Soft Sourdough Sandwich Bread – Easy Recipe

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This soft sourdough sandwich bread has a fluffy texture, a soft crust and makes the perfect sandwiches!  It’s easy to make, and is great to have on hand for avocado toast, french toast and of course sandwiches.  Sourdough sandwich bread stays soft for several days after being baked, and includes all the probiotic health benefits from the long fermentation process of the sourdough.  This bread is made without commercial yeast, and depends on the wild yeast from active sourdough starter to raise the bread.   This recipe is very flexible and you can adjust the amount of sugar or honey in it, and substitute eggs, melted beef tallow or oil for the butter depending on what you have readily available.  The recipe makes 4 loaves of bread, but if you don’t need that many loaves, you can also shape it into hamburger buns or cinnamon rolls.  You can also freeze it the same day you bake it and it will taste nice and fresh.  Once you try this sandwich recipe, it will be your go-to sourdough sandwich bread.  

sourdough sandwich bread

Simple and Easy

I like to make this recipe because it is so simple.  There is no stretching and folding or difficult steps to follow.  I just put it into my Bosch mixer, mix it up, and then let it rise a couple times and bake.  The entire process takes about 24 hours from start to finish, but it takes less than 10 minutes of active time, as most of the time it is just fermenting or raising.  The timing of this is also flexible and can be adjusted to almost any schedule.

No Scale Needed

This recipe can easily be made without a scale as everything is measured in cups.  It starts by feeding your starter, then mixing up a pre-ferment mixture of flour, water and active starter.  Then all the ingredients are combined in a mixer until bread dough is smooth and glossy and not too sticky.  You allow it to rise, punch it down and shape into loaves.  Allow it to rise again and bake.  It’s really that simple

bubbly sourdough starter

Why Make Sourdough Sandwich Bread

So why would you want to take the time to make sourdough sandwich bread anyway?  Well there are several reasons.

  1.  It’s wise to know how to make bread without having to purchase yeast at the grocery store in case it is ever not available for some reason.
  2. The taste and texture of this sourdough sandwich bread will be unlike any other sandwich bread you will make.  It’s soft, not crumbly, and will stay soft and moist for several days.  
  3. It will stay fresh longer on your counter without molding because it is already inoculated with the beneficial bacteria from the sourdough making it harder for mold to grow.
  4. Because this bread is made with active sourdough starter, and allowed to long ferment over several hours, it will be much easier for your body to digest and get nutrients from.  See below for more information.
  5. Sourdough bread has a lower glycemic index than other breads, making it a better choice for diabetics than most breads.  More info on that here.
loaves of sourdough sandwich bread

What Are The Health Benefits Of Sourdough?

Anytime you add a fermented element like sourdough to a recipe, it becomes more nutritious because it contains live probiotics and good bacteria that help with gut health and digestion.  Gluten and phytic acid are naturally present in wheat, and are usually what is to blame for people not being able to digest gluten well.  When the grain is fermented through the sourdough process, the gluten and phytic acid are broken down, making it easier to digest.  A lot of people that struggle with gluten intolerance (not people with celiac), can digest food made with sourdough without any issue, especially if the recipe is allowed to sit out for a few hours and “long ferment”.   

In addition, phytic acid is an anti-nutrient that blocks absorption of the nutrients found in wheat. During the sourdough fermentation process, the phytic acid gets broken down and the nutrients are more bio-available to the body. This is why baking with sourdough is so important for our health.

Be sure to watch our full tutorial on how to make your own sourdough starter here.

loaf of sourdough sandwich bread

Simple Sourdough Bread Ingredients

Flour, water, and salt is all that is needed to make traditional artisan loaves of sourdough bread, but what makes this sandwich bread so soft and beautiful is the addition of fat, sweetener, and milk instead of the water making it an enriched dough that makes a soft and pliable bread.  These five simple ingredients can be adjusted depending on what you have available and whether you want your dough warm in the winter, or cool in the summer for the best fermentation.

Flour

for best results I recommend using all or mostly white flour in this sourdough sandwich bread as it will make a softer and more beautiful dough.  Bleached or unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour works the best.  Unbleached flour is obviously healthier for you and bread flour will make a more beautiful loaf than just all-purpose flour because it has a higher protein content, but any of these flours will work.  If you use whole grain or whole wheat flour, I suggest using at least half all-purpose or bread flour when making your bread for best results.  A loaf made with 100% whole grain flour will be more dense than you will like for sandwiches.  

I like to get my high protein bread flour in bulk from Azure Standard.  You can check it out here.

Milk

You can use any kind of milk in this recipe.  I like to use raw milk or buttermilk from my Jersey cows, but you can use any kind of milk that you like.  The milk helps to give the bread a softer texture.

adding milk to bread mixture

Fat

Here’s where it gets fun because this recipe is so flexible.  If you’re making this bread in the summer, it’s a good idea to keep the dough close to room temperature so it doesn’t ferment too quickly and possibly overferment.  I like to use room temperature eggs or butter for my fat during the summer.  

In the winter, it’s a good idea to keep your dough a little warmer so it doesn’t take quite so long to rise.  In this case, I like to use melted butter, coconut oil, or beef tallow as my fat.  The warmth from melting the fat helps the bread to raise faster.  

Any of these fats will work at anytime however, and you can adjust it based on what you have on hand and the amount of time you have to make the bread.

Sweetener

You can use honey, sugar, or anything similar in this recipe.  I like to make it with a small amount of sweetener, but you can certainly increase the amount of sweetener if you’d like the bread to be more sweet.  If you add more sweetener, the bread will taste less sour which is more appealing to some people.  My family likes this recipe when I make it with the same amount of sweetener as my Amish white bread recipe, which has 1 1/3 cups of sugar for a 4 loaf batch of bread.  Yes, that’s a lot of sugar, but it makes a really yummy sweet bread, and is still much better for you than store-bought bread.

Salt

I like to use redmond real salt, but you can use whatever salt you have on hand.  Salt is what gives the bread it’s flavor, and it’s really important not to leave it out.  

Ways To Enjoy Sourdough Sandwich Bread

  • Slather it with butter and jam when it’s still warm from the oven. This is my favorite!
  • Sliced with mayo, avocado and microgreens for some amazing avocado toast.
  • With canned or leftover chicken and a few other ingredients for quick and easy chicken melts on a busy day.
  • For easy sandwiches on a hot day, try my favorite beef salad sandwiches on this sourdough sandwich bread.
  • Make egg sandwiches with toasted sourdough bread, eggs, cheese, ketchup and homemade mayonnaise for a quick and easy meal.
  • Toasted with peanut butter and applesauce.
  • With butter, garlic salt and cheese and toasted in the oven for garlic bread to go with spaghetti.
sourdough sandwich bread with jam

Basically any way you would normally enjoy bread, this sourdough sandwich bread is delicious.

We like to make lots of sourdough recipes.  You can find them here.

Tips For Making This Sourdough Sandwich Bread Recipe

Don’t over ferment the dough.  You want to let it raise close to double, but don’t leave it for hours and hours because it will turn into a wet sloppy mess and you won’t be able to shape it into loaves.  If this happens, you can still bake it and turn it into breadcrumbs. 

Use a stand mixer if possible, as it will make this bread so fast and easy to make.  You can also make this without a mixer, and just use your hands, but it will be more work of course.

You can use different kinds of fat depending on what you have and if it’s winter or summer.  In the winter, you’ll want your dough to be a little warmer so it doesn’t take so long to raise if it’s cooler in your house.  In the summer, you’ll want your dough to be a little bit cooler so it doesn’t raise and ferment too quickly, especially when you’re busy.

This bread freezes well, so if you won’t be able to eat all four loaves right away, you can just put some in the freezer, or shape some of the dough into cinnamon rolls or hamburger buns and bake it up that way.

Be sure to use an active sourdough starter to ensure that your bread will rise properly.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my full disclosure here

Tools You May Need

Stand mixer – my favorite mixer is a Bosch.  They are very heavy duty and a good investment if you plan to cook from scratch.  They pay themselves off in no time especially with the high cost of groceries.

Measuring cups and spoons

Large bowl

Bench scraper

Loaf pans – I like to use these large bread pans

Bread Bags

Example of Timing For Making Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Sourdough bread is so flexible, it can fit into any schedule.  Here’s a couple of examples of how you could fit sourdough baking into the margins of your day.

Option 1

  • In the morning, or sometime before noon, feed sourdough starter
  • 9:00 p.m. mix up the pre-ferment ingredients of starter, milk and flour
  • Anytime before 9:00 a.m. add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Allow to rise.
  • 11:00 a.m. if dough has risen enough, punch down and shape
  • 1:00 p.m. if dough has risen enough, bake.

Option 2

  • 7:00 a.m. Feed your sourdough starter
  • 12:00 p.m. Mix your pre-ferment ingredients
  • 9:00 p.m.  Add the rest of your ingredients and mix.  Place in refrigerator or other cool place for a slow overnight rise.
  • 7:00 a.m. Shape and allow to raise for a couple of hours.
  • 9:00 a.m.  If dough has risen enough, bake.

How To Make Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Feed Sourdough Starter

To a small amount of starter (no more than ½ cup), you’ll want to add at least 2 cups of flour, and about 1 ⅓ cups warm water.  I like to feed my starter lots of flour and water when I prepare to make bread, and then I save the extra starter in my refrigerator to use in all my favorite sourdough discard recipes.  Feel free to add more flour and water to your starter if desired, but you’ll want to feed it at least 2 cups of flour, as you’ll need 2 cups of starter for the bread recipe.  I like to complete this step in the morning.

feeding sourdough starter

Allow fed starter to become active while sitting out at room temperature.  When starter has risen all the way to the top and is happy and active, proceed to the next step.

Combine Pre-ferment Ingredients

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 cups liquid (this can be water, milk or buttermilk – and it should be warm if it’s winter), 2 cups active sourdough starter, and 3 cups all purpose or bread flour.  Mix on low speed for a minute or so using the dough hook attachment.  Cover and allow to ferment in the bowl of the stand mixer overnight.  I like the Bosch mixer because it is so heavy duty, and also because it has a lid that can easily be put on while the bowl is on the stand mixer.  I like to complete this step in the evening before going to bed.

adding sourdough starter to mixer

Mix Up The Bread

The next morning, add your fat of choice (I prefer butter and like it to be warm in winter and room temperature in summer), sweetener, salt, milk (warm in winter and cold in summer).  Turn on the mixer and allow to partially combine.  

Then add 5 cups of all purpose or bread flour and mix on medium speed for about 5-10 minutes.  This will help to develop the gluten and make the bread soft and pliable.  Then add another 4-6 cups of flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Continue to mix another couple minutes.  Turn off mixer and check to make sure dough isn’t really sticky.  You want it to be a little sticky, but not so sticky that you can’t handle it.  (See video below).  I like to stretch the dough upwards to see if I can see through it without tearing it, this is sometimes called the windowpane test.

windowpane test

First Rise

Put dough into a large oiled mixing bowl, cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours or until close to double.  If it’s winter and your house is cold, it may take longer to raise.  That’s okay, let it raise as long as it needs to until it gets close to doubling in size.  

Once dough has risen, punch it down and dump it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Shape into loaves by dividing dough into four pieces using a bench scraper.  Flatten each piece of dough into a rectangle.  Take each corner of dough that is closest to you and place in the middle of the rectangle forming a triangle.  Take tip of triangle that is closest to you and roll away from you until the dough has formed into a loaf.  Tuck the edges under if needed and place in greased loaf pans.  (See video below).

punching sourdough down

Second Rise

Allow dough to do it’s second rise until its just above the edges of the loaf pans.  This usually takes another 2-3 hours, but watch them closely if your house is warm so they don’t raise too far and over ferment.

shaping sourdough sandwich bread

Bake

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Using a bread lame or razor blade, slash the tops of the loaves to allow more room for the loaf to expand.

scoring sourdough sandwich bread

Place loaves into oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread is 190 degrees.

Remove from the oven and bread pans, and place on cooling rack.  Brush the golden brown crust with butter to keep it nice and soft, and allow bread to cool.

loaves of sourdough sandwich bread

Enjoy

Slice and enjoy a couple of slices with fresh butter and strawberry jam. There’s nothing better!

Can be stored in a plastic bag on counter or refrigerator for up to a week, or frozen for up to three months. You can even slice and freeze a few slices in separate bags so you only have to take out a little bit of bread at a time.  It’s best to freeze bread the same day that it is baked for the freshest taste.

If you try this recipe and love it, please come back and give it 5 stars! Tag me on Instagram @wagonwheelhomestead21.  I can’t wait to see what all you make!

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best sourdough sandwich bread

Soft Sourdough Sandwich Bread - Easy Recipe

sliced sourdough sandwich bread

This soft sourdough sandwich bread has a fluffy texture, a soft crust and makes the perfect sandwiches!  It’s easy to make, and is great to have on hand for avocado toast, french toast and of course sandwiches.  I like to make this recipe because it is so simple.  There is no stretching and folding or difficult steps to follow.  I just put it into my Bosch mixer, mix it up, and then let it rise a couple times and bake.  The entire process takes about 24 hours from start to finish, but it takes less than 10 minutes of active time, as most of the time it is just fermenting or raising.  The timing of this is also flexible and can be adjusted to almost any schedule.

Prep Time 15 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 6 hours
Total Time 21 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 c. active sourdough starter
  • 2 c. water, milk or buttermilk
  • 3 c. flour
  • ¼ c. fat - butter, oil, melted coconut oil or beef tallow (warm is best if your house is cool)
  • ½ c. sweetener - honey or sugar
  • 4 tsp. Salt
  • 3 c. milk or buttermilk (any kind of milk - warm is best if your house is cool)
  • 9-11 c. all purpose or bread flour

Instructions

    Feed Sourdough Starter

To a small amount of starter (no more than ½ cup), you’ll want to add at least 2 cups of flour, and about 1 ⅓ cups warm water.  I like to feed my starter lots of flour and water when I prepare to make bread, and then I save the extra starter in my refrigerator to use in all my favorite sourdough discard recipes.  Feel free to add more flour and water to your starter if desired, but you’ll want to feed it at least 2 cups of flour, as you’ll need 2 cups of starter for the bread recipe.  I like to complete this step in the morning.

Allow fed starter to become active while sitting out at room temperature.  When starter has risen all the way to the top and is happy and active, proceed to the next step.

Combine Pre-ferment Ingredients

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 cups milk or buttermilk (warm if it’s winter), 2 cups active sourdough starter, and 3 cups all purpose or bread flour.  Mix on low speed for a minute or so using the dough hook attachment.  Cover and allow to ferment in the bowl of the stand mixer overnight.  I like the Bosch mixer because it is so heavy duty, and also because it has a lid that can easily be put on while the bowl is on the stand mixer.  I like to complete this step in the evening before going to bed.

Mix Up The Bread

The next morning, add your fat of choice (I prefer butter and like it to be warm in winter and room temperature in summer), sweetener, salt, milk (warm in winter and cold in summer).  Turn on the mixer and allow to partially combine.  

Then add 5 cups of all purpose or bread flour and mix on medium speed for about 5-10 minutes.  This will help to develop the gluten and make the bread soft and pliable.  Then add another 4-6 cups of flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Continue to mix another couple minutes.  Turn off mixer and check to make sure dough isn’t really sticky.  You want it to be a little sticky, but not so sticky that you can’t handle it.  (See video below).  

First Rise

Put dough into a large oiled mixing bowl, cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours or until close to double.  If it’s winter and your house is cold, it may take longer to raise.  That’s okay, let it raise as long as it needs to until it gets close to doubling in size.  

Once dough has risen, punch it down and dump it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Shape into loaves by dividing dough into four pieces using a bench scraper.  Flatten each piece of dough into a rectangle.  Take each corner of dough that is closest to you and place in the middle of the rectangle forming a triangle.  Take tip of triangle that is closest to you and roll away from you until the dough has formed into a loaf.  Tuck the edges under if needed and place in greased loaf pans.  (See video below).

Second Rise

Allow dough to do it's second rise until its just above the edges of the loaf pans.  This usually takes another 2-3 hours, but watch them closely if your house is warm so they don’t raise too far and over ferment.

Bake

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Using a bread lame or razor blade, slash the tops of the loaves to allow more room for the loaf to expand.

Place loaves into oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread is 190 degrees.

Remove from the oven and bread pans, and place on cooling rack.  Brush the golden brown crust with butter to keep it nice and soft, and allow bread to cool.

Enjoy

Slice and enjoy a couple of slices with fresh butter and strawberry jam. There's nothing better!

Can be stored in a plastic bag on counter or refrigerator for up to a week, or frozen for up to three months. You can even slice and freeze a few slices in separate bags so you only have to take out a little bit of bread at a time.  It’s best to freeze bread the same day that it is baked for the freshest taste.

Notes

Example of Timing For Making Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Sourdough bread is so flexible, it can fit into any schedule.  Here’s a couple of examples of how you could fit sourdough baking into the margins of your day.

Option 1

  • In the morning, or sometime before noon, feed sourdough starter
  • 9:00 p.m. mix up the pre-ferment ingredients of starter, milk and flour
  • Anytime before 9:00 a.m. add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Allow to rise.
  • 11:00 a.m. if dough has risen enough, punch down and shape
  • 1:00 p.m. if dough has risen enough, bake.

Option 2

  • 7:00 a.m. Feed your sourdough starter
  • 12:00 p.m. Mix your pre-ferment ingredients
  • 9:00 p.m.  Add the rest of your ingredients and mix.  Place in refrigerator or other cool place for a slow overnight rise.
  • 7:00 a.m. Shape and allow to raise for a couple of hours.
  • 9:00 a.m.  If dough has risen enough, bake.

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19 Comments

  1. This looks so delicious! I really need to get back into sourdough again, I let my starter go! But will keep this recipe in mind and can’t wait to give it a try!

  2. This looks so yummy! I have been making sourdough bread using a “potato flake starter” and adding yeast. We love it. I would like to try this no yeast version but I have a question. Where do I get the starter that requires to be fed only flour and water. Is there a recipe for it or do I have to buy it. Thank you.

  3. Oh thank you! My recipe for a loaf is rather hard. Good for toast. I’m looking forward to making your recipe. Love me some nice soft bread!

  4. You make this look so very easy. I have my certified sourdough from around 1790 out on the counter, so I skipped your ‘feeding’ step, as mine is out of the fridge and active. I cut the recipe in half, just me and grandpa, don’t need 4 loaves. But my dough is very heavy, I’ve been letting it sit and nothing is rising. I’ll check again in the morning.

    Would you be able to re-right this for someone who already has active sourdough, don’t need to feed it as it’s ready to go? I think I may have messed it up. I have a Delongi mixer, very tough and sturdy, but the dough was so heavy it was struggling with just 3 cups of four! I began hand kneading, but no way at age 64 I can hand knead for 10 minutes. I don’t want this to be a failure, can you send me some instructions? Thank you.

    1. Hi Melissa, so when you say your sourdough is active, do you mean that it had risen to it’s peak? If it’s at it’s peak, then you can mix up the “leaven” which is the first step after feeding the starter. Then after the leaven sets overnight you can add the rest of the ingredients. It shouldn’t be heavy at all. Let me know, I’m here to help 🙂