The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Is there a recipe for a softer sourdough bread?

CandiceW's picture

Is there a recipe for a softer sourdough bread?

Hey all!

1 bread I have never made it sour dough.. I just never liked it growing up(it was my moms favorite so it was always in the house) so I just never made for myself.

But I recently found out that a bread my husband LOVES is sourdough.. but it's different, the outside is softer then what I remember sourdough being like.

This is a picture of the bread I'm talking about, you can tell it is soft.

Anyone have a recipe for something like this?(with starter please!)

CandiceW's picture


I'm not quite understanding this recipe though.. where is the yeast?

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

You'll notice two stages to the recipe.

The first stage is called levain. It's made with a sourdough starter, which contains the yeast. The second stage is final dough.

Do you have a starter? If not, you won't be able to make this bread. (It could be converted to a slow-acting poolish that uses commercial yeast, but I'm not too comfortable offering a conversion without first testing the result).


  • starter (100%), 13g 
  • milk, 22g
  • bread flour, 41g
  • bread flour, 203g (I used half KAF bread flour and half KAF AP flour for a balance of chewiness and volume)
  • sugar, 25g
  • butter, 25g, softened
  • egg whites, 60g
  • salt, 3g
  • milk, 102g
  • + all of the levain
CandiceW's picture

Aww I see okay. So I need to make a starter, can I do that? Is there not a recipe for one here? I do have fresh cake yeast.. so I'm assuming that it will work to make a good one no? Thanks!



thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Question is, do you want to put in the time and effort to make one? They take a minimum of ~7 days to make.

If so, this is the one most people seem to point to:

Scroll down until you get to the recipe. It says 4 days, but I've seldom made a viable starter in less than ~7 days. More like two weeks for a strong one.

amolitor's picture

Just as Mini's link suggests, look for enriched doughs. Adding milk and eggs to a dough gives it the properties you're looking for.

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

I think we're having a language breakdown here.

When you say, "my husband LOVES sourdough", you're saying he loves (and you don't love) bread that's (a) called sourdough and (b) tastes really sour.

When we (most of us on The Fresh Loaf) use "sourdough", we take it to mean "leavening with wild yeast that are cultured in a starter (a mixture of (usually) flour and water) that captures and "grows" yeast in balance with other bacteria, namely Lactobacillus, which produces lactic acid").

In short, you're talking about a sour bread and we're talking about a leavening technique. They are not mutually exclusive, as you can make very sour breads with (usually sick) sourdough starters; but, most of the time, the breads we make with sourdough starters are not particularly sour, if at all, and certainly not sour like the (in)famous San Francisco Sourdough, the type your husband loves.

The recipe Mini Oven points you to is a technique-based one, but it likely won't taste anything like the sourdough bread your husband loves, which tastes very sour. It will, however, be very soft and made using a sourdough starter.

(And now that I've read this, I think I've just confused the issue more than clarified it).

CandiceW's picture

No my husband does not like really sour sourdough bread, that is why I was looking for a recipe like this ;) He likes a milk soft sourdough to me reminds me of 1/3 french, 1/3 sour, 1/3 white.. Hope thing reipce is what I'm lookin for.




thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

How confusing. Then why are you asking "Where's the yeast?"

Whatever the case, the yeast is in the starter. You'll need a starter to make it. 

Chuck's picture

My best guess is you really want a soft, fluffy, "sandwich" loaf. (Why you call this "sourdough" is a mystery I still haven't figured out; perhaps the misleading terminology came about because  the names restaurants give to their breads are often wildly inaccurate and misleading and make no sense at all to most bakers.) Much of the time folks here on TheFreshLoaf are trying to bake a very different style of bread, so we may not be real familiar with what's available to you. So it may be helpful for you to use the "search" box at the upper left yourself to find a recipe for a "soft, fluffy, sandwich loaf".

How hard or soft the crust is (and what color it is) are largely controlled not by the recipe but by your bread baking procedures. You can make the same loaf with either a light thin crackly crust or a dark thick chewy crust. (This is probably not quite as easy to control as I'm making it sound though -- on any given bake the crust may turn out a little different than you had intended:-)

A biggie for lighter crust is to turn down the oven temperature and correspondingly lengthen the baking time. The inside (crumb) will get done the same with the longer time at the lower temperature, but the crust will be lighter and a little thinner. It may also be helpful to generate "steam" inside your oven for the first ten or fifteen minutes of the bake (use the "search" box at the upper left to find lots of different kludge ways of generating steam without hurting yourself or your oven). Another thing that may produce a softer crust is to take the bread out of the oven when it's barely done and let it cool thoroughly on a rack before you cut it; the crust will soften during the cooling, and the barely-done inside (crumb) will contribute more moisture into the crust.

Softer, fluffier breads are generally "enriched" with things like olive oil, milk powder, eggs, or butter (or lecithin). Finding a recipe that's "close but not quite right" and adding a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to it next time can work wonders.

(There's a procedure for making a very soft "asian style" white bread called "tangzhong"  ...but that may be more complication than you want to deal with right now.)


Maverick's picture

The recipe Mini Oven gave you might be what you are looking for. If not, one that is close to that is by the same person:

Both use a sourdough starter (or levain). The pineapple juice method mentioned above to create your own is the best one I have tried (and I have done several). I plan on giving it at least 2 weeks before using it though.

On a side note... Looking at the picture and reading your description, I would think that an Italian Bread recipe might be what you are after. Even though The Keg Steakhouse serves a sourdough bread, I think you can achieve the same thing with a commercial yeast bread. I would try an Italian bread with some kind of preferment (like poolish or biga, or whatever you want to call it). In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if The Keg's bread isn't just that. The preferment will give a little bit of extra flavor you are describing, and the oil (or butter) and milk in an Italian bread would soften it up nicely. Actually, you might be able to just take a soft bread recipe that you like and mix up a portion of the flour, water and yeast the night before. Then add this to the remaining ingredients as you normally would.