Now that we’ve covered how to make your own sourdough starter, the fun can really begin!
Though sourdough starter can be used in many different kinds of recipes, mastering a good loaf of sourdough bread is one of the best steps in learning to use sourdough.
I’ve been making sourdough sandwich bread for years and have found this recipe to be reliable, easy, and just right for sandwiches, snacks, French toast, and anywhere else that calls for basic sliced bread.
Though making a basic sourdough sandwich bread isn’t difficult, it is different than making yeasted bread. The dough behaves differently and needs to be mixed with a different texture in mind.
Keeping those differences in mind while mixing up your sourdough bread will go a long way in ensuring that you end up with something soft, delicious, and perfectly crusted, and not a hard brick that could break your teeth!
It might take a little bit of practice, but learning to make this basic sourdough sandwich bread will be well worth your efforts!
The Big Difference Between Yeasted and Sourdough Bread Doughs
The main difference between sourdough bread dough and yeasted bread dough is the difference in texture. With yeasted dough, you end up with a dough that doesn’t stick to your hands and is smooth.
Sourdough bread dough is smooth, too, but it needs a lot more moisture than yeasted breads. When I first started baking sourdough bread, that was my biggest mistake, and I think it’s a pretty common one. Sourdough bread dough that doesn’t have enough moisture bakes into dense, hard loaves.
The dough will be almost sticky after it mixes. You’ll probably think that it needs more flour, but resist the temptation! Let it rise, and you’ll be amazed at how much the dough will firm. If it’s still too sticky after rising, then you can add a bit more flour as you shape the loaves.
Basic Sourdough Sandwich Bread Recipe
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post. That means that if you purchase through one of my links, your cost is the same, but this site and my family are supported by a commission. Thanks!
- 7-9 cups whole wheat flour (though I like to use 2 cups whole oat flour and 5-7 cups whole wheat flour, ground in my WonderMill)
- 1 tablespoon quality salt (I like Real Salt)
- 1/2 cup ground flax
- 2 cups active sourdough starter
- 2 cups water
- 1-2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
1. Place 7 cups flour, salt, and flax in the bowl of a large, heavy duty mixer. I love using my WonderMix for this because it handles all of the ingredients like a champ. Be sure to read to the bottom of this post for your chance to WIN a WonderMix!
2. Combine starter, water, and molasses in a very large measuring cup (I use this one) or mixing bowl.
3. Start mixing the dough. With my WonderMix, I pour the liquid ingredients into the mixing bowl before turning on. When I used a different stand mixer, I slowly poured this in while the mixer was running. You’ll want to mix the dough according to your machine’s directions.
4. At this point, the dough will be very sticky. Add additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough is still moist, slightly sticky, but holding together well. When in doubt, err on the side of a wetter dough. You should also be able to see it stretching as the mixer kneads it.
See how the dough isn’t sticking to the sides much anymore? Perfect!
5. Place the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl to rise for about 6-10 hours (I usually just leave mine to rise overnight) and cover with either a wet towel or plastic wrap to hold in moisture. The rising time will depend on how warm the room is and the nature of your sourdough starter.
6. Punch down the dough and divide it into two equal sections. If the dough feels stiff at this point, gradually kneed in more water until it feels smooth, moist, but not really sticky. Shape into loaves.
7. Butter 2 large loaf pans and place the loaves in the pans. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. This may take 4-8 hours.
8. Preheat the oven to 400. When the dough has doubled and the oven is hot, bake the loaves for 50 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack before slicing, buttering, and enjoying.
Of course, you could mix this up by hand (and by very strong arms) in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. If you do that, my hat’s off to you!
I typically store our bread in a loose plastic bag on the counter, though sometimes I just wrap it in a kitchen towel. Sourdough bread will go stale before it molds, so refrigeration isn’t needed.
And really, bread like this doesn’t end up on the counter long no matter how it’s stored! It disappears rather quickly.
Win a WonderMix!
The great folks at WonderMix are offering one Smithspirations reader her very own WonderMix Deluxe Kitchen Mixer valued at $299! I’m thrilled to be offering this to one of you!
This mixer also can be used as a blender and has three different mixing attachments for perfectly mixed doughs and batters, along with a really strong motor and limited lifetime warranty.
To enter, just use the Rafflecopter form below. I can’t wait to see who gets blessed with this awesome kitchen machine!
Giveaway runs June 19-26, 2015. US Residents only, 18 years and over.
What is your favorite sandwich bread like?
I was provided a WonderMix Deluxe Kitchen Mixer for this post but was not monetarily compensated. And I really like this mixer!