Looking for a great sourdough sandwich bread to feed your family? This is the best sourdough sandwich bread recipe ever!
Though sourdough bread takes about two days to make, it’s mostly hands-off time – you just come back every so often and spend a few minutes prepping it for the next stage of fermentation.
When I first started this blog, the recipes were strictly gluten-free, and even when we started eating wheat again, I’ve kept the recipes here gluten-free, so I feel like I need to explain myself.
My husband suffers from celiac disease. For me, it wasn’t a big deal once I learned how to cook well with gluten-free flours. Or at least, that’s what I thought.
A few years into it, I started to notice some less-than-ideal reactions to gluten-free baked goods in myself, and my suspicion was confirmed in 2016, when I went to a food allergy conference.
There, vendors were loading up conference-goers with multiple samples of their products. The food provided at meals was also gluten-free.
And I have never been so sick in my life.
It turns out that almond flour, guar gum, xanthan gum, and several other common ingredients in gluten-free baked goods don’t sit well with my stomach.
So I started incorporating wheat back into my diet at home, and since the kids aren’t celiac either, Gabe is the only one left eating exclusively gluten-free.
And that brings us to sourdough bread.
I’m nothing if not a nutrition nerd, and buying bread that I consider healthy is fairly pricey, so while I’m still careful not to contaminate Gabe’s food with wheat flour, I definitely knew that I wanted to start making homemade bread for myself and the kids.
And that bread is sourdough bread.
It’s important to know that I am not the queen of sourdough. I read legit sourdough bakers insights and methods and realize that they might faint at the way I do things.
In fact, if you want to go sourdough pro, I highly recommend New World Sourdough by Bryan Ford. He’s basically the king of sourdough.
What I do is different.
I don’t want it to be complicated or time consuming, I don’t need stacks on stacks of beautiful, irresistible artisan bread. And I for sure don’t want sourdough discard that I have to figure out how to use.
What I want is sandwich bread for my kids that’s fermented to break down all the things that are hard to digest. Bread we can treat like regular bread that’s better for us. To make sandwiches with for week day lunches and feel good about our nutrition.
To make french toast with when it gets stale.
I want an easy recipe with simple ingredients.
I don’t mind that it takes two days to make, because it’s almost all hands-off time.
That’s where I’m coming from when I make sourdough bread, and I want you to know that, because I’m not a professional, and I’m not formally educated. I just know that this recipe works for me.
And it works for a lot of my friends too.
In fact, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned about this world of artisan sourdough breads that I like to call “fancy breads”.
I grew up in an Amish community where making sourdough was as simple as the recipe you see here – though most of my friends fed theirs with a potato, so I guess I’ve simplified it even further.
It’s just good bread to put on the table every day (if you want it that often).
Sourdough Bread making Notes
So with that, here are some quick notes, then we’ll get on to the recipe:
- I start with sourdough starter straight from the fridge. No need to let it come to room temperature before feeding. In fact, if it’s been in the fridge for a while, it’s probably hungry, so feeding it as soon as you can is a bonus.
- The exact times you work your dough don’t matter. Just feed your starter at some point in the morning, and work it again sometime in the early evening. I usually do mine right before I start making dinner – usually anywhere from 4:00, to 5:30, and then let it ferment on the counter until bed time – about 9:00.
- Likewise, when you get it out of the fridge the next morning doesn’t really matter as far as fermentation goes – just keep in mind that the earlier you get it out, the earlier in the day you’ll have bread.
- The eggs and sugar in this recipe help keep your bread from going stale. We all know how quickly homemade bread starts to dry out, but the eggs and sugar add moisture and help stave that off. There’s a huge difference! When I make bread without them, it’s stale and stiff within a day or two. With eggs and sugar, it’ll last most of the week.
- If you are making bread and another recipe at the same time, but only have your one reserved cup of starter, feed it twice, letting it ferment several hours both times to bulk up your starter, then remove starter for your second recipe before moving on to the steps involving your stand mixer.
That’s all the notes I can think of for now. Happy baking! And if I missed any questions, leave a comment and I’ll reply and add them to this post.
Where to get sourdough starter
There are lots of recipes around the interwebz for creating your own starter by letting a flour and water mixture cultivate wild yeasts on your countertop.
I tried that once when I was about eleven and it didn’t turn out so well, so that kind of soured me (no pun intended) on doing it from scratch, and now I prefer a surefire starter, so in the past I’ve bummed some off a friend, and the one I’m using now, I bought from Zourdough on Etsy. I highly recommend Zourdough. He has several different starters to choose from (I ordered “Bella”), and they all come with detailed information on feeding and using them.
Sourdough Sandwich Bread Recipe
- 1 cup starter
- 5-6 cups flour
- 2 1/2 cups of warm water
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- To feed the starter: Add 1 cup each of flour and warm water
- Stir together and let ferment at room temperature for 5-7 hours, covered. sit the lid of my jar on top, but don’t tighten it. This allows gas to escape as it ferments.
- In a stand mixer, combine 1 1/2 cups of flour, and 1/2 cups of warm water.
- Add fed sourdough starter and mix well.
- Remove a cup of this mixture to a fresh jar, fit with lid, and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Going back to the stand mixer, add an additional cup or two of flour until you reach a sticky dough consistency – not a batter you can pour, but not a dough you can knead either. Note: Getting the consistency just right here isn’t super important – just get close.
- This is where I like to add whole grains if I’m using them so that they get the full overnight ferment and break down the germ and bran.
- Mix together well, then remove bowl and beater from mixer, cover bowl with plastic, and let it ferment at room temperature for the remainder of the evening.
- Store in refrigerator overnight, where the fermentation will continue, but more slowly, and encourage the sweeter bacterias to grow.
- In the morning remove dough from refrigerator back to the stand mixer.
- Add eggs, salt, and sugar, and combine.
- Begin adding flour until you reach a very soft, but kneadable dough consistency.
- It is important to know that the higher your dough hydration (the less flour), the softer, and fluffier your bread will be, with a thinner crust. Lower hydration (i.e. more flour/stiffer dough) will lead to a denser loaf with thicker crust. The isn’t bad, it just depends on what you want. I like a high hydration loaf for sandwich bread. Something like pretzels or challah bread will need a lower hydration so that you can work the dough.
- After you finish adding your flour, set the mixer to knead for five minutes – with a high hydration dough, you don’t need to knead super long as the water gives the protein and gluten more mobility.
- Cover, and allow to rise until double or tripled in size. Usually 2-3 hours for me.
- Once the dough has risen, grease 4 loaf pans, your work surface, and your hands.
- Divide the dough into fourths, and shape into loaves.
- Let rise to about 2 1/2 times its original size.
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Bake loaves for 30 minutes.
- Remove from pans immediately.
- To help keep crust soft, bag bread while it is still ever so slightly warm.