Who Wants Sliced Bread?

Who Wants Sliced Bread?

What's the best thing since sliced bread? Voyageurs Sourdough sliced bread. 😆

A sliced loaf has been the #1 request that we've received from customers and fans. And in response to that request we are… 

Introducing the Pullman. 

The Pullman loaf is a breadmaker's term for what is more commonly known as a "sandwich loaf" or "pan bread." It is traditionally made with white flour and baked in a long, narrow, lidded pan. The French term for this style of loaf is pain de mie, or, less commonly, pain anglais.

So what sets our Pullman loaf apart from grocery store sandwich loaves and many other artisan bakery loaves? 

True to our craft, it's a sourdough loaf. This means it's made using the sourdough technique of bread making. 

A single loaf of bread takes 36 hours to make here at Voyageurs. It's truly a labor of love. Here's what goes into making one of our loaves: 

H O U R  1  •  The levain

Mixing the levain is the first step in the 36-hour bread making process. The levain for our bread gets mixed at 5 pm every day and will be added to the following day's dough. This is why our online ordering closes two days prior to baking. We need to know how much levain to make to fulfill the number of breads that have been ordered. 

To make the levain, a portion of Jude (our starter) is mixed with flour and water. This creates a larger "starter" to then mix into the dough the following morning. 

H O U R  13  •  Dough Making

At 6 am the dough making process starts. More four and water (and sometimes other ingredients) are added to the levain to make the dough.

The dough making process takes a total of 4 hours, including a series of "stretch and folds.” After these 4 hours, the shaping stage begins. 

The Pullman Ingredients: 
If you've been part of our real-bread-loving community for a while, you'll know that what goes into the bread is equally as important to us as the bread making process. Here's everything that goes into the Pullman: 

  • Artisan bread flour (non-GMO, never bleached or bromated)
  • Stone ground whole wheat flour and whole rye flour from Meuer Farms in Chilton, WI
  • Ground golden flax
  • Olive oil 
  • Salt

It's that simple. In our opinion, there is no need to add sugar or milk powder to this type of loaf, which is commonly found in many other loaves of its kind. Use quality ingredients, ferment them, and you’ll get an amazing product.

H O U R   17  •  Shaping

Around 10 am the shaping process starts. First we dump all the dough onto the bench, and then it is scaled (meaning to portion out equal weights). For the Pullman loaf we cut chunks of dough into 1350g (2.97 lbs).

These cuts of dough then get shaped into boules on our big wooden bench. This can take anywhere from 90 minutes to 2.5 hours, depending on how many loaves we’re shaping.

H O U R   20  •  Retard

Around 1 pm shaping is complete and the breads are in the proofing baskets. All the baskets go into the refrigerator to proof overnight. This second rise is called the “retard,” which means “to slow” in French. The cooler temperature slows down the fermentation process and improves the flavor of the bread. 

The slow fermentation is important because it breaks down the grains to make them more digestible. The faster proofing time given by powdered yeast is often what causes grains to be troublesome for many people. This is one of the reasons you won't find commercial yeast in our bakery. The longer you ferment the grains, the more digestible they become.* 

* These statements are according to our research of sourdough. They have not been reviewed by a medical professional.

H O U R   36  •  Baking

Baking starts at 5 am on the the third day, and the last loaves are usually out of the oven by 11 am. The Pullman loaf is different from our other loaves because it gets baked in the loaf tin. This is what gives it its shape. 

The Pullman bakes for one hour, which is longer than the average bake time of 50 minutes. This is because it's a much larger loaf than our other breads. 

Once the loaf is completely cool we run it through the slicer. Then it’s bagged, tied, stickered and placed on the shelf.

There you have it... your 36-hour loaf of bread.

I hope you enjoyed this mini breaducation class today! Part of the goal here at Voyageurs is to help you learn more about the technique of sourdough. We believe that the more you can be involved with and informed about what goes into the food you eat, the more joy you get from the food.

To continue your breaducation and learn more about our belief in the joy that food brings, read #7 of our post titled...

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