This simple whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread is the kind of loaf you always want to keep around. It’s got great flavor and lots of nutrition, making it your staple all-purpose loaf of bread.
Though sourdough starter can be used in many different kinds of recipes, mastering a good loaf of sourdough bread is one of the best ways to make the most of home sourdough baking. You can never go wrong with sliced bread.
But when you’re first getting the hang of sourdough, you can turn out some pretty bad bricks. I mean loaves.
Making a basic sourdough sandwich bread isn’t difficult, but it is different than making yeast bread. The dough behaves differently and needs to be mixed with a different texture in mind. Those differences are usually where bakers make a wrong turn and end up with hard, dense loaves.
But if you can keep a few key differences in mind while mixing up your sourdough bread, you’ll end up with something soft, delicious, and perfectly crusted. Not a hard brick that could break your teeth.
You don’t have to raise your hand if you’ve been there, but I remember my first sourdough loaves and my hand is up, too.
Now that I’ve been making sourdough bread for years, I can assure you that it’s more than possible to make a delicious whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread. My recipe continues to be reliable, easy, and just right for sandwiches, snacks, French toast, and anywhere else that calls for basic sliced bread.
It might take a little bit of practice, but learning to make this simple whole wheat 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 yeast dough, you end up with a dough that doesn’t stick to your hands and is really smooth when you knead it.
Sourdough bread dough is smooth, too, but it needs a lot more moisture than yeast bread dough.
When I first started baking sourdough bread, that was my biggest mistake, and it’s a pretty common one. I thought my sourdough bread dough should feel like the bread dough I made with baker’s yeast, so I’d add more flour. When my bread didn’t rise well, I couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong.
The answer? Sourdough bread dough that doesn’t have enough moisture bakes into dense, hard loaves. Bricks.
A good whole grain sourdough 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 as the whole grain flour absorbs the extra moisture.
If it’s still too sticky after rising and you can’t handle it, then add a bit more flour as you shape the loaves.
Simple Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread Recipe
This is my faithful sourdough sandwich loaf recipe, including step-by-step photos. At the bottom of this post, you’ll also find a handy printable recipe card. Happy baking!
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Sourdough Bread Ingredients
- 7-9 cups whole wheat flour (though often substitute a cup or so of whole oat flour, ground in my WonderMill)
- 2 teaspoons quality salt (I like Real Salt)
- 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
- 1 cup active sourdough starter
- 3 cups water
- 1-2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
Instructions for Homemade Sourdough Sandwich Bread
1. Place 6 cups flour, salt, and flax in the bowl of a large, heavy-duty mixer along with the liquid ingredients. I love using my WonderMix for this because it handles all of the ingredients like a champ. You can mix by hand, but it will take patience, muscle power, and the ability to not get annoyed with lots of dough on your hands.
2. Start mixing the dough on your mixer’s dough setting. With my stand mixer, I pour the liquid ingredients into the mixing bowl first, then add the dry ingredients, and turn it on to mix. When I used a different stand mixer, I slowly poured the liquid ingredients in while the mixer was running with the dry ingredients in the bowl. You’ll want to mix the dough according to your machine’s directions.
3. At this point, the dough will be very sticky. Add additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time with the mixer running, until the dough is still moist, slightly sticky, but holding together well. It will start to pull away from the mixer sides. You should also be able to see it stretching as the mixer kneads it. Remember: When in doubt, err on the side of a wetter dough.
4. Scrape the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl and cover with either a wet towel or plastic wrap to hold in moisture. Then, allow it to rise for 6-10 hours, or overnight. The rising time will depend on how warm your room is and the nature of your sourdough starter.
5. Once the dough has fully risen, punch it down and divide it into two equal sections. If the dough feels stiff at this point, gradually knead in more water until it feels smooth, moist, but not really sticky. Shape into loaves.
6. 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 usually takes 4-5 hours, but can vary.
7. Preheat the oven to 400. When the dough has doubled and the oven is hot, bake the loaves for 50 minutes. Remove the bread from the pans and cool them on a wire rack before slicing, buttering, and enjoying.
How to Store Homemade Sourdough Bread
Real sourdough bread will usually go stale before it molds. But if you store it in sealed plastic bags on the counter, it can mold from the sealed-in moisture. So don’t do that.
I store our bread out in the open on our kitchen counter. When we slice it, we leave it cut-side down on the cutting board to keep it fresh.
If you want to prevent it from going stale too fast, you can wrap it in a kitchen towel or keep it in a fabric bread bag.
But really, bread like this doesn’t stay on the counter long no matter how it’s stored! It disappears rather quickly.
You can also freeze your homemade sourdough bread. I like to wrap my loaves in waxed paper or parchment paper, then seal them up tightly in a heavy-duty freezer bag with the excess air pressed out before sealing.
Now, armed with a couple of easy tips and this trusted recipe, you’ll be well on your way to making an incredible whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread.
Your brick-making days are over.
Have you had success making homemade sourdough sandwich bread?
- 7-9 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons quality sea salt
- 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
- 1 cup active sourdough starter
- 3 cups water
- 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses (optional)
- In a heavy-duty stand mixer, combine 6 cups of flour with remaining ingredients and mix to form a wet batter according to your mixer's instructions.
- Add additional flour, 1/4-1/2 cup at a time, until a sticky dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Scrape the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Set aside to rise for around 8 hours, or overnight. Rise times can vary.
- After the dough has risen completely and doubled in size, punch it down and divide into two pieces. Shape each piece into a loaf. If the dough feels stiff and firm, gradually knead in more water while shaping. If it feels too sticky, add in just enough extra flour to shape.
- Place the shaped loaves into buttered loaf pans. Cover again with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rise and double in size for around 4 hours. Final rise time can also vary.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Then place the risen loaves in the oven and bake for 50 minutes.
- Remove the loaves from the pans to cool.
You can substitute some of the whole wheat flour for whole oat, whole rye, whole barley, or other whole grain flours. This can change the dough's texture and final rise, though, so only substitute 1-2 cups of the wheat flour.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 36 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 742Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 124mgCarbohydrates: 155gFiber: 23gSugar: 2gProtein: 29g
Nutrition data is estimated based on 36 servings.