Soft Sandwich Sourdough

Crusty boules and batards are wonderful, but do you sometimes want a nice soft sandwich bread to replicate that timeless, comfortable and comforting PB & J of your childhood? This should do it, and it’s a lot better than Wonder Bread (because it’s made with dough — and sourdough! —  not batter).

As with most pan breads, removing the loaves from the pans once their structure is set, and letting them finish the bake standing directly on the stone, helps the side crusts brown. If you don’t have a stone, you can place them right on the oven rack if you don’t mind a few grooves on the bottom of the loaves, or on a baking sheet that has been preheated with the oven.

Size matters! If your loaf pans are not 8.5 x 4.5 inches, you will need to adjust the amount of dough proportionally, with respect to the volume of the pan, to avoid loaves that are too short or tall. If your pans are 9 x 5 inches, use about 880 grams of dough per loaf.

Soft Sandwich Sourdough

Yield: 1500 g (two loaves in 8.5 x 4.5-inch pans)

Time:

  • Mix: 10 minutes
  • First fermentation : 3 hours with folds at 1 and 2 hours
  • Preshape, rest, and shape: 35 minutes
  • Proof: about 3 hours
  • Bake: 45 minutes

Desired dough temperature: 77F

Ingredients:

  • 622 g flour
  • 323 g water
  • 16.2 g salt
  • 65 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 31 g honey
  • 33 g milk powder
  • 411 g mature 100%-hydration sourdough starter

Method:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all of the ingredients except about 10% of the water. Mix in low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, adjusting the water as needed to achieve a medium dough consistency (you may need additional water).
  2. Continue mixing to in medium speed to a medium-high level of gluten development.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container. Cover and ferment for 3 hours, with folds after the first 1 and 2 hours.
  4. Turn the dough into a lightly floured counter. Divide it in half. Preshape each piece into a cylinder and let rest, covered, for about 25 minutes.
  5. Generously butter two 8.5 x 4.5-inch loaf pans.
  6. Shape the dough tightly into blunt batards and place them, seam-side-down, into the prepared pans.
  7. Proof, covered, for 3 hours, or until the top of the dough has risen to about 1.5 inches above the edge of the pan.
  8. Meanwhile, preheat the oven, with baking stone, to 425F. You will also need steam during the initial phase of baking, so prepare for this now.
  9. Once the loaves are in the oven, reduce the temperature to 400F. Bake for 15 minutes with steam, and another 10 minutes without steam. Then remove the loaves from the pans, place them directly on the stone, and bake for another 20 minutes or so, until the crust is a deep golden brown.
  10. Cool on a wire rack.

Post a comment » 26 Comments

  1. A very nice looking loaf Susan. I have only experimented with soft sourdough sandwich loaves at work once with mediocre success. I think I will try this recipe out at home for my fiancé though.
    Sounds delicious for grilled cheese.

  2. thanks for this, sister!

  3. Hooray! My husband–though loving the crusty boules and batards–has been gently asking if a “plain old sandwich loaf” could get thrown into the baking mix. A sourdough sandwich loaf should satisfy both of us–looking forward to trying this. Thanks, Susan!

  4. Beautiful loaf, Susan! I am wondering – could I just substitute milk for the water and milk powder instead? I don’t have any milk powder. :)

  5. What a gorgeous loaf of bread! I can tell just how soft it is from the photo. I’ll keep this recipe on hand for my next PB&J craving.

  6. Just baked this, with great results. Do you think this recipe would work with overnight (or longer) retardation at the bulk rise? I also got larger bubbles under the top crust that collapsed after baking, giving a kind of wrinkled appearance. Any suggestions? When you spoke of shaping the dough “tightly” did you degas it vigorously before shaping?
    I’ll certainly make it again! Thanks.

  7. beautiful, beautiful has the right idea of ??being soft soft

  8. Faythe — try it with milk. However, my understanding is that liquid milk contains glutathione, which acts as a dough relaxer, so it may make the dough more slack than you want. But the glutathione in milk powder has been deactivated somehow. Scalding the milk might have the same effect.

    Greg — Yes, it should be degassed before shaping. The crust bubbles might indicate that the dough was a bit overproofed.

  9. Just made this last night and got the thumbs up from my wife and I. I used dried buttermilk powder and let the loaves sit in the fridge overnight after putting them in the pans. Turned out great. After making EVERY loaf of bread by hand for 3 years we got a Bosch, so I’ve been wanting to find a few good mixer/sandwich recipes. This will be a recipe I use a lot I think – a good base to experiment with. Thanks.

  10. I baked this bread yesterday and I am really thrilled about it.

    Since I bake with sourdough, also since ten years, I tried to find a good sandwich bread made with sourdough. So I tried a lot of recipes, but yours is absolutely the best one.

    Thank you for this gorgeous recipe!

  11. This might actually persuade my family to start eating sourdough! Thanks!

  12. Have you experimented with substituting some of the white flour with whole wheat or other whole grains?

  13. Deborah, no I haven’t yet. So far I’m leaving that as an exercise for the reader ;)

  14. Made this bread yesterday, and it came out awesome. Nice creamy, tangy, amazing sourdough aroma. I had to use about 15-20 g less water but that could be because of many factors like flour, temperature, humidy, etc.

    Thanks Susan, for the wonderful recipe.

  15. Susan,
    Thanks so much for all your postings and hard work with this blog, it is appreciated by so many people.

    My question is, how would I change the ingredients for your Soft Sourdough Sandwich Bread to include some 5 or 7 Grain Cereal ? The bread looks so good, thanks.

  16. Hi Susan, thanks for your wonderful blog. I’ve made these loaves several times and love them. They rise beautifully and taste divine. I usually sub about 50g or more of the flour for wheat germ and flax meal. I’m about to make them again, and thought it was time to post my thanks. Perfect recipe!!

  17. Hello, thank you so much for sharing your recipes and methods, I doubt I would have attempted sourdough without your blog. One question on measurements, they are so precise — what scales do you use as I doubt mine are accurate or sensitive enough so when they need replacing I may as well get ones that do the job for bread making. Thank you.

  18. Joanne, this post has links to some scales: http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2008/03/02/weigh-your-ingredients/

  19. hi there,
    are there any tricks to getting it to rise like that?

    also what is the purpose of the stone and where does it go since pans are used? I assume under the pans?

    I assume you used the tray o rocks for the steam? whole time or just part time steam?
    thanks
    Nick

  20. Hi there. Thank you for sharing your recipes and your knowledge. I’ve been working with this recipe for several weeks now. It was my first successful attempt at sourdough sandwich bread. The first batch, while edible and actually ok, just wasn’t what I was looking for, but that was the nut behind the wheel, not the recipe. The second attempt was wonderful, and it’s just gotten better from there! My latest batch was made with half whole wheat and half white, and I used a soaker on the whole wheat. This recipe tolerates massive creative experimentation well.

    Btw, a big thank you for pointing out the tip on the pan sizes. I’ve been baking for a long time, but never came across anyone talking about this, and consequently a lot of my loaves came out too small because I have large pans. Now that I know what my dough weight should be, I’ve converted all of my recipes to grams and adjusted so that my final dough weight will fit my pans perfectly, and my loaves turn out SO much better now. THANK YOU!!!

  21. Wow!!! This recipe is perfrct and so easy to follow! I don’t think I will ever buy store sandwich bread again! Thank you!

  22. Hi there, I discovered your site by means of Google at the same time as looking for a similar subject, your site came up, it seems to be great. I have added to my favourites|added to bookmarks.

  23. I drop a comment each time I like a post on a site or if I have something to
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  24. Great recipe. My dough was a little wet and I had a larger pan to work with so I went ahead added some whole wheat flour. timing was pretty spot on for me. Excellent directions, especially helpful were the tips on pan size and flour weights. Bread turned out very similar to the kids’ favorite store bought sandwich bread. Made an excellent grilled ham salad sandwich for lunch, reminiscent of my childhood. Thank you! Looking forward to trying more recipes from you site.

  25. Here are the conversions for two 9×5 loaf pans, using the suggestion to shoot for 880 grams per loaf, which is a bump of 17.3%. I used these and it turned out great.

    730 g flour
    379 g water
    19 g salt
    76 g unsalted butter at room temperature
    36 g honey
    39 g milk powder
    482 g mature 100%-hydration sourdough starter

  26. After eating this for the first time yesterday, my family informs me they’ll never eat anything else! Thank you for posting this recipe, I know it represents lots of hard work.

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