The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough sandwich bread

kjknits's picture

Sourdough sandwich bread

It's been a while since I've had the luxury of daily check-ins with TFL. Lots going on this summer, and actually I really don't have the time even now! But I made some sourdough sandwich bread today for the first time (so far I have only made rustic loaves with my starter), and I wanted to get the recipe written down and share it with anyone else who might like it.

I already have a favorite sandwich bread, but wanted to try using my homegrown 100% hydration starter in a sandwich loaf. Specifically, I wanted to use my starter in my favorite sandwich bread. I started with a google search and came up with a method for using starter in your favorite recipe. The website (which I can't find now, typical) stated that this was a method modified from one in Sourdough Jack's Cookery. Take 2/3 of the flour from your recipe and add it to all of the water, plus 1 cup of active starter. Stir, cover, and set on the counter overnight. Then add the rest of the ingredients and proceed as usual. This method as written, however, only allowed for a 10 minute rest after mixing, followed by final shaping. I wanted a bulk fermentation followed by shaping and a final proof. So, here's what I did, using amounts from my recipe:

Night before baking:

Combine 1 C starter (at feeding time, I feed mine every 12 hours at a 1:4:4 ratio) with 4 C KAF bread flour and 2 C Brita-filtered water at room temp (or it might have even been straight from the fridge). Stir, cover with plastic wrap and leave out overnight.

Day of baking:

Pour sponge mixture into mixer bowl and add 1/4 C melted butter, 2 TBSP sugar, 2 tsp kosher salt, and 1 C flour. Mix until combined, then add remaining cup of flour until dough is fairly stiff (my usual yeast-raised dough uses about 6 C flour and 2 C water, plus 1/4 C melted butter, for around a 35% hydration level). The dough will clear both the sides and bottom of the bowl. Knead at speed 2 for about 4 minutes or until dough passes the windowpane test. Transfer to oiled bowl and let rise in warm place until doubled, around 2 hours.

Shape into loaves and place into greased pans. Let rise for about an hour, or until light and risen nicely, then bake at 375.

This bread is tangy but not terribly sour. It tastes a little like Panera's sodo, actually, but is less chewy and has a very thin and soft crust. Moist, tender and fine crumb. Can't wait to try it in a ham sandwich!



AnnieT's picture

Katie, you're back! I've missed you and your always interesting comments. The sandwich loaf looks lovely and of course I will have to copy down your instructions and give it a try. Did you add any whole wheat flour? My daughter-in-law only buys ww bread and if I sneak in a cup of white ww flour I can tell her it is healthy when I make the grandgirls a sandwich. Have to tell you about my near disaster today. I don't know whether you saw the lovely loaf Will Wraith made and showed on the site? I decided if a 10 year old could do it so could I, and today was the day. I managed the french fold quite nicely and realized the dough was rather wet - but I didn't have the sense to add enough flour to correct it. Just added some to the counter to stop it sticking. Plus the day turned out hotter than I expected and suddenly I had some very abundant dough. I did 2 sretch and folds and shaped it with TT's parchment and towels couche and put the whole deal into the frig for a couple of hours. Didn't slow it down at all so I figured it was going to be a big mess anyway so I slashed it really deeply and baked it on the hot stone. For some reason it didn't deflate, but it was a huge wide loaf. I also accidently sprayed the oven with oil (!), not one of my better moments. Anyway, the bread has a nice yellow crumb, very tender, and I cut it into pieces to share with the other geezers here in the park. They don't care that it was nothing at all like Will's loaf! A.

Dolly's picture

I just grew a new starter and it was ready to be used - 3 weeks old and really bubbly. I tried your Sourdough Sandwhich bread recipe and it turned out fantastic. In fact I'm going to have to make it again soon because the kids ate most of two loaves. And it is hot!!! this summer, two weeks of heat with no break in sight, and I'm baking bread. This has become the kids new favourite bread. Thanks so much for posting your recipe!!! ( I had it with corned beef and it was terrific)



kjknits's picture

Hi Annie and Dolly, and thanks for the comments!  Annie, I'm glad your bread still turned out tasty!  And Dolly, thanks for trying my recipe!  I can't wait to make it again.  It's, as I like to say, "delish".

Katie in SC 

AnnieT's picture

Katie, I made your bread and wanted to tell you how well it went. I did substitute 1c of white ww flour, hope you're not offended. When my recently adopted ancient cat Henry told me he was starving to death at 6am I lurched into the kitchen to find the sponge trying to push the plastic wrap off the bowl! I am NOT a morning person so I put it into the refrigerator to cool off and went back to bed. I wasn't sure how stiff the dough was supposed to be but worked in as much flour as I thought, then I did 3 stretch and folds (over 2 hours) and let the dough double. My pans are the smaller size and I thought I could make 3 loaves, but after a while I could see that they weren't going to make it. Executive decision time - I grabbed all three and kneaded them together and made 2 lovely loaves. I think I could have let them proof a bit longer but they rose nicely and the taste is lovely. I am off to read the instruction book so that I can post the pictures. LOL. Thanks again, A

kjknits's picture

Oh, can't wait to see your pics, Annie!  I'm so glad it came out well for you!

Katie in SC 

browndog's picture

It is a great-looking loaf, Katie. Your description sounds like it's just what a sandwich bread ought to be, and I'm another one planning to try it sometime. Also looking forward to Annie pictures--I hope she sneaks in one of the cats..!

bluezebra's picture

I will try making this during the coming week. I made your sourdough English muffins again yesterday and they turned out spectacularly!!! Not because I'm an awesome baker but because your recipe rocks!

I actually just started a blog site and it's my inaugural post! LOL. Anyways if you want to visit and lend some of your terrific knowledge I would love it.

I'll let you know how the sandwich bread turns out this week. Stinky seems to be gaining "power" lol!

paulaperkins's picture

Ok. here it is... I am new to this and somewhat new to the "sourdough" thing.

I tried to make the sandwich bread and the loaves did not rise enough.  what am I doing wrong. 

I am doing this the hard way ~ trial and error and I have broken down to ask for help....HELP PLEASE........

cheftommyv's picture

Thanks for the great bread recipe.  It's the first batch I've made from my 10 day old grape starter (Silverton recipe).  I find the whole process fascinating and a good science project for my daughter's grammer school.  The loaves didn't rise as much as I think it should (based on your photo)probably because I made the mistake of using the starter for the sponge AFTER I fed my starter.  Instead of the 2 hours resting time to double it took 7 hours which brought me back to my old bakers life of forming loaves at 2 am.  The second rise in loaf pans took another 4 hours and I was feeling a little anxious that I'd end up with 2 sourdough bricks but when they came out of the oven they were a little dense but delicious.  Can't wait to try it again this weekend and compare results.

Cheftommyv, RWC

bakerjosh's picture

This is my first post! Ha, well I made this bread from my recently self caught starter about a week ago and it was GREAT!  I found it to have a very tender crumb and it stayed soft the whole week.  Right now I'm rising another batch but altered the recipe to fill 1.5 lb loaf pans, hopefully it will turn out as well as the last batch did.  Next I'm gonna try putting in some whole wheat.


LouCipher's picture

I've been making this bread for some time now, and it's excellent.  I wanted to mention a couple alternate versions I've been making.  This makes a great wheat bread.  I've been using a whole wheat starter, and mixing KAF bread flour and KAF whole wheat 50/50, same amounts specified in the original recipe.  Tastes great, rises well, highly recommended.  Another great varient is to make this with buttermilk.  Instead of two cups of water in the sponge, I use 2 cups of buttermilk and 1/4 cup water (buttermilk being thicker, especially my homemade buttermilk, a little more moisture is called for).  Combine the two for a whole wheat buttermilk sourdough loaf, mmm...

davidcwilliams's picture

Just wanted to say thanks.  I was very pleased with the crumb and crust on this bread.  My family ate it up as well.


I did have some issues with reaching dough consistency as described as I bake everything by weight and needed to convert.  But overall, a painless experience for a very nice result!

rlovesbooks's picture

Hi there, I'm fairly new to bread baking. I'm baking this bread today for the second time. My biggest issue right now is baking times. I noticed that your recipe didn't include an approximate baking time and the first time I baked it was a little overcooked. I'm hoping this time will be better. Even if you don't have an approximate time, can you give me some tips on how to know if it's done? All I have is a timer and a crappy meat thermometer, both of which have been troublesome with baking in the past! Also my oven light kinda sucks, so it's tough to tell when it's brown without opening my oven.


Thanks for the recipe! 

Rouvi's picture

Thanks for this terrific recipe.  I used organic all-purpose flour and 1 tsp. of vital wheat gluten for every cup of flour since I did not have bread flour on hand. Your recipe turned out a very nice loaf with a lovely, soft (but not gummy) texture.  I look forward to trying more of your recipes :o)

pfrankic's picture

I can now quit looking for a sourdough sandwich bread.  Made this today and was very happy with the outcome.  Very tender texture  and taste is unbelievable.  Thank you for sharing your recipe and looking forward to trying more.   

bensma2's picture

First let me say that I am new to TFL, so happy I stumbled onto this site.  I tried this recipe with my San Francisco starter and let me tell you.............delicious!!!!! Wouldn't change a thing.  Thanks so much for posting. 

Nami54's picture

I made a batch of this yesterday and need look no further for a great sourdough sandwich bread formula. Just tangy enough, with a positively voluptuous crumb, just chewy enough. We're a family of two, so I sliced both and froze them that way - we can use a slice or two at a time as we need to. Thank you for the post!

DonS's picture

I just made this for the first time. Actually, this is the first time I've made any sourdough bread and the first time I've made a sandwich loaf of any kind.

I have a 100% hydration starter. Using 4.25 oz per cup of bread flour as described on the KAF site, I get:

  • Flour = 6 cups = 723 g
  • Water = 2 cups = 473 ml = 472 g
  • Butter = 1/4 cup = 1/8 pound = 57 g
  • Starter = 1 cup = 268 g *
  • Flour in starter = 134 g
  • Water in starter = 134 g
  • Sugar = 25 g
  • Salt = 10 g

* My 100% hydration starter, at feeding time and after being well stirred down, is 268g per cup.

Do those numbers look right?

The sponge (really looks like a large batch of 100% hydration starter) more than tripled overnight in a 77 degree oven.

When mixing the last portion (expected 120g) of flour, I had to add an extra 318g to get it to pull away from the mixing bowl and not be a wet, sticky mess. Maybe the original recipe's "cups" are some really well-packed bread flour?

First rise was 90 minutes - it doubled. I turned it out onto a floured board, cut it in half, gently shaped into rectangles (small dimension the length of my bread pans), folded into thirds, and plopped them into buttered pans. Second rise took 100 minutes - 1" over top of pans. Both rises in 86 degree oven with a pie plate of hot water.

Brushed with melted butter and cut a 1/2" deep slash lengthwise. Baked in 375 oven for 35 minutes, rotating half way through.

** I presumed that the recipe was intended for 9x5 pans. My pans are larger (KAF 10x5 #2944). I compared the volume of my pans to a 9x5 and found that my pans hold 122% of a 9x5. I increased all of the above weights by 22%.

The top isn't all that pretty, but it sure tastes good. I'm happy with it as a first attempt.



DonS's picture

Forgot to mention... I made no altitude adjustments. I'm at 6600' about 30 miles south of Denver, CO.

BleuCheese's picture

This worked great for me--thanks for the weights, Don!  I made this the day before yesterday and I too had to add a lot of extra flour. I was sort of lax on the record-keeping so I *think* I started off with about 140g per cup of flour--when I had gotten to 6 "cups" (140g each), the dough was extremely sticky still.  I kept adding bit by bit and by my calculations (I wrote it down and added it up later), I added an additional 197g of bread flour (for a total of 1037g or so not counting my 100% hydration starter) before I could really knead the dough using the hook and it (somewhat) cleared the sides of the mixing bowl.  Shaping after initial rise was still a bit messy, but I am out of practice on sourdough baking and I seem to vaguely recall that I used to do a resting period before shaping (maybe 30 mins?) so maybe I'll try that next time. My loaves came out really really well anyway, however, using your weights for most of the other ingredients.  I made an 8.5x4.5" loaf with half of the dough (my pan is marked 1.5qt) and it rose up out of the pan by about an inch and looks like real sandwich bread--this pan is glass and the bottom and sides did not brown as well as the top, so I removed the loaf from the pan after about 30 minutes in a convection oven and baked the loaf straight on the rack for another 10 mins or so.  With the rest of the dough, I used four 2-cup terra cotta mini loaf pans that browned the bread in a lovely fashion.  In retrospect they were a bit short, though, so if I want mini loaves in the future, I'll probably just split this half of the dough into three of the mini pans so they are each a bit bigger.  They still tasted great, though, and kids loved the little sandwiches.

BleuCheese's picture

Sorry, forgot to add we are near sea level in SoCal, so totally works great here too!  My first rise took about an hour and a half as well, and after shaping I think the loaves sat for another 45-60 mins.  Photo with regular size loaf sliced, and mini:Sourdough sandwich loaves (reg & mini) 

sasafred's picture

Hi there. Just wanted to pop in and say that this recipe is one I've come back to over and over again for a perfectly delicious sourdough loaf. I sometimes follow the recipe exactly for a superb white bread, and other times, I mix in some ww or other flours and sort of go by feel. Every time, I come out with a tasty loaf, even if it's not always exactly what I wanted. Thanks for this fantastic recipe!