The BEST Sourdough Sandwich Bread (Easy Recipe)

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Learn how to make this delicious, pillowy sourdough sandwich bread. Made with active or inactive sourdough stater, all-purpose flour, honey, butter, salt–and love. It features the coveted flavor of rustic sourdough, but with the fluffiness of classic, white sandwich bread.

Sourdough sandwich bread on wood tray with butter knife and butter

My husband and child are what I call “sandwich people.” Don’t me wrong. I like a sandwich, too. They, however, could sustain on sandwiches and only sandwiches. So having scratch-made sandwich bread around is a must.

In the past, I’ve made my family’s sandwich bread with commercial yeast. Though yeast breads take less time, the fast rise means I need to be available from start to finish. But between work, preschool schedules, and playdates, I can’t commit to being available at a specific time to bake.

Thankfully, this sourdough sandwich bread recipe doesn’t interfere with my schedule at all. The recipe requires about 10 minutes of hands-on time. There are no stretch and folds. It’s all sourdough magic of the course of 24 hours.

This sourdough sandwich bread has the coveted flavor of rustic no-knead sourdough, but with a soft crust and fluffy crumb. Without a doubt, it will rival any classic white bread you will find at the store.

Plus, unlike most store-bought bread it is made with wholesome, simple ingredients–and without commercial yeast.

Sourdough sandwich bread in stone loaf pan

Tips for Making Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Use active or inactive sourdough starter

Generally, I prefer to use active sourdough starter. When your starter is active and bubbly, it has the maximum amount of yeast and bacteria. In turn, that speeds up the bulk fermentation time.

However, you can definitely use inactive sourdough starter or sourdough discard if it hasn’t been too long since you fed it (within a week). You will just need to let it bulk ferment in a warm place longer than if you were using active starter.

Fun fact: the pictures on this very blog post are of my sourdough sandwich bread made with inactive sourdough discard!

Use a stand mixer

Although you could knead this by hand (if you have ripped arms), enriched doughs take a lot of kneading. The butter and honey can weaken the dough. As such, it is typical for recipes like this one to call for a long or “intensive mix.”

If enriched doughs are under-kneaded, your bread can leak butter or lack flavor. So make sure that after kneading, the dough is stretchy, smooth, and elastic.

When I make this recipe, I knead it on medium speed for about 10-15 minutes or until it is stretchy, smooth, and passes the window pane test. In short, that means if you can stretch the dough and see light without it tearing, you have developed enough gluten strength.

Three slices of bread on cooling rack

Cold proof sourdough sandwich bread overnight

Cold proofing your dough is what develops sourdough’s classic sour flavor. So, yes, you can make this recipe in one day. However, the flavor is much better when the dough rests overnight in the refrigerator.

I also find that it’s easier to bake the next day. For me, it’s hard to fit in making the dough, bulk fermenting, the second rise, and baking in one day. Cold proofing works better for my schedule, and it makes for better tasting bread.

Cold proofing tip: use a plastic grocery bag not plastic wrap to cover your dough. Often, plastic wrap is too tight and doesn’t leave room for the dough to rise (mine usually rises a little bit in the fridge). Instead, I slide the bread pan into a plastic grocery bag and knot it closed. That way, you can let the dough rise with a little headspace for expansion.

Bake to an internal temperature of 200° F

Generally, bread is considered “done” around 190° F. However, I have found that enriched doughs need to reach an internal temperature closer to 200° F. I recommend using a digital thermometer to check the the bread’s temp.


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    Sourdough sandwich bread on cooling rack

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How long does the dough need to bulk ferment?

    How long it takes to bulk ferment dough depends on environmental factors and how active your starter is. Enriched doughs take longer to bulk ferment. So this recipe, generally, takes 10-12 hours.

    The warmer the room, the faster your dough will ferment. If your house is cold or if you need to speed up the process, I recommend using a Brod & Taylor proofer.

    Is sourdough sandwich bread healthy?

    Sourdough sandwich bread is as healthy as bread can get! I can’t claim that it is low-calorie food. But it is made with real, wholesome ingredients: starter, flour, water, salt, honey, and butter. That’s it.

    Sourdough sandwich bread close up

    What can you make with sourdough sandwich bread?

    Sandwiches, of course! I’m a turkey sandwich kinda gal. But sourdough sandwich bread makes killer grilled cheese sandwiches and toast. I also like to use freeze dried eggs and soft sandwich bread for French toast, then drizzle it with warm maple syrup.

    You can also use your bread in more creative ways. For example, I like to repurpose leftover bread by making homemade croutons, sourdough breadcrumbs and sourdough fried chicken.

    Do you need to use warm water?

    Using warm water can help speed up the bulk fermentation (sometimes called the first rise). But if the water is over 120° F, it can kill the wild yeast. I like to stick with cool or lukewarm water to be on the safe side.

    Bulk fermented sourdough sandwich bread dough in decorative bowl

    Can you make sourdough sandwich bread in one day?

    Yes! If you want to make this in one day, you can skip the cold proof in the fridge. Once you shape it and put it in the bread pan, let the dough rise again until it has domed past the top of the loaf pan.

    Same-day sourdough sandwich bread won’t have as much sour flavor. The cold proofing is when the flavor develops. However, it will still be a delicious loaf of bread!

    Note: if you are using inactive starter or if your house is chilly, the bulk fermentation will take longer. So if time is of the essence, you will need to find a warm place to speed up the process.

    Do you need to use bread flour?

    Nope! I don’t always have bread flour on hand. But I do keep all-purpose flour in my pantry at all times. As such, I lean on recipes like this one that use all-purpose over bread flour.

    Bread flour can be substituted for all-purpose. However, because of bread flour’s high protein content, you might find that your sourdough sandwich bread is drier than you prefer. To prevent this, you can increase the water. Just make sure your dough isn’t too sticky before bulk fermenting.

    How do you store sandwich bread?

    Generally, I store my sandwich bread in a ziplock bag for up to 5 days. I don’t recommend fabric bread bags for sandwich bread because it will go stale quickly (though fabric bags work great for rustic sourdough).

    Can you freeze sandwich bread?

    Yes! Once the bread it completely cool, slice it up. Separate each piece with a little bit of parchment paper. Then, stick it in a freezer-safe ziplock bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.

    Sourdough sandwich bread with butter on decorative plate

    Tools You Will Need

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    • Kitchen scale – Weighing your ingredients will ensure precise and consistent results. Plus, if you weigh everything in one bowl, you will have far fewer dishes. It’s okay if you are off a gram here or there. Dough is much more forgiving than it’s given credit for.
    • Measuring cups and spoons – If you don’t have a kitchen scale, measuring cups and spoons will do the trick. The recipe has these measurements included in case you don’t have a scale.
    • Stand mixer with dough hook attachment – Enriched doughs like this recipe require intense mixing. Though you can knead this dough by hand, a stand mixer will make life much easier. The dough hook kneads quickly and makes for easy clean up (nothing gets stuck on it).
    • Large bowl – You will need a large bowl to bulk ferment your dough in.
    • Towel or lid – For bulk fermenting, you will need to cover your dough with a damp towel or loose lid. If you are using a proofing box with humidity control, however, you don’t need to cover your dough.
    • 9″ x 5″ bread pan – This recipe is made for a regular bread loaf pan. Make sure it is buttered to prevent sticking.
    Sourdough starter, honey, water, salt, butter, and flour on a countertop

    Ingredients

    • 58 g (1/4 cup) butter, softened and cubed
    • 21 g (1 tbsp) honey
    • 10 g (1/2 tbsp) salt
    • 113 g (1/2 cup) sourdough starter, active or inactive
    • 258 g (1 1/4 cup) water
    • 560 g (4 cups) all-purpose flour

    How to Make Sourdough Sandwich Bread

    Make the Dough

    Add all of the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer.

    Starting on low speed, mix the ingredients together using a dough hook attachment. Use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl.

    Woman pouring sourdough starter in mixing bowl

    Once the ingredients are mixed and the dough is shaggy, bump up the speed to medium. Then, knead until the dough is elastic and smooth.

    You will know it is ready when it passes the windowpane test. For me, this takes about 10-15 minutes (see notes about using a stand mixer for kneading dough).

    Woman stretching bread dough

    Bulk Ferment

    Drizzle a little bit of avocado or olive oil in a bowl. Use the oil in the bowl to lightly coat all sides of the dough. This will help prevent it from drying out during the first rise or bulk fermentation.

    Cover the dough with a loose lid or a damp towel. Let the dough bulk ferment at room temperature for 10-12 hours or until approximately doubled.

    The amount of time it will take to bulk ferment depends on the temperature of your house. If you need to speed things up, use a bread proofing box (pictured below) or stick it in the oven with the light on (don’t forget about it!).

    Woman placing dough in Brod & Taylor proofing box

    Once doubled, lightly grease a loaf pan. Set aside.

    Turn the dough out onto a clean counter.

    Woman turning out dough onto counter

    Gently shape the dough into a rectangle the same length as your loaf pan. Then, roll it up, short end to short end. Fold the ends toward the seam side. Pinch the seams closed.

    FOR SAME-DAY BAKING: Place dough in prepared bread pan and second rise until doubled and domed, usually 2-3 hours. After it has doubled, skip the baking instructions below. FOR NEXT DAY BAKING: Place the dough in the prepared pan. Cover with plastic (I use a plastic shopping bag) and refrigerate overnight, then continue second rise instructions below.

    Woman put loaf pan with dough in it into a plastic shopping bag

    The Next Morning

    The next morning, remove the dough from the fridge and uncover it. Allow it to sit at room temperature until it is puffy and domed past the top of the pan. For me, this usually takes 2-3 hours.

    Proofed dough in stoneware bread pan

    When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375° F. Bake for 45 minutes or until it reaches an internal temp of 200° F.

    Allow it to cool in the pan for a few minutes. Then, remove it from the loaf pan onto a wire cooling rack. Cool to room temperature before slicing.

    More Sourdough Recipes You’ll Love

    Sourdough sandwich bread on wood tray with butter knife and butter

    Sourdough Sandwich Bread

    Yield: 1 loaf
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 45 minutes
    Additional Time: 20 hours
    Total Time: 21 hours 5 minutes

    Learn how to make this delicious, pillowy sourdough sandwich bread. Made with active or inactive sourdough stater, all-purpose flour, honey, butter, salt--and love. It features the coveted flavor of rustic sourdough, but with the fluffiness of classic, white sandwich bread. This is a no-fuss recipe that can be made in one day or two, so it's perfect for beginners and busy bakers.

    Ingredients

    • 58 g (1/4 cup) butter, softened and cubed
    • 21 g (1 tbsp) honey
    • 10 g (1/2 tbsp) salt
    • 114 g (1/2 cup) sourdough starter, active or in active (see notes)
    • 258 g (1 1/4 cup) water
    • 560 g (4 cups) all-purpose flour

    Instructions

      1. Add all of the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer.
      2. Starting on low speed, mix the ingredients together using a dough hook attachment. Use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl.
      3. Once the ingredients are mixed and the dough is shaggy, bump up the speed to medium. Then, knead until the dough is elastic and smooth. You will know it is ready when it passes the windowpane test. For me, this takes about 10-15 minutes (see notes about using a stand mixer for kneading dough).
      4. Drizzle a little bit of avocado or olive oil in a bowl. Use the oil in the bowl to lightly coat all sides of the dough. This will help prevent it from drying out during the first rise or bulk fermentation.
      5. Cover the dough with a loose lid or a damp towel. Let the dough bulk ferment at room temperature for 10-12 hours or until approximately doubled.
      6. The amount of time it will take to bulk ferment depends on the temperature of your house. If you need to speed things up, use a bread proofing box (pictured below) or stick it in the oven with the light on (don't forget about it!).
      7. Once doubled, lightly grease a loaf pan. Set aside.
      8. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter.
      9. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle the same length as your loaf pan. Then, roll it up, short end to short end. Fold the ends toward the seam side. Pinch the seams closed.
      10. FOR SAME-DAY BAKING: Place dough in prepared bread pan and second rise until doubled and domed, usually 2-3 hours. After it has doubled, skip to Step 2 below. FOR NEXT DAY BAKING: Place the dough in the prepared pan. Cover with plastic (I use a plastic shopping bag) and refrigerate overnight.

    The Next Day

    1. The next day, remove the dough from the fridge and uncover it. Allow it to sit at room temperature until it is puffy and domed past the top of the pan. For me, this usually takes 2-3 hours.
    2. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375° F. Bake for 45 minutes or until it reaches an internal temp of 200° F.
    3. Allow it to cool in the pan for a few minutes. Then, remove it from the loaf pan onto a wire cooling rack. Cool to room temperature before slicing.

    Notes

    • You can use inactive sourdough starter if it hasn't been too long since you fed it (within a week). You will just need to allow it to bulk ferment longer.
    • KitchenAid recently suggested that their mixers should not knead dough on speeds higher than 2 and for no longer than a few minutes. This conflicts with many enriched dough recipes. I have not had any issues with my KitchenAid Professional. But you should be aware of their current recommendations before putting your mixer to the test.
    • You can make this recipe in one day. Instead of cold proofing overnight, just let the dough double in the loaf pan, then bake. You will lose some of the sourdough flavor without the cold proofing. But it is still a delicious loaf of bread!

    Nutrition Information:
    Serving Size: 1 slice
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200

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    Did you make this recipe?

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