The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

James Beard's Sour Cream Bread

mse1152's picture

James Beard's Sour Cream Bread

We subscribe to a local CSA group (community supported agriculture), so we get a box of veggies, fruit, and herbs every two weeks. We got some dill last time, so I thought of dill bread...something with cream cheese or sour cream, or even cottage cheese in it. I wanted a break from making lean artisan(al) breads. Gotta go back to the roots every now and then. I modified James Beard's Sour Cream Bread from Beard on Bread, and it came out beautifully. This smelled so good, it was hard to keep from cutting it while it was hot.
















Sour Cream Bread (with my mods and comments in italics)


1 pkg. active dry yeast

3 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup warm water (100F-115F)

2 cups sour cream, at room temperature

~ 1/3 cup minced onion

~ 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill

1 tablespoon salt (too much. Try a scant 2 t.)

1/4 tsp. baking soda

4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour (I substituted whole wheat for one of the cups)


Combine yeast, water, and sugar. Let sit till foamy. Put sour cream, salt, and soda in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture, onion, and dill. Gradually mix in 4 cups of flour to make a wet, sticky dough. Dump the dough onto a moderately floured surface and continue mixing/kneading (use a dough scraper) for at least 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary, to make a workable, less sticky dough. (My hands ended up pretty coated with dough. I used about 2/3 cup above the initial 4 cups). Shape into a ball, and place in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm spot till doubled. (I set it at room temperature for one hour, then used my proofing cycle at 85F for another hour).

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 loaves. (I rounded each piece and let them rest about 15 minutes before shaping). Shape into loaves and put into greased loaf pans. (The book calls for 9x5 pans; mine were 8.5x4.5, which may account the the tops exploding.) Cover and let rise again. (I used the proofing cycle for about one hour, at which time the dough crested over the edges of the pans).

Heat oven to 375F. Bake for 30-35 minutes. (I rotated the pans after 15 minutes, and baked for another 15. The internal temp. was at least 200F.) Remove from pans immediately to cool on racks.
















Yum! The bread is soft and flavorful, but just a bit salty. I found that to be true of most of the recipes in this book, but I just forgot to adjust this time. I also think I'd replace more of the AP flour with whole wheat, just to firm up the loaf a bit.

This dough would make great rolls too.



RFMonaco's picture

Looks yummy!

audra36274's picture

I have saved you recipe from above to do on my next rainy day bake. I did floyd's loaded baked potato bread last week when it rained, and it was too good. And your bread made me have the same ideas. Maybe those breads (with yummy things added) are my comfort breads! But anyway, you did an excellant job. I tried to vote on it but the dang stars keep jumping all around and I can't get it to lock in.

  And thanks for the idea, I am always looking for ways to use all the herbs that are growing in the garden, to keep them fresh.


kanin's picture

Did the burst sides happen to be adjacent to the oven walls? Just curious.

mse1152's picture

No, there's plenty of room in the oven.  But the recipe called for 9x5 inch pans, and I used slightly smaller ones.  I expect that, and not slashing the tops, made the sides blow out.


erina's picture

Wow the breads look amazing. I bet they taste even better than I imagine.

Hm, I wonder if yogurt can be substituted for sour cream and still yields comparable result? I've got lots of homemade greek yogurt and always been looking for ways to use 'em up.



mse1152's picture

James Beard said in this recipe that he orginally wanted to make this bread with buttermilk, but didn't have any, so he used sour cream.  I believe buttermilk and yogurt are interchangeable in a bread recipe, so I bet it would work fine.


kanin's picture

I make homemade Greek yogurt, too. Did you use Fage as a starter?

Anyway, as was previously said, Yogurt should work fine as a subsitute. Sour cream has a LOT more fat than even whole milk yogurt, though, so you'll end up with a completely different loaf.

erina's picture

Hi Sue,

I was wondering about the role of baking soda in the bread recipe. Of course when mixed with acid ingredient such as sour cream or buttermilk it leavens the bread. But yeast is present, so.... I am confused. I guess this a hybrid (quick and yeasted bread). :-) Definitely though, the bread is excellent!  

mse1152's picture

I wondered why too, but just made it as stated.  It gets plenty of rise time, so the yeast should be enough leavening...anyone else know?


nbicomputers's picture

the sour crean is acid
bakiing soda is a base

base = acid = salt and water and gas

there does not seem to be a lot of soda in this so it would produce a small amount of gas but it would nutrulize (sp) the acid so my guess is so the bread would have a less acid taste

breadsong's picture

Hello Sue, I gave your bread a few weeks ago - thanks for posting your formula!
The bread had a very rich taste due to the sour cream. I used shallot in place of onion - in combination with the dill, this made for very flavorful bread.
I just saw your Rosette Veneziane post (beautiful!), took a peek at your blog, saw your sour cream bread - & realized I'd forgotten to comment back when I made your bread. Belatedly, here's a picture:

As an aside, I participated in CSA last summer for the first time and it was an absolute delight, with perfect, fresh and varied produce available each week.
I was making dill bread last summer too!
:^) from breadsong