Round crusty loaves of bread are both beautiful and delicious, but sometimes they can be difficult to use for a sandwich. Not only can thick crust be hard to bite into, but the often wider shape of the slices doesn’t lend itself well to holding filling. If I want a piece of toast to go with my pasta or to play around with technically challenging sourdough recipes, sign me up for crusty bread without question. That said, there is a time and a place for a simple, unassuming sourdough sandwich bread. As someone who hasn’t bought bread from the store in about a year now, sandwich loaves are often the more practical loaf to have on hand for meals.
Even though I’ve successfully baked sandwich bread in the past, I had yet to find a simple sourdough sandwich bread recipe with a rich sourdough flavor. The recipe that I originally used for sandwich bread is wonderful; however, the flavor profile is mild and sweet. My goal was to create a soft sandwich bread without sugar that honors the beauty of sourdough. It took a few attempts, but I finally got the loaf that I was looking for.
I will be completely honest and say that without a long second rise, about 5-6 hours depending on the temperature, the loaf has a tendency to split on the side. The last few times I’ve made it with a 5 ½ hour second rise and was able to avoid the split. For reference, I keep my house ~73 degrees. My mom has tested this recipe for me twice now, and both of her loaves have split. That said, she told me not to change the recipe because of how enjoyable the taste and texture were. The variance in her outcomes could also be from all-purpose versus bread flour (which I use) or the stone loaf pan that she uses, as the same thing happened with other baker’s recipes.
This is a great loaf to bake if you are new to sourdough or a busy mom like me. With very little hands-on time and not a lot of advance prep, it doesn’t get much easier than this. Here are a few notes to get you started. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family and I do.
- Stretch and folds: This video is short and provides a great example. Note that this loaf’s dough may not stretch as much as shown in the video.
- Getting the air out
- Tightening the dough
- After the second rise and ready to bake- this photo was taken after a 5 1/2 hour rise.
Reach out if you have any feedback or questions. If you enjoy the recipe or this type of post, don’t hesitate to comment below!
Sourdough Sandwich Bread
- 90 g sourdough starter bubbly and active
- 285 g warm water approximately 100º F
- 485 g flour bread or all-purpose
- 15 g olive oil
- 10 g salt
- Using a scale to measure, first add the starter into a large bowl. Mix in the warm water and stir until the starter fully combines with the water.
- Add the flour, oil, and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until a rough ball starts to form. The dough will be very thick and reluctant to incorporate all the flour. Finish mixing by hand until all the flour has been absorbed, coating your hands in flour to prevent sticking.
- Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let the dough rest for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, ease the dough from the sides of the bowl and perform a set of stretch and folds. To do this, grab the dough at the top of the bowl and stretch it upwards. Fold the stretched dough over itself and press it into the middle of the bowl. Rotate the bowl ¼ of the circle and repeat until the dough starts to form a ball, going around the bowl about 2 times. Note that this dough is slightly tight and may not stretch much. Flip the dough over, seam-side down.
- Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rise at room temperature for its bulk rise, (8-12 hours depending on the temperature). Allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size and appears puffy. I like to let mine rise overnight.
- Once doubled in size, lightly flour your workspace. Carefully remove the dough and stretch it into a loose rectangle.
- Press your fingertips into the dough (almost as if you are typing), leaving small imprints to release the extra air. Roll the dough lengthwise into a log. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. After 10 minutes, carefully drag the log towards you across your workspace, allowing friction to tighten its shape and surface.
- Place the log into the pan, seam-side down. Cover and let rise for 4-6 hours at room temperature or until the dough has risen to about 1” above the top of the loaf pan.
- In the last 30 minutes of the rise, preheat oven to 375º F.
- Once the dough has finished its rise, bake for 40 minutes. The top of the loaf should be golden.
- Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes on a cooling rack, and then remove the bread once cooled enough to handle. Wait at least 1 hour before slicing.
- An example baking schedule:
- 10:00am- Feed sourdough starter
- 8:00pm- Prepare bread dough and rest for 1 hour
- 9:00pm- Complete set of folds and let sit overnight for the bulk rise
- 7:00am- Shape loaf and place in pan for second rise
- 2:00pm- Bake
- I almost always use bread flour, as I find it creates a chewier texture; however, all-purpose flour will still create a delicious bread.