%, Yeast 1.5%, VWG 3%.