Sourdough Sandwich Bread

When you think of sourdough bread, you probably envision a crusty, chewy, artisan-style loaf. But this bread, made with levain (an overnight starter based on sourdough starter) is a richly flavored, soft-textured sandwich loaf, perfect for all of your favorite sandwich fillings and for breakfast toast as well.

Prep
25 mins
Bake
30 to 35 mins
Total
16 hrs
Yield
2 loaves
Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Instructions

  1. To make the levain: Mix all of the levain ingredients together and place in a covered container with room for the levain to grow. It will almost double in size, and will take about 12 hours to ripen (ferment) at room temperature (70°F). When perfectly ripened, there'll be large bubbles (mostly below the surface) creating a somewhat rippled effect. It'll appear almost fluffy. If the levain is covered with a froth of tiny bubbles, it's a bit over-ripened; but don't worry, you can still use it.

  2. To make the dough: Mix and then knead together all of the dough ingredients, including the levain, to make a smooth, supple, and not overly sticky dough.

  3. Place the kneaded dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 1 to 2 hours, until doubled in size.

  4. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into 8" logs. Place the logs in two lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" bread pans. Cover the pans with lightly greased plastic wrap (or a couple of plastic shower caps), and let the loaves rise until they've crowned about 1" over the rim of the pan, about 1 to 2 hours.

  5. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.

  6. Bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the sides of the loaf feel firm. Remove the loaves from the oven, and turn them out of the pans onto a rack to cool. Let them cool completely before slicing.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Don’t have any starter? Here’s a recipe for homemade sourdough starter. If you're making it from scratch, you'll need to feed it for 5 to 7 days before it’s ready for baking. Want a head start? Purchase our classic fresh sourdough starter – it’ll be ready for baking about 24 hours after it arrives at your door. Looking for tips, techniques, and all kinds of great information about sourdough baking? Find what you need in our sourdough baking guide.

  • Does your baked yeast bread ever develop a wrinkled top surface? Here's a tip to help prevent that. Slash the top of the loaf several times before baking, much as you would a baguette. This helps release the steam that gathers under the crust, which can produce wrinkles as the baked loaf cools.