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Easy Soft Sourdough Sandwich Bread Recipe

This Soft Sourdough Sandwich Bread is an easy, low maintenance sourdough bread recipe that yields the best loaves of soft sourdough. All you need is a few simple ingredients like all purpose flour, butter and a bubbly and active sourdough starter and you’ll have delicious, fluffy bread that everyone will love.

pinterest graphic for soft sourdough sandwich bread

There are a few sourdough recipes that I make weekly – Sourdough Dutch Oven Bread, Sourdough Pancakes, and this Soft Sourdough Sandwich Bread. Of the two bread recipes, this is the one my kids prefer. They love the soft crust and fluffy inside of this sandwich bread over the crusty crust and chewy interior of the artisan style sourdough bread. Both are so delicious, but this one is the best for a basic weekday breakfast or lunch. We love it toasted with a fried egg in the morning or made into a hearty sandwich for lunch. It is also so delicious with a bowl of homemade soup, or just eaten with butter right out of the oven. Ask me how I know. 🙂

If you’re still buying store-bought bread, this might be the sourdough recipe that changes your mind. It comes together easily in a stand mixer and doesn’t require very much hands on time at all. And maybe the best part about making it yourself? It doesn’t contain any of the junk found in the long list of unpronounceables found on the side of the bread bag at the store. Only real ingredients and natural leavening here!

In this post, you’ll find step-by-step instructions to make the perfect sandwich bread. 

what is sourdough?

Let’s start at the very beginning. What is sourdough bread? Great question! Sourdough bread is bread that has been leavened naturally, by naturally occurring yeast in the form of a sourdough starter as opposed to using commercial yeast or a chemical leavening agent such as baking powder or baking soda.

what is a sourdough starter?

A sourdough starter is a live fermented culture of fresh flour and water. Once combined, the culture will begin to ferment and cultivate the natural yeasts found in our environment. A small portion is added to your bread dough to make it rise, assuming you are using a healthy and active starter. Commercial yeast is not required. 

This makes sense when you understand that natural “wild” yeast is all around us. It can be found in a bag of flour, in the air, on your hands etc. When we are able to capture that yeast and nurture it enough to grow and strengthen, we can add it to many different kinds of recipes. You can make your own sourdough starter at home by following these instructions: HERE…. or you could purchase a starter that has been dehydrated at it’s strongest state and rehydrate it at home. This is the method I recommend.

I highly suggest starting with a dehydrated sourdough starter that you rehydrate and activate in your own kitchen. This way, you are guaranteed to have a strong and active starter from the start. This will give you the confidence to begin sourdough baking right away. Once you have the hang of sourdough baking and know what to expect, then you can attempt to create your own starter. This way, you will be well acquainted with a healthy starter and know how to troubleshoot if issues arise.

a sandwich made on soft sourdough sandwich bread cut in half to reveal meat cheese tomatoes and greens

You can purchase the exact same sourdough starter that I use in my kitchen every single day from my Etsy shop HERE.

Soft Sourdough Sandwich Bread:

ingredients you’ll need-

equipment you’ll need-

What if I don’t have a stand mixer? You can easily make this recipe without a stand mixer. After mixing and resting the dough, knead by hand on a lightly floured work surface for 8-10 minutes, or until the dough has become glossy and smooth and passes the windowpane test.

What size loaf pans should I use? I recommend 9×5 inch loaf pans. 8.5×4 inch work well too, but they will produce a taller loaf of bread. 

Do I have to use bread flour? You do not have to use bread flour, you can sub the same amount of all purpose flour instead. Bread flour produces a softer, fluffier texture, but all purpose flour is a very comparable and usually less expensive.

Is there any way to make this bread faster? Remember that temperature controls the time when it comes to sourdough. A warmer environment will help speed up the process if you’re hoping for a same-day bread. I include more details about how to do this later in the post. 

how to make homemade sourdough sandwich bread

mix the dough

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add melted butter, warm water, active sourdough starter. honey/maple syrup, salt and half of the flour. Mix with the paddle attachment until all of the ingredients are well combined. Add the rest of the flour and switch to the dough hook. Knead on low speed for 7-8 minutes, or until the dough is glossy and smooth and passes the windowpane test. The dough should feel soft and slightly sticky, but not too sticky to handle. It will be quite sticky when you first begin kneading, but will become less sticky as it comes together. After 7-8 minutes of kneading, if it is too sticky to handle, add some more flour (just a little bit at a time).

bulk rise

This is the first rise or the “bulk fermentation.” Bulk fermentation is the longest period of time during the fermentation process. Put all of the dough into a buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Leave the dough at room temperature overnight or for 10-12 hours. The dough is ready when it has doubled in size. 

shape the dough

The next morning, spread melted butter into two loaf pans. Divide the dough in half and shape. To shape the dough, roll it out into a large rectangle. Stretch the sides as far as you can without breaking or tearing, and press down gently on the dough to release any of the large bubbles. Using the short sides, fold the dough into thirds, like a letter. Then starting at the short end, roll the dough up into a log. Tuck the ends underneath so only the smooth, round top is exposed. Repeat for the other piece of dough. Place each one into a buttered loaf pan seam side down. Cover with a damp towel and let the dough rise again.

second rise

Now the dough needs to rise again. The second rise can take anywhere from 3-6 hours depending on the temperature of your house. If it’s warm, it will rise more quickly. The dough is ready to bake when it is about 1 inch above the rim of the pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 

bake

Place the loaf pans side by side on the center rack. Bake for 40 minutes. The crust will be golden brown. When the bread is done, turn the loaves out of the loaf pans onto a wire cooling rack. If you want the crust to soften, rub butter onto the crust. For best results, let it cool for at least one hour before slicing. 

sample baking schedule:

Day 1-

Morning: Feed your sourdough starter a 1:1:1 ratio so that it is active and bubbly by evening. 

6-8 PM: Mix dough and start the overnight rise.

Day 2- 

8 AM: Divide dough into two loaves and shape, let rise. 

12-2 PM: Bake!

how to speed up the fermentation process –

It is possible to make same day sourdough sandwich bread using this recipe. In order to do this, you need to have active and bubbly sourdough starter first thing in the morning. This will only work if your starter is very active. The night before, feed your starter a 1:4:4 ratio (1 part starter, 4 parts flour, 4 parts water). First thing in the morning, mix the dough and start the bulk fermentation. Then, find a warm place for the dough to rise. A great way to do this would be to use a heating pad underneath your bowl. This will warm the dough without making it too hot. 80 degrees F is ideal. Early afternoon, divide the dough into two loaf pans and rise again, using something to keep the dough warm. Bake in the evening after the dough has risen about 1 inch over the rim of the pans.

Because temperature is so influential in the sourdough process, the weather can play a big part. If you are baking on a hot summer day with no A/C, you could easily follow this schedule without adding supplemental heat. But if the average temperature of your kitchen is 68-70ish degrees, then the standard baking schedule will work well. 

a sandwich made on soft sourdough sandwich bread cut in half to reveal meat cheese tomatoes and greens

how to store leftover bread

The best way to store your homemade bread is in a plastic bag with a zipper or twist tie. Only slice what you need so that the rest doesn’t dry out. This homemade sourdough white bread is best within the first few days of baking. Leftovers can be frozen fresh as well! 

how to freeze sourdough sandwich bread

If you will not use two loaves of bread in the first few days after baking, I highly recommend freezing one of them whole right away in a plastic bag. If you prefer, you could slice it up so you’re able to just take out one or two slices at a time, as needed. 

check out these other sourdough recipes!

printable recipe card

soft sourdough sandwich bread cut open

Soft Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Yield: 2 loaves sandwich bread
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 55 minutes

This Soft Sourdough Sandwich Bread is an easy, low maintenance sourdough bread recipe that yields the best loaves of soft sourdough. All you need is a few simple ingredients all purpose flour, butter and a bubbly and active sourdough starter and you'll have delicious, fluffy bread that everyone will love.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup softened or melted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 cups bubbly and active sourdough starter
  • 2 T honey or maple syrup
  • 1 T salt
  • 8 cups bread flour

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add melted butter, warm water, active sourdough starter. honey, salt and half of the flour. Mix with the paddle attachment until all of the ingredients are well combined. Add the rest of the flour and switch to the dough hook. Knead on low speed for 7-8 minutes, or until the dough is glossy and smooth and passes the windowpane test. The dough should feel soft and slightly sticky, but not too sticky to handle. It will be quite sticky when you first begin kneading, but will become less sticky as it comes together. After 7-8 minutes of kneading, if it is too sticky to handle, add some more flour (just a little bit at a time).
  2. Put all of the dough into a buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Leave the dough at room temperature overnight or for 10-12 hours. The dough is ready when it has doubled in size. 
  3. The next morning, spread melted butter into two loaf pans. Divide the dough in half and shape. To shape the dough, roll it out into a large rectangle. Stretch the sides as far as you can without breaking or tearing, and press down gently on the dough to release any of the large bubbles. Using the short sides, fold the dough into thirds, like a letter. Then starting at the short end, roll the dough up into a log. Tuck the ends underneath so only the smooth, round top is exposed. Repeat for the other piece of dough. Place each one into a buttered loaf pan seam side down. Cover with a damp towel and let the dough rise again.
  4. Now the dough needs to rise again. The second rise can take anywhere from 3-6 hours depending on the temperature of your house. If it's warm, it will rise more quickly. The dough is ready to bake when it is about 1 inch above the rim of the pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
  5. Place the loaf pans side by side on the center rack. Bake for 40 minutes. The crust will be golden brown. When the bread is done, turn the loaves out of the loaf pans onto a wire cooling rack. If you want the crust to soften, rub butter onto the crust. For best results, let it cool for at least one hour before slicing. 

Notes

The best way to store your homemade bread is in a plastic bag with a zipper or twist tie. Only slice what you need so that the rest doesn't dry out. This homemade sourdough white bread is best within the first few days of baking. Leftovers can be frozen fresh as well! 

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pinterest graphic for soft sourdough sandwich bread

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