I had earlier posted this recipe, but I've since experimented with and tweaked it a couple times and I'm now happy with it and ready to offer it up to all comers.
It is, I think, a fabulous sandwich bread (unless you and onions aren't copasetic).
Here is the recipe:
I've made this with a small addition of yeast, as found above, and also as a wholly levain bread (without the IDY) retarded for about 21 hours. The latter achieves a slightly more sour flavor than that which has the IDY and is baked the same day. But both are delicious!
This produces two 1.5# loaves or one large 3# bâtard which is pictured.
The levain and sour are mixed and allowed to stand for 12-14 hours until ripe. At the same time mix dried, chopped onions with beer - my favorite is a dark beer, Negro Modelo - and allow to stand overnight. (I suspect that fresh onions, or caramelized onions would impart wonderful flavors as well, but I have a large jar of dried onions so I elected to use them and console myself with the need to rehydrate them in beer. In any case, if using fresh onions, adjustsments - downward - of hydration will be necessary).
For the final dough, mix levains, rehydrated onions and water to disperse the levains, and then add the flours, salt and yeast (if not retarding). I mix about 3 minutes on speed one and then crank up my Hamilton Beach to speed 3 for about 5 minutes. You should aim for a moderate gluten development - not windowpane but partially there.
Primary fermentation is about 2.5 hours, with folds at 50 minute intervals. After that, divide, pre-shape and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes, then shape into bâtards. Final proof is about 1 - 1.5 hours. (If retarding, I proof for 1.5 hours and then refrigerate. NOTE: My downstairs refrigerator is old and holds a temp (whatever I attempt) of 40-42 degrees. So, with respect to sourdough, that effectively shuts down fermentation. If retarding in a hotter environment then you want to probably aim for a final proof of 80%-90% before retarding and then bake right out the retarder).
The bake for 1.5 # loaves with instant dry yeast is at 440° F for 35-40 minutes with steam for the first 15 minutes. For fully levain bread I preheat the oven for 1 hour to 475°, during which I allow the refrigerated loaves to finish proofing. In this case, I bake at 475° for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 420° and bake for another 30-35 minutes (you may want to tent the bread during the last 15 minutes if the color becomes too dark).
The pics are of a 3# loaf I baked for a local restaurant, so baking times and temps were varied. But the result is the same - an enjoyable sandwich bread.
Add a little mustard, a little mayo and your favorite sandwich meats and you have sandwich satisfaction.
Larry aka Baker Bob