I may be on a fool's errand, but I am determined to replicate a local bakery's honey whole wheat sandwich loaf.
Their ingredients are simple. Maybe too simple. Organic whole wheat flour, honey, salt, water, yeast. No eggs. No milk. No butter or oil. Yet the finished loaf is high, sweet, soft-crusted and flavorful. Keeps pretty well too, if tightly wrapped. The texture is just a bit crumbly and the rich, mellow wheat taste really comes through, but there's absolutely no sourdough tang.
I've tried to recreate it at home, mostly by omitting eggs, butter, milk and other ingredients from basic (no poolish or starter, basic ingredients/knead/rest/repeat approach) sandwich bread recipes I've found, mostly on the King Arthur site. The results have not been great: flattish, heavy loaves that tend to have a bitter/unpleasantly sour taste and overly thick crusts; my research keeps uncovering advice that suggests adding milk/fat/eggs for taste, rise, texture, etc. assistance. I'm sure that would help, but I'm determined to work out the purist recipe.
Any ideas? Is there a way to do a sponge or starter that won't result in a tangy taste? For what it's worth, I've been using KA white-wheat flour, good clover honey, water that's not too hot and not too cold, table salt, and Fleischmann's active dry yeast.