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)


  • 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


  • 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


  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.

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. says

    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. says

    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!

  3. says

    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. :)

  4. says

    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.

  5. Greg Schultz says

    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.

  6. says

    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.

    • Liz says

      My mom taught me to always scald the milk you are using for bread. I used to wonder whether it was because she was using raw milk, but I still scald my pasteurized milk to be on the safe side. This recipe seems to complicate what I’ve found to be a pretty simple process. The recipe I use is really similar to a commercially yeasted bread in terms of process. It calls for an initial rest period of 20 minutes after mixing the ingredients together and an initially kneading. Then you add the salt and knead again for 5 minutes. After that it’s just like doing any other conventional sandwich bread recipe (except for the time). The rising time in the bowl is totally temperature dependent. On a hot day it may take no more than a couple of hours, on a day when the kitchen is 65 degrees it may take 4 or 5. When the dough is doubled in size you shape it into loaves and let rise until it’s doubled again (well above the rim of the pan). Then bake at 375 until it’s fairly dark brown (maybe 25 minutes to half an hour – I totally don’t time it, but go by the smell to check it). I don’t put any water in the oven because we happen to like a relatively soft crust. If you like a really soft crust you can butter the loaves when the come out of the oven, but that will make the crust wrinkly. My recipe has milk, butter, and honey in it, and it comes out absolutely perfect every single time. It’s actually been more consistent for me than using commercial yeast recipes. It just requires patience when dealing with the rise. Because of the long rise it doesn’t hurt at all (and makes things easier when shaping the loaves) if you dampen the tea towel you are putting over the bowl it rises in. The same towel will be only slightly damp by the time you put it in the pans, but you can use it that way there too. The original recipe had you use plastic wrap instead of a towel, but I’ve found the towel works just fine (I don’t even always dampen it).

  7. jef says

    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.

  8. says

    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!

  9. Kay says

    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.

  10. Leamlass says

    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.

  11. Life of Pie says

    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!!

  12. Joanne says

    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.

  13. Nick says

    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?

  14. Rose says

    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!!!

  15. Andrea says

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

  16. says

    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.

  17. says

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  18. Stephanie says

    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.

  19. says

    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

  20. Suzan says

    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.

  21. Nora says

    Just a perfect loaf! Have substituted the water & milk powder for plain milk..with great results.

    • Skye says

      Hi, I also can’t use milk powder, but can use goats milk. How did you replace the Milk Powder? ie same weight?

  22. Adelina says

    I’d love to try this, but I can’t use milk powder, is there a way for me try this out without the milk powder? Does anyone know?

    Thank you so much!

  23. Katherine says

    Wow! This bread is delicious! Thank you for posting it. I recently found your blog and I can’t wait to make more of your recipes. I am new to sourdough and your descriptions and recipes are extremely helpful. I used Jesse’s conversion to make it in 9×5 pans…so thanks for saving me the math work!

    Grand Rapids, MI

  24. Maria says

    Thanks a lot for this recipe. I have been baking it once a week for the last month and it has been always a success. I baked it a couple of times substituting half of the flour for whole wheat and the results were equally fulfilling. In addition, the loaves stay fresh at room temperature for more than 5 days (in a desert climate). I just keep them inside of a cloth bag. Thanks again!

  25. mary says

    Do you need to do a final build with your starter before making the dough? Or do you just use starter that was fed 24 hours ago for your dough and feed the rest?

  26. Elaine says

    Would love to try this. I may have some milk powder around here somewhere. Would this work equally as well with fresh milled flour? I am thinking hard white. I am new to sourdough, so this will be an experience for me.

  27. Lisa says

    Thank you south for this recipe. My family has declared it the best bread I have ever made! And I’ve been making bread for 20 years–my children hate store bought bread because they just aren’t accustomed to it. I’ve got my third batch in the oven now. I tripled the recipe today because we go through it so fast. I just wrap and freeze the extra loaves. Also it keeps me from baking so much in the summer. Thanks again and I’ll be trying more things on your site!

  28. Lisa says

    Thank you so much for this recipe. My family has declared it the best bread I have ever made! And I’ve been making bread for 20 years–my children hate store bought bread because they just aren’t accustomed to it. I’ve got my third batch in the oven now. I tripled the recipe today because we go through it so fast. I just wrap and freeze the extra loaves. Also it keeps me from baking so much in the summer. Thanks again and I’ll be trying more things on your site!

  29. Susan says

    Thanks so much for this recipe. It satisfies my husband’s need for a softer crust and my need to make sourdough. I start with Peter Reinhart’s whole wheat “mother starter” (1:2.25:3) and feed it 3 times with whole wheat at 1:3:3. I follow the directions up to step 6 and then put it in the fridge overnight. I let it proof on the counter for about four hours and then bake. Absolutely wonderful!!!

  30. C says

    I made the dough a little late in the evening and got too tired to wait for the 2nd rise. Put it in the fridge overnight and let it finish rising the next morning in the warm sun. Delicious! This recipe is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!

  31. Adrianne says

    Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe! It was my first ever truly successful bread! Unfortunately, I didn’t have as much starter ready as I thought, so I had to add some commercial yeast, but it still turned out fabulously! I’ve already got some discard set aside and am feeding it for the next batch (t his time I’m keeping track of how much starter I have…)
    Thanks again!

  32. Shelley says

    This bread is fabulous! I really like the artisan sourdough breads, but my family has been subtly hinting that they want a ‘bigger slice’ and ‘normal’ bread. Sheesh. Anyway I tried this recipe and all of us are delighted. I got a great rise and a very soft crumb. I used all the water in the recipe, and mixed it together with 275 g hard whole wheat bread flour and 25 g ground flaxseed, and let it sit for about 45 minutes. Then I mixed all the ingredients together to make the final dough. For the other 322 g flour I used a mix of about 70 g gluten flour, and about equal parts hard white and all purpose. I kneaded it about 10 minutes in the kitchen aid, and then by hand for about 30. I had a very satiny, lovely dough. I had forgotten how completely lovely kneading dough by hand is…very relaxing! Thank you for a wonderful recipe and helping me to keep everyone happy as I keep on experimenting with sourdough. :)

  33. Victoria says

    I absolutely love this recipe, I’ve made it several times always with great results, other sourdough recipes I have made don’t get the rise I get from this one. I have recently bought a bigger pan to make larger loaves. How would I adjust the bake time and temperature to make one large loaf rather than two?

  34. VeeBee says

    I made this loaf today and used a large pullman loaf pan. I don’t own a stand mixer, so all my kneading was done by hand. My rise was incredible and everything was going wonderfully. It was all fun and games untillllllll…… I tried to take the loaf out of the pan and put it on my pizza stone. Since the loaf was not quite finish forming, it collapsed and split. It was a disaster!

    Since I’m rather new at this (-2 years), I had no idea how to adjust the very specific measurements and times to accommodate my pullman pan.

    But even with the disaster, this bread is very soft and tasty. I will try again in a day or so. I’m so sad though because before I removed it from the pan, it was perfect and beautiful. Now it’s visually FUBAR!!! :( What I’ve learned is to not remove such a large loaf from the pan…

  35. Cassie says

    I’ve used this recipe now for regular sandwich loaves, sandwich rolls, and monkey bread. It is versatile, and has turned out well every time. Thanks!

  36. Sharron says

    I made this bread yesterday – I cut the recipe in half and kneaded it in my kitchenaide for about 8 minutes. The rise was not great – first or second and it was not over the pan when I finally pt it in the oven.

    It did rise a bit in the oven and aside from being ‘small’. it tasted good and had a decent ‘crumb’ although just a bit dense. With a better rise, the bread would be perfect.

    My starter is fine when I make artisan loaves so don’t think that’s it but I am not really sure.

    Should I have kneaded longer perhaps? any other tips? Thanks!

    • Michele says

      I have noticed the exact same thing. I only have the one pan which is why I halve the recipe. Have you figured out the problem yet?

      Mine has a good flavour, but it doesn’t rise above the top of the tin.

  37. Mitsuko says

    I made these loaves, and while they tasted good, they did not rise up nearly as expected. I did try a 50/50 ap/ww mix. I’m fairly new to bread baking. 3-6months and really new to Whole wheat (1month). So I am sure my inexperience had a lot to do with it! So I will continue to experiment and try to work this recipe again! Thank you for the recipe and all the recipes/info in the blog! It has been a pleasure and inspiration reading what experienced bakers are baking.

  38. Rhonda says

    Just baked this loaf. THE most awesome sandwich loaf. I will make this weekly. The taste is wonderful. Your bagel recipes are great, too !

  39. Knittin Chicken says

    I just made this abd NAILED IT! I’M just learning how to make sourdough bread and this is the easiest & best recipe so far. I have treid 5 others but this one is my favorite.

  40. Dianne O'Keeffe says

    I followed the ingredient part of the re, but the rest of it I made by autolyse one hour, then stretch and fold 4 times at 1/2 hour increments. Shape, rest, tighten, then proof 3 hours. Baked with no steam 40 minutes at 400* Beautiful loaves.

  41. Damon says

    I found your recipe about a year ago and have made it several times. It’s spot on! I appreciate that your measurements are in grams and that it calls for a significant amount of starter without the aid of commercial yeast. This makes the best grilled cheese! I’m a music teacher and have shared the recipe with our culinary instructor at school. I even divided my starter to give to her to get started right away. Thanks for posting!

  42. Jane Colman says

    This is now my families weekly staple bread – we all love it! Thank you for the recipe. I have made it with some whole wheat flour, made a seeded version of it, sometimes put light rye into it. It never fails to rise beautifully and taste delicious. Most adaptable sourdough bread ever! I’ve sliced it and stuffed it with garlic, chives and cheese then put it under the grill – superb! I have also let it sit in the fridge overnight – on other occasions I’ve baked it 3 hours after proving – either way it works!

    The only minor issue I have is even if I score it the surface cracks randomly. I tried wrapping the tin with a moist dishcloth thinking it could be temperature related as well as lowering the temp slightly. No luck with that. This might well be my oven, but if anyone knows what I can do to prevent this please let me know.
    I’d love to resolve the niggle, but it still won’t stop me from baking the bread. It is one of the best recipes I have ever made and a firm family favorite. Thanks again!

  43. Jeff Belding says

    This is a fantastic recipe. We have tried many other sandwich bread recipes and this is the best, by far. Your instructions to place loaf on stone after it sets is great! We should have done this long ago. It took longer because our kitchen was cooler the day we made it. But worth the wait!


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