Soft sourdough sandwich bread

sourdough sandwich bread

There are many variations of this soft sourdough bread already on this site, but not one for good old white sourdough sandwich bread. This recipe makes a wonderfully soft loaf that my kids gladly eat plain, but it makes a mean sandwich and french toast as well. Using sourdough adds depth of flavor and keeps it fresh for multiple days! You can see me mix a similar style of dough in my Instagram story highlights (“Swirl Bread”), and there are lots of tips in previous posts on how to successfully make this style of bread. In summary, a thorough kneading, proper shaping, and full proofing are key to getting the right “shreddable” texture. It takes a little practice but I think it’s well worth the effort!

sourdough sandwich bread loaf

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Soft Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Makes one 9x4x4 or 9×5 loaf (I absolutely love using my Pullman Pan for this!)
Adapted from The Fresh Loaf

Ingredients

For the levain:

  • 18g ripe sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 30g milk
  • 56g bread flour

Mix together and let ripen at room temperature until mature.

Final dough:

  • 276g flour (I use half AP/half bread)
  • 34g sugar
  • 34g butter, softened
  • 1 large egg (~50g)
  • 6g salt
  • 134g milk
  • 20g milk powder
  • All of the levain

Method

  1. Mix together all final dough ingredients except the salt and butter until just combined. Cover and autolyse (rest) for 30 minutes.
  2. Add salt, and knead dough until gluten is moderately developed. The dough will start out sticky and rough but should gradually come together and feel quite smooth and stretchy. Add butter in two batches, mixing the first completely before adding the second. Continue kneading until the gluten is very well developed and the dough passes the windowpane test as demonstrated here. The dough should be smooth and supple (and quite lovely to handle!). This will take quite some time, especially if done by hand. Consider it your arm workout for the day!
  3. Transfer to a clean and lightly oiled bowl, cover, and bulk rise at room temp for 2 hours. The dough will be noticeably expanded, but not doubled. Fold, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
  4. The next day, take the dough out and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Divide it into 3 or 4 equal parts and lightly shape each into a ball. Rest for one hour, covered by lightly oiled plastic.
  5. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll each ball into an oval and roll up (like a jelly roll). Rest for 10 minutes. Roll each piece into an oval again, along the seam, and re-roll as tightly as possible. Transfer rolls to a loaf pan, seam sides down. Cover loosely with plastic and allow to rise about 6 hours at room temperature. The dough should be well risen, puffy, and fill the pan about 80% (if using a Pullman Pan).
  6. About 1 hour before baking, preheat oven to 400F. After the dough has finished proofing, transfer to oven and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 350F and continue baking for 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature is at least 195F. If the loaf is browning too quickly, tent a piece of foil over the top to keep from burning. When the loaf is finished, immediately turn it onto a rack. Brush melted butter over the top and sides while the loaf is still warm, if desired. Allow to cool before slicing.

sourdough sandwich bread slice

26 thoughts on “Soft sourdough sandwich bread

  1. Hi Ruth! I made this loaf today (inspired by your Instagram to make a soft loaf to feed my baby daughter now that she’s into solids!) and it was awesome. Thank you for sharing!

    1. You’ll probably want to experiment but I made this loaf for years (from the original recipe on The Fresh Loaf) in my longer pullman and I increased it by about 50%. I would divide the dough into 5 rolls for shaping the loaf in the longer narrower pan.

  2. I already made this with 12 hours fermented since i am too lazy to wake up in the middle of the night just to bake one loaf. And yet it is still taste beautiful. I wonder if i follow the timeline, hmm.
    oh, and i just did slap and fold method a few times without achieving the window pane stage.

    i will try to make it again after we finished it with shorter period of fermented time. Thank you for sharing

  3. I have several dozen sourdough loaves under my belt. But this would be my first time baking a soft sandwich bread. I am really struggling to understand the rationale behind step#5. Why are we flattening the dough with a rolling pin over and over again?

    1. Hi! This shaping technique is to create a very even, “shreddable” crumb which is typical of soft Asian style breads. You can just shape it like a regular sandwich loaf but the crumb will probably be more irregular — not a bad thing, just different!

  4. Hi! Firstly – I love your feed in instagram and have two little girls myself. I often find myself doubling over at your stories.

    Very keen to try this soft sourdough for my girls. However I am unsure as to when the levain is ripe or mature enough to use.

    I bake from feeding my starter equal amounts of water and flour and then it’s ready in a couple of hours. I used 18g of this ripe starter to mix with the 56g of flour and 30g of milk. It’s very stiff and I can’t see any bubbles forming. It’s very dough-like as opposed to the very watery sponge I use for my loaves.

    Is it suppose to develop some air bubbles at some point? How many hours do you let it ripen?

    Thank you for all te info and inspiration!

      1. Hi Lauren, see my response to Elmarie above. It is a stiff levain but should still double to triple in size before using, usually within 6-12 hours. Good luck!

  5. Hi! Firstly – I love your feed in instagram and have two little girls myself. I often find myself doubling over at your stories.

    Very keen to try this soft sourdough for my girls. However I am unsure as to when the levain is ripe or mature enough to use.

    I bake from feeding my starter equal amounts of water and flour and then it’s ready in a couple of hours. I used 18g of this ripe starter to mix with the 56g of flour and 30g of milk. It’s very stiff and I can’t see any bubbles forming. It’s very dough-like as opposed to the very watery sponge I use for my loaves.

    Is it suppose to develop some air bubbles at some point? How many hours do you let it ripen?

    Thank you for all te info and inspiration!

    1. Hi there! The levain in this recipe is a stiff one, so what you’re describing is perfectly normal. You’ll know it’s ready when it’s roughly tripled in size and the dome on top is starting to flatten a bit — usually 6-12 hours depending on your environment. Hope that helps! Let me know how it goes!

    1. I use a 9x4x4 pullman pan (under the 3rd picture there’s a direct link to the pan I like), but a 9×5 loaf pan works too!

  6. Hi Ruth, I have tried baking the recipe and it turned out great! Soft, supple and milky slices that my family enjoyed. Thanks for sharing.
    – Jen –

    1. I would say at least half an hour the first time. It gets faster as you get more experience as to what to look for!

  7. Hi Ruth, ive been baking soft bread from just flour, water, dry yeast & butter. Just wondering if you have done one without the egg & milk? Would i still get a soft bread if i replace milk with water and omit the egg all together? Btw ive just started to make tartine sourdough bread but wanted to use my starter for a soft sandwich loaf so its easier for my kids to eat. Appreciate your reply!

    1. Hi! There are definitely sandwich bread recipes out there with no egg or milk, though both these ingredients are tenderizers so they do add a lot in that sense. For this particular recipe I don’t know what result you will get if you eliminate the egg and milk as they are pretty key ingredients. You might want to start with a recipe that is already egg and milk free. If you do try it, I would replace the egg with additional water. Hope that helps!

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