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Sourdough Sandwich Bread

This sourdough sandwich bread is soft, naturally leavened, and perfect for toast, sandwiches, etc.

Sourdough Sandwich Bread with a slice taken out of it.

My first love with sourdough was my homemade artisan sourdough bread – that recipe makes some out-of-this-world-good bread. I truly think that every sourdough baker should make a rustic loaf like that at least once.

That loaf is insanely delicious. BUT…it isn’t always the most practical. All those beautiful little air bubbles don’t always make for the best toast or sandwich. When you don’t want to have to tear at a sandwich with your teeth, or when you don’t want the melted butter to run out the bottom of your toast, you make this sourdough sandwich bread.

This loaf is soft and beautiful and delicious. The perfect vehicle for any sort of topping you want to throw at it. Let’s dive in and see how it’s made:

How to Make Sourdough Sandwich Bread

A stiff leavain in a Weck jar.

First, we need to make the leavain. What is a levain, you ask? It’s basically a sourdough starter that you mix up specifically for your recipe. It’s the leaven that will make your bread rise.

Unlike my artisan sourdough bread recipe, we’re noting using a wet, 100% hydration levain. This one’s more like a stiff dough, and it contains milk! Mix it together and wait for it to ripen and rise.

Mixing the Dough:

Mixing the dough with a paddle attachment.

Next, you add all of the ingredients (including the levain) except for the salt and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with the paddle attachment just until everything is combined. Let rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes.

 

Switched to a dough hook.

Switch to the dough hook. Add the salt and knead the dough until it starts to come together, about 3 minutes.

 

Adding the butter to the sourdough sandwich bread dough.

With the mixer running, gradually add the butter, mixing well after each addition. At first it will seem like a greasy mess. Just keep going and the butter will eventually absorb into the dough.

 

The kneaded dough.

Keep kneading until the dough is beautifully smooth and passes the windowpane test. Be patient – it can take quite a while for the gluten to develop enough!

 

The risen dough.

At this point you have a couple of options:

  • You can let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours, then place it in the refrigerator overnight.
  • If your kitchen is quite cold like mine is in the winter/spring, you can do the bulk rise overnight at room temperature. If your kitchen is quite warm, I recommend using the first method.

Forming the Loaf:

Three pieces of sourdough sandwich bread dough on a counter.

The next day, divide your dough into 3 equal parts. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rest for 1 hour.

 

Rolling the dough into an elongated oval.

Roll the balls out into ovals.

 

A piece of the dough rolled up jelly-roll style.

Now roll each oval up jelly-roll-fashion.

 

Rolling the dough again.

Flatten the roll back out into an oval again along the seam.

 

Letting the sourdough sandwich bread dough rest.

Roll the dough back up one more time like a jelly-roll.

 

Placing the dough into a buttered pan.

Put the rolls into a buttered loaf pan, seam side down.

 

The risen dough.

Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise at room temperature for 6 hours.

Baking Sourdough Sandwich Bread:

A baked loaf of sourdough sandwich bread still in the pan.

Bake in a hot oven for about 40 minutes. You want the dough to reach an internal temperature of about 195-200° F.

 

Soft sourdough sandwich bread cooling on a wire rack.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

Slices of the bread on a small wooden cutting board with the loaf in the background.

Try your best to wait until the loaf has completely cooled to slice into it.

 

Close up shot of the crumb of this soft sourdough sandwich bread.

The first time I made this bread, we scarfed down about half a loaf in one sitting. Reuben devoured slice after slice, even though he isn’t a big bread fan! It’s that good.

Notes:

  • I scaled up the original recipe (BTW, go follow Cook Til Delicious) to better fit a standard American loaf pan. The original amount was for a pullman loaf pan, which I don’t own.
  • I have made this recipe with and without the sugar. Of course it’s absolutely delicious with the sugar, but it’s still really good without it.
  • If you don’t have any bread flour on hand, you can still totally pull off this loaf. I’ve made it with part bread flour, and also with all AP flour.

Here are some ideas for what to make with your Sourdough Sandwich Bread:

Here’s a video demonstration of the process:


Sourdough Sandwich Bread
4.92 from 12 votes
Print

Sourdough Sandwich Bread

This sourdough bread is soft and light - perfect for making sandwiches or toasting!

Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword Baking, bread, Sourdough
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 day 40 minutes
Servings 1 loaf
Author Erica Kastner

Ingredients

For the Levain/Starter:

  • 23 grams 100% hydration sourdough starter (see note)
  • 38 grams whole milk
  • 70 grams bread flour (can also use AP flour)

For the Final Dough:

  • all of the levain/starter
  • 173 grams all-purpose flour
  • 173 grams bread flour (or more AP flour)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 168 grams whole milk
  • 43 grams sugar, optional
  • 8 grams unrefined salt (I used Himalayan pink salt)
  • 43 grams butter, softened

Instructions

For the Levain/Starter:

  1. Mix together all of the levain ingredients in a jar. Let sit at room temperature to mature and rise, about 8 hours.

    Sourdough Sandwich Bread

For the Final Dough:

  1. Place all of the dough ingredients (including the levain) except for the salt and butter in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until it comes together in a shaggy dough. Let rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes.

    Sourdough Sandwich Bread
  2. Switch to the dough hook. Sprinkle in the salt and knead for 3-5 minutes, or until the dough starts to come together.

    Sourdough Sandwich Bread
  3. Add the butter gradually, mixing well after each addition. It will start out greasy, but the butter will eventually absorb into the dough. Continue kneading until the dough passes the windowpane test, about 10 minutes.

    Sourdough Sandwich Bread
  4. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, then turn to grease all sides of the dough. Cover tightly and allow to rise at room temperature for 2 hours. Place in the refrigerator to rise overnight.

    Sourdough Sandwich Bread
  5. The next day, divide the dough into 3 pieces and form into balls. Place on a lightly floured surface, cover with a damp tea towel, and allow to rest for 1 hour.

    Sourdough Sandwich Bread
  6. Roll each ball into an elongated oval, then roll each one up jelly-roll-fashion. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Roll them out into an oval again along the seam, then roll each one up like a jelly roll once more. Transfer the rolls to a buttered 9x5-inch loaf pan. Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise at room temperature for about 6 hours. At that point the dough should have puffed up and filled the pan about 2/3-3/4 of the way.

    Sourdough Sandwich Bread
  7. 30 minutes before the loaf is ready to bake, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place the risen loaf into the hot oven and bake for 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the loaf reaches an internal temperature of 195-200 degrees F.

    Sourdough Sandwich Bread
  8. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before slicing (if you can).

    Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Recipe Notes

  • 100% hydration starter means a starter that has been fed with equal weights (not volumes) of water and flour and allowed to rise until doubled, about 6-12 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
  • All of the mixing can be done by hand if desired.
  • Recipe adapted from Cook Til Delicious
Recipe Rating




Margaret

Wednesday 25th of August 2021

Hi

May I ask why the dough is put in the tin in 3 lots and not just the entire dough?

Thankyou

Erica Kastner

Wednesday 25th of August 2021

It's mostly to look beautiful. If you prefer you can definitely just do the entire dough!

Carl

Sunday 16th of May 2021

As a relatively inexperienced baker, this is by far the most complicated bake I've ever attempted. At pretty much every stage I was convinced that I had messed up somehow. I was determined to persevere however and while the end result could have been better if was one of the most delicious breads I have ever baked and I will certainly be trying it again in order to perfect it

Erica Kastner

Monday 17th of May 2021

Aw, so happy that it turned out delicious for you!

Gail

Wednesday 5th of May 2021

Could I use part whole wheat flour and part bread flour?

Gail

Thursday 29th of April 2021

Wondered if I can use all bread flour and no AP flour.

Erica Kastner

Friday 30th of April 2021

You should be able to use all bread flour!

Kashika

Monday 4th of January 2021

Hi Erica! Your recipe looks decadent, and I’m thinking of getting my starter out of the fridge and trying it this weekend. I don’t own a stand mixer, but am considering kneading this by hand. Any tips to ensure I can get the dough to the correct state?

Erica Kastner

Tuesday 5th of January 2021

I would suggest using wet or greased hands if the dough is really sticking to them, and kneading for a longer time. Just keep going until you reach windowpane!

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