The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Smita's picture

Sourdough Sandwich Bread

A couple weekends worth of sourdough sandwich breads. Heres what we do:

1. Friday night (or morning, depending on room temperature) - feed starter with 2 oz each of water and AP flour. I use 8-hour two builds if possible, to get 8 oz of 100% hydration starter.

2. Saturday am - When the starter is ripe (bubble with fruity smell), add 12 oz flour and 8 oz water. Including 4 oz each of flour and water in the starter, this amounts to 16 oz flour and 12 oz water (75% hydration dough). We're flexible with the 12 oz of flour. Of the two loaves below, the top loaf was made with 5, 4 and 3 oz of whole wheat, white whole wheat and AP flour. The bottom loaf was made with 7 and 5 of whole wheat and white whole wheat flour respectively.

Notes: I store our flours in the freezer. I use the formula for desired dough temperature (DDT) to calculate water temperature.

3. Mix flour, water, 2 teaspoons gluten and starter - autolyse 30 minutes.

Note: I also added 1 tablespoon flax seeds to the bottom loaf.

4. Knead by hand for 10 minutes, till windowpane.

5. Rest, add salt and knead gently.

6. First rise for about 3 hours or till dough doubles. We did three stretch and folds for the top loaf. Went and got brunch while the bottom loaf was rising!

7. Deflate and roll real tight (such a lovely americanism) tp shape into sandwich loaf. Place in a greased 9 x 5 pan.A slightly smaller pan will give you a higher loaf. I don't worry too much about this.

8. Final proof for 3 hours or until it crests above the loaf pan. Note: We've also done overnight retards with good results.

9. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Internal temperature should read around 200 degrees F when done, the loaf should sound hollow.

Cool for an hour and slice. 



Taste and appearance: We have grown quite fond of this formula. The loaves have no butter / oil at all, and made for a perfect morning toast / sandwich bread. Sometimes, I will add a half cup of mashed potato or buttermilk, which tenderizes the loaf. These loaves showcase whole wheat - so if you enjoy whole wheat, this is a good recipe to try. IMHO, the critical steps were: 1) Working out 16:12 flour to water is a good size loaf for us, that resulted in the right crumb texture, 2) Knead till windowpane to coax gluten development in whole wheat, 3) I have to be flexible about rise times. Gotta run one's day by the dough's schedule and not vice-versa. If I add a teaspoon or less of yeast, I can cut down rising time to about 90-120 minutes. The best loaves we've made usually take 3-5 hours. I'm sure this will change as we apprach warmer weather.

Feel free to share your thoughts! All feedback welcome!




BerniePiel's picture

A question though, I noted you keep your flour in the freezer and I was wondering if you waited till it reached room temperature to calculate your water temp in the initial mix?  I don't keep mine in the freezer but I do in the fridge.  However, I do grind my own whole wheat and keep it in small enough quatities that I can store it in well-sealed bins in the freezer.  I've never waited till the dough warmed up to room temp and until reading Ortiz's book, The Village Baker, didn't really understand the complexity of water temp.  The loaf looks great and I can just taste a roast turkey sandwich w/ lettuce, tomato and mayo.  Thanks for sharing.

Bernie Piel

Smita's picture


Thank you! Regarding flour in the freezer - I pull the flour out of the freezer, measure it and give it half an hour, while I putter around and get stuff mise en place. I usually stick a thermometer in the flour (before adding starter or water) and its usually at 55-60.

Fresh ground whole wheat = awesome!

BerniePiel's picture

have to try waiting, but certainly I'm going to start temping the water, flour and checking the kitchen temp, per Ortiz.  Yes, fresh whole wheat is pretty neat and I'm amazed at how inexpensive it is to grind my own.  Granted I live in wheat country and the food co-op I belong to sells 25# of red hard winter wheat for $8/pail.  I use a nutrimill which is paying for itself quite readily at the price for the wheat berries. 

Again, thanks for the tip.  I'm curous to see what effect the water temp will have.

Bernie Piel

jennyloh's picture

I've been also thinking of making sourdough Sandwich loafs and here it is,  no need to look really far. Nice looking loaves.

Can you clarify this para

"When the starter is ripe (bubble with fruity smell), add 12 oz flour and 8 oz water. Including 4 oz each of flour and water in the starter, this amounts to 16 oz flour and 12 oz water (75% hydration dough)."

Do you mean you use all 8oz of the starter,  add another 16 oz of flour and 12 oz of water?

Or you split the starters into 2 using 4oz of the starter, and add 12 oz of flour and 8 oz of water to each portion of the loaves.

Can I ask how much salt you add in? 

For sourdough - I noticed that the taste of the sourdough can be quite strong immediately after baking.  Do you recommend to keep it aside for 1 day before consuming it?

Smita's picture

Apologies for the delay. I've been using all 8 oz of the ripe starter for one loaf. I save only a tablespoon. We may reduce the amount of starter, particularly in the summer time, if the loaves start to get too sour. But the 8 oz seemed to work ok in our 70 degree kitchen through the winter and fall.

Also to clarify: each loaf inlcudes 8 oz starter, 12 oz flour and 8 oz water.

We like our loaves undersalted and add a teaspoon of salt. If I'm making a loaf for company, I add upto a tablespoon of salt.

In terms of keeping the loaf aside for a day - I've noticed that the sour flavor is more prominent if I do an overnight retard. So a final rise of 3-4 hours may be enough to produce a less prominent sour flavor. In terms of storage, we usually slice the loaf in half and freeze one half. But its just the two of us, so I'm sure that will vary by how quickly one goes through a loaf.

Hope this helps and good luck!








althetrainer's picture

I make two loaves of SD sandwich bread every week for just the three of us.  We're bread people so never have to worry about freshness of the bread.  If my husband makes his black bread, we end up having three loaves, I keep one of my SD loaves in the freezer until we need more. 

I use 2/3 WW flour and 1/3 unbleached flour in my dough.  My basic dough is made of flour, water, sugar, salt, and oil.  I do use a couple TBSP of VWG into my dough to help rise better.  I have used this same basic recipe to create variations such as orange rosemary, lemon permesan, cottage cheese/dill, sesame & onion etc.  They all turned out very good. 

Your loaf looks very good.  Keep up the good work!


maiasimon's picture

Hi, I'm new here and a relatively novice baker.  What is VWG?  Thanks. 

althetrainer's picture

VWG = vital wheat gluten. 

If you check Bob's Red Mill site you will read: Vital Wheat is the natural protein found in wheat. It contains 75% protein. A small amount added to yeast bread recipes improves the texture and elasticity of the dough. This is often used by commercial bakeries to produce light textured breads, and can easily put the home bread baker on a par with the professionals. Vital Wheat Gluten can also be used to make a meat substitute known as seitan.