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Last Updated on August 7, 2023
This Sourdough Sandwich Bread recipe is so soft and easy to make! The loaf has a soft and buttery crust with a tender interior.
Whether it’s breakfast toast, lunch sandwiches, or grilled cheese sandwiches, this soft sourdough sandwich bread is versatile, easy to slice, and full of flavor.
Making homemade sandwich bread is also great for beginners venturing into making sourdough bread.
I often recommended this recipe as a first sourdough recipe for new sourdough bakers to make. That’s because there’s no complex shaping technique, you only need a basic bread loaf pan, it’s easy to mix, and it’s made with easy-to-find ingredients.
Let the sourdough yeasts do all the work and with minimal effort, you’ll have the best sourdough sandwich bread for you and your family!
👉 Check out my other popular bread loaf recipes, including my vegan Seeded Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread, Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread, Sourdough Brioche Bread, and Spiced Sourdough Banana Bread.
Why make homemade Sourdough Sandwich Bread?
Sliced bread is a hallmark of food convenience and innovation. There’s a reason why we say a new, useful product is “the best/greatest thing since sliced bread!”.
By only using sourdough as the leavening agent, homemade sourdough sandwich bread can stay fresh and last as long as store-bought sandwich bread. No preservatives or additives are needed to make your own sandwich bread loaf last just as long as store-bought bread and it’s only made with simple ingredients.
Unlike how artisan-style sourdough breads can be somewhat intimidating or tedious for beginner bakers, making your own loaf of sandwich bread is simple.
Making homemade bread is a wonderful way to become more self-sufficient and more economical. Plus, it’s way more delicious than store-bought bread!
Tips for Making soft Sourdough Sandwich Bread
For this sourdough bread recipe, the soft crust and texture of store-bought sandwich bread are recreated using whole milk and dried milk powder.
Whole milk tenderizes and softens bread because of the fat content in the milk. The lactose in milk (a sugar) gives the bread a slight sweetness and helps with additional browning. Milk will also help keep it from staling as fast as bread made solely with water.
The dried milk powder is optional but helps to add a more concentrated milk flavor to the bread.
With whole milk and the optional dried milk powder, this loaf stays soft for days and slices easily. I brush butter on the crust before baking to give it a buttery aroma that browns the crust slightly.
Additionally, be sure to follow the baking temperature and time instructions for this recipe.
Baking sandwich bread at a lower temperature than typical artisan sourdough bread (here at 375ºF or 190ºC) will make sure your bread crust does not harden too quickly. The result is a soft crust like store-bought bread.
The internal temperature of the completed bread should read 190º-200ºF (88-93ºC) when fully baked.
🛠 Tools Needed:
Click the toggles below for more information and my personal tool recommendations. I only recommend products I actually use.
Bread Loaf Pan
Sourdough recipes are most consistent when using a baking scale. I use my Escali baking scale every day and the batteries last for months. It’s affordable, accurate, and so easy to use!
I use this JK Adams French-style tapered rolling pin. It’s an affordable, simple dowel that is handmade in Vermont. Having a tapered pin gives more control when rolling out things like pastry or pie dough and this one comes with a lifetime guarantee. It’s very high-quality and elegant.
For this recipe, the dough gets rolled into a long oval. If you don’t have a rolling pin, a wine bottle also works!
Stand Mixer (recommended)
I use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer to mix this bread dough together. It makes the process easier!
However, you can certainly mix and knead this dough by hand. It will only take a few more minutes.
Brød and Taylor Bread Proofer (optional)
The Brød and Taylor Folding Bread Proofer is the perfect bread proofer. It folds up when not in use, it can be set to a specific temperature (I keep mine at 78ºF for my starter and when proofing breads), and it even comes with a humidity tray.
🛒 Ingredients Needed:
Click the toggles below for more information, my personal ingredient recommendations, and possible substitutions. I only recommend ingredients I actually use.
Any high-protein bread flour will work for this recipe. I use King Arthur Bread Flour at 12.7% protein content. The high protein and gluten content in bread flour will result in a taller and chewier bread.
I use this flour for making similar dough like my Sourdough Brioche Bread and Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting.
You can use all-purpose flour too, but it will likely result in a squatter loaf. It will still be delicious, though!
If you do not have a healthy and active sourdough starter, follow my How to Make a Sourdough Starter recipe and guide to learn how to make your own from home in a week.
There is no added baker’s yeast in this sandwich bread recipe. This is a 100% sourdough sandwich bread using only natural sourdough yeasts!
Do not use sourdough discard. It will not leaven the bread properly.
Whole milk helps keep the bread soft and gives it a light sweetness. Use whole milk for the best flavor in this recipe. You can use another dairy or non-dairy milk you have on hand as well.
You can also substitute whole milk with plant-based milk in this recipe. Use an unsweetened and unflavored option. A creamy choice like soy milk or oat milk will perform best.
Dried Milk Powder (optional)
Dried milk powder will help tenderize your bread, help keep the bread from staling, and adds a little more concentrated milk flavor to the bread.
- Unsalted Butter (melted)
- Kosher Salt
- Granulated Sugar
- You’re welcome to substitute with coconut sugar, raw sugar, agave, maple syrup, honey, or leave it out all together.
🥪 How to Make Sourdough Sandwich Bread:
Follow the guide below to learn how to make this easy Sourdough Sandwich Bread recipe. As always with sourdough recipes, adjust times as necessary. This dough is forgiving and flexible.
1. Make Levain
Add 50g of active sourdough starter, 50g of water, and 50g of bread flour to a clean glass jar.
Mix and cover with a loose-fitting lid. The levain should be ready in about 5 hours or until the levain is active, doubled, and bubbly.
Note: If you’d like to skip making a levain, simply add about 125g sourdough starter (about ½ cup) in the next step. A levain is simply an offshoot of a sourdough starter that is completely added to a recipe. Learn more about the difference between a sourdough starter and a levain here.
2. Mix Ingredients
Add the following ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer:
- 400 grams of Bread Flour
- 8 grams of Sea Salt
- 12 grams of Granulated Sugar
- 13 grams of dried milk powder (optional, 2 TBS).
- 71 grams of melted unsalted butter (5 TBS).
- 250 grams of room-temperature whole milk
- All of the levain (or about 125g active sourdough starter)
Attach the dough hook and mix on medium speed until all of the ingredients come together into a shaggy dough.
If you’re mixing by hand, the dough will be quite sticky at first.
Cover the bowlwith a towel and let rest for 10 minutes. This quick rest will allow the flour to fully hydrate and for the gluten to relax.
Continue mixing on medium speed until the dough is tacky (not sticky) and you can stretch a piece of the dough into a thin layer without it tearing (aka “the windowpane test”).
Mixing should take about 7-10 minutes.
If mixing by hand, follow the same indicators as above and knead the dough on a lightly floured countertop.
3. Bulk Fermentation (First Rise)
Place the dough in a lightly oiled medium bowl and cover.
Let the sourdough sandwich dough proof for 4.5-5 hours in a warm location for its bulk rise.
I keep my dough and starter in my Brød and Taylor Folding Bread Proofer and it keeps it at a steady temperature that you can adjust along with a humidity tray. I keep my bread proofer set at a constant 78ºF.
At the end of bulk fermentation (first rise), the dough should at least double in size, dome, and feel full of air.
4. Overnight Proof
Move the covered dough to a cold spot in the refrigerator and let it proof overnight or up to 48 hours.
A cold proof, or retard, allows your bread dough to ferment at a much slower rate and will give added flavor to your bread. The cold proof also gives you more flexibility to bake your bread at a later time.
5. Shape the Dough
The next day, or about five hours before you plan to bake your sourdough sandwich bread, remove the dough from the refrigerator and butter or oil a 8.5″x4.5″ bread loaf pan.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and very lightly flour the surface of the dough.
Press the dough into a square shape with your fingers. This will deflate the dough.
With a rolling pin, evenly roll the dough out into a long oval (mine is typically about 8.5″ wide and 17″ long).
Starting from the short end closest to you, use your hands to roll up the dough into a log. The dough should still be cold and easy to handle. If there is any sticking, lightly flour your hands.
Pick up the dough log and place it seam-side down into the bread loaf pan. The dough should fit snugly.
6. Final Proof
Cover the bread loaf pan and place in a warm location to proof for 4.5 to 5 hours.
The final proof is complete when the dough has filled up the bread loaf pan and rises about 1 inch above the bread loaf pan.
At the end of proofing, the dough should look swollen and feel full of air if you lightly press on it with a floured finger.
You can use the “finger-poke test” to assess if the dough is finished proofing. To test, use a lightly floured finger to press about 1/2-inch into the dough. If it springs back immediately, then it needs longer to proof. And if the dough leaves a small indentation that slowly fills in, then it’s ready!
Note: At 78ºF in my Brød and Taylor Proofer, I find this sandwich bread dough typically proofs for 4.5 hours. If it’s colder in your proofing location, proofing will take longer.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
Once preheated, brush the top of the sourdough sandwich bread dough with a tablespoon of melted butter.
Brushing the bread dough with melted butter helps give it softer crust and contributes more flavor and color to the crust.
Bake at 375ºF (190ºC) for 35-40 minutes.
The bread is done when the top crust of the bread is evenly and lightly browned and the internal temperature reads between 190-200ºF (88-93ºC).
Place the loaf on a wire rack and let it cool for about 5 minutes in the pan. After 5 minutes, turn the still hot bread out of the pan (use gloves!) and let it cool completely on the wire rack.
Letting it cool completely out of the bread loaf pan will help ensure that your bread is not gummy.
Slice and enjoy!
Note: If you use an instant-read thermometer, the internal temperature of baked sandwich bread should read 190-200ºF (88-93ºC). Baking sandwich bread to an internal temperature over 200ºF will result in a drier, tougher sandwich bread. To keep sandwich bread soft, aim to bake it until the internal temperature is 190ºF.
How to Store Sourdough Sandwich Bread
It’s easy to store sourdough sandwich bread with a couple of options: at room temperature or frozen. The use of sourdough helps preserve the loaf longer than other yeasted breads.
At room temperature, keep the bread covered or wrapped in aluminum foil to keep it from staling. It will stay fresh for up to five days. If it does stale any, warm it up or toast it for a couple of minutes in a toaster oven.
You can also store sourdough sandwich bread wrapped in a tea towel and in a paper bag to stay fresh longer.
To freeze the sourdough sandwich bread, slice the bread and store the slices in a freezer-safe ziplock bag. Place in the freezer to store for at least two months.
What to Make with Sourdough Sandwich Bread
This recipe is so easy and flexible- it can be used for many things!
The texture and flavor of this bread are similar to grocery store white sandwich bread (although the flavor is much more complex!), so it’s interchangeable with any of the ways you would use store-bought sandwich bread.
Homemade sandwich bread can be used for sandwiches like grilled cheeses, PB&J’s, BLTs, and other lunch sandwiches.
Additionally, I enjoy it as morning toast with butter and jelly or dunked with tomato soup. You could even use it as the base for bread pudding, dried croutons, and the list goes on.
Sourdough Sandwich Bread FAQs:
Can this recipe be made vegan?
Yes! This sourdough sandwich bread recipe can easily be made vegan. Substitute the whole milk in the recipe with an equal amount of water or another plant-based milk.
Instead of using butter, use an equal amount of neutral oil like canola, avocado, or vegetable oil.
Can I make this recipe without a stand mixer?
Yes. If you do not have a stand mixer, you can still make sourdough sandwich bread. When mixing dough ingredients, knead the dough with your hands following the same indicators on the recipe.
This is a stiff dough and might take about 15 minutes to knead by hand.
Why is my sourdough bread gummy?
Make sure the loaf is completely cooled before slicing it. Slicing into hot or warm bread affects the crumb structure of a bread loaf because the crumb of your bread will not be fully set.
It’s also possible you underbaked the sandwich bread. The internal temperature of the bread should read 190ºF when fully baked.
Can I add whole wheat flour to sandwich bread?
Yes. You can make a whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread using the same recipe. Replace 50g of the bread flour with any whole wheat flour you have. This will result in a very flavorful but slightly denser sandwich bread.
Whole wheat bread requires higher hydrations, so you will likely need to increase the amount of milk/liquid used in the recipe. I highly recommend trying my Seeded Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread for a hearty sandwich bread recipe!
Can I double this recipe?
Yes. Double all of the ingredients and follow the same instructions. When you remove the dough from the refrigerator, divide it in half before shaping so you will have two loaves.
How do I make soft sourdough sandwich bread?
This recipe will create a soft and tender sourdough sandwich bread with a soft crust. Be sure not to overbake your bread or bake it at a higher temperature as that will harden your crust and create a more dense bread.
Can I make this recipe in a day?
Yes. The overnight, cold proof in this recipe gives the bread additional flavor and cold dough is easier to shape. However, if you’d like to skip the overnight proof, you can. Make sure you start the recipe early in the morning and you can bake it in the evening.
Can I use sourdough discard for this recipe?
If your sourdough discard is fresh (within a day or two), you can use it to create your levain for this recipe. However, do not substitute all of the levain for sourdough discard. This will result in a very sour, acidic loaf that will likely not rise well in your bread pan.
Sourdough Sandwich Bread
Sourdough Sandwich Bread Dough
- Make Levain:Mix together 50g active sourdough starter, 50g water, and 50g bread flour to a jar. Cover and let ripen in a warm location for about 5 hours or until the levain is doubled, bubbly, and active.50 grams Sourdough Starter, 50 grams Water, 50 grams Bread Flour
- Mix Ingredients:Once the levain is ready, add all of the sourdough sandwich bread dough ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer including all of the levain.Attach the dough hook and mix together on medium speed until all of the ingredients come together into a shaggy dough.*Cover with a towel and let rest 10 minutes for the dough to fully hydrate.Continue mixing on medium speed for about 7-10 more minutes until the dough is tacky, not sticky and you can stretch a piece of the dough into a thin layer without it tearing (the windowpane test).400 grams Bread Flour, 8 grams Kosher Salt, 12 grams Granulated Sugar, 13 grams Dried Milk Powder, 71 grams Unsalted Butter, 250 grams Whole Milk, 125 grams Levain
- Bulk Fermentation (First Rise):Place the dough in a lightly oiled medium-sized bowl and cover.In a warm location, the dough should bulk ferment for about 4.5-5 hours. At the end of bulk fermentation, the dough should be doubled, domed, and appear full of air.
- Overnight Proof:Place the bowl of dough into the refrigerator to proof overnight or up to 48 hours.
- Shape the Dough:The next day, remove the dough from the refrigerator and butter a 8.5"x4.5" bread loaf pan.Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and lightly press the dough into a square shape with your fingers.Using a rolling pin, evenly roll out the dough into a large oval (about 8.5" wide and 17" long).Starting at the short end closest to you, use your hands to roll up the dough into a log. Pick up the dough log and place it seam-side down into the bread loaf pan.
- Final Proof:Cover the bread loaf pan and place in a warm location to proof for 4.5-5 hours.Final proof is complete when the dough looks swollen, has filled up the bread loaf pan, and rises about 1 inch above the bread loaf pan.If you press the dough with a lightly floured finger, it should leave a slight indentation.
- Bake:Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC).Brush the top of the bread dough with a tablespoon of melted butter.Bake the sourdough sandwich bread for 35-40 minutes. The sandwich bread is done when the top crust is evenly and lightly browned and the internal temperature reads between 190-200ºF (88-93ºC).Let cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Turning the still hot bread out of the bread loaf pan to cool completely on a wire rack. Slice and enjoy!