Perhaps it is related to my mild OCD, but there is something extremely satisfying for me to make perfectly square sandwich bread. I bought these loaf pans -- usually called Pullman Loaf pans -- from Amazon but have been too lazy to calculate the exact dough size and recipe for it until this weekend. It makes a nice 4"x4"x13" loaf. I have been baking bread off and on for the last year or so. So far the use of water roux starter (Tang-Zhong, 湯種) is by far the best way to make pillow-like soft bread that stay soft for days while using only a small amount of butter. This is a method very popular in Japan and Taiwan, and probably pacific Asia in general. It probably has something to do with the fact that very few traditional Western recipes feature doughs made with hot water, while many traditional Chinese recipes called for the use of hot water in dough making. (Actually the only Western recipe I can think of is Pate a Choux) The hot water gelatinizes the starch molecules in flour. The same amount of flour can absorb twice the amount of water at high temperature compared to room temperature. The texture of the dough also becomes more springy, or what is commonly called in Taiwan as "Q".
The recipe I used was found here. But I'll re-type it in English here.
Recipe: 湯種全麥麵包 whole wheat sandwich loaf with water roux starter
Makes 1 loaf of 4"x4"x13" Pullman loaf (2 lb mold)
Water roux starter:
Bread flour 22.5g
Water 112.5 g
Water roux starter
Bread flour 262.5 g
Whole wheat flour 285 g
Sugar 55 g
Milk powder 22.5 g
Rapid rise yeast 7.5 g
Cold water 250 g
Butter 35 g
1. Combine the ingredients for the water roux starter in a small pan. Mix well with a small whisk. Heat over low flame until the mixture reaches at least 65C. It will have a glue-like consistency. Cover with cling film touching the roux so it doesn't dry out. Cool to room temperature of colder. (It can be refrigerated overnight)
2. Please salt, sugar, cold water, and the roux on the bottom of a breadmaker pan. Place the other ingredients except the butter over the liquid. Mix for 3 minutes and knead for 30 minutes. The butter should be cut into small pieces and added to the dough about 7 minutes into the kneading. The dough may need more or less water depending on the flour.
3. Let the dough rise for 90 minutes. It is ready when it has doubled in size and an indentation made by a finger stays dented.
4. Divide the dough evenly into 5 pieces (about 200g each). Roll each into a ball and let them rest for at least 15 minutes under cling film.
5. Roll each piece into a rectangle. Roll up into a log. Rotate 90 degrees and repeat.
6. Oil the walls and the lid. Place the 5 dough logs evenly in the pan. Let it rise again until the dough is 90% from the top of the pan, about 30-40 minutes.
7. Heat the oven to 400F. Close the lid on the pan. Bake the bread in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes.
8. Un-mold the bread immediately out of the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.
The rolling should be as even as possible. You can see the first 2 pieces from the left were highly uneven.