Sourdough Sandwich Bread Loaf

Sourdough Sandwich Bread Loaf

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Ingredients

400 grams Bread Flour
100 grams All-Purpose Flour
10 grams Sea Salt
340 grams Filtered Water
130 grams (Levain) Sourdough Starter
Levain Measurements ( 1:4:4 ratio during winter months)
20 grams Mature Starter
40 grams Bread Flour
40 grams Whole Wheat/Rye Flour
80 grams (room temperature) Filtered Water
Levain Measurements (1:10:10 ratio during summer months)
8 grams Mature Starter
40 grams Bread Flour
40 grams Whole Wheat/Rye Flour
80 grams (room temperature) Filtered Water

Sourdough Sandwich Bread Loaf

Features:
  • 21 Hours
  • Hard

Ingredients

  • Levain Measurements ( 1:4:4 ratio during winter months)

  • Levain Measurements (1:10:10 ratio during summer months)

Directions

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This beginner friendly sourdough sandwich bread loaf is a winner with anyone!

It is an all-white flour and high hydration loaf.

The bread comes out beautifully crusty but but has a bouncy and light crumb.

Each slice of this sourdough sandwich bread loaf is uniform and can also be toasted!

In this post, I provide a schedule that can be customized.

As a beginner, I would follow my instructions and once you feel more comfortable, you can make it your own.

 

With this simple method for making sourdough bread and the only fancy tool you need is your kitchen scale!

No need for a proofing basket, the dough proofs directly in the loaf pan.

It is a 5-step process and other than kneading the dough, it’s pretty hands off as time does most of the work.

Most sourdough methods require stretch and fold every 30 minutes during a 3-4 hour bulk fermentation.

But with my short knead method, additional stretch and folds are eliminated!

 

If you have a strong and healthy sourdough starter, you are already off to a great start.

Ready to make beginner friendly sourdough sandwich bread?

 

What is sourdough?

Sourdough bread is made by the fermentation of dough using naturally occurring bacteria and yeast. It all starts with just two ingredients – flour and water!
Naturally fermented dough doesn’t only taste better but it is also better for you. Unlike yeasted breads, sourdough breads have naturally occurring good bacteria which is great for your digestive system.

 

If you are looking to start a sourdough starter, here are some great resources that I recommend:

Joshua Weissman’s Ultimate Sourdough Starter Guide 
Maurizio Leo’s 7 Easy Steps To Making An Incredible Sourdough Starter From Scratch

 

Looking for a Yeast Bread recipe? Try my Cranberry Walnut Loaf made with active dry yeast, bread and whole wheat flour.

 

Are you new to the sourdough lifestyle and have questions? Check out me guide on How to Maintain A Sourdough Starter!

 

Here’s the baker’s math of this sourdough loaf:

500g flour = 100%

340g water = 68% (water/flour)x100

130g sourdough starter (levain) = 26% (starter/flour)x100

10g salt – 2% (salt/flour)x100

 

The hydration of this loaf is 72%.

 

Here’s how to calculate the hydration properly:

(Total water/ total flour) x 100 = hydration

The sourdough starter is 100% hydration which means it’s equal parts flour to water. 130g sourdough starter is 65g water + 65g flour.

Total water is: 340g (water added to make the dough) +65g (water from the sourdough starter) = 405g water

Total flour is: 500g (flour added to make the dough) + 65g (flour from the sourdough starter) = 565g

(405g/565g) x100 = 71.68%

 

Why does this matter? The hydration % of  your bread will result in a different texture and crumb. If you live in a dry climate, you might want to increase hydration and if you live in a humid climate like me, keeping the hydration lower is ideal.

Steps

1
Done

Let's Talk Tools & Ingredients

The must have tools for this bread recipe are:
1. Kitchen Scale
2. Bread Loaf Pan
3. Large Mixing Bowl
4. Rimmed Baking Sheet or Cast Iron Skillet
(for steam bath in the oven)

Nice to have tools are:
1. Bench Scraper
2. Bread Lame (for scoring the loaf)

Every ingredient matters, this includes the filtered water and sea salt.

When making sourdough bread, since this is an active fermentation recipe, you will want to use the highest quality ingredients possible.

I recommend organic, unbleached and stone-ground flours only.

Bread flour has a higher gluten content than all-purpose.

Use fine sea salt, unrefined Redmond Real Salt, Pink Himalayan or Kosher.

Only use filtered water as tap water will not work well for the fermentation process.

The temperature is also an important ingredient. All of your ingredients should be the same temperature. 73°F - 75°F is ideal.

If you do not have a warm and draft-free area in your kitchen, you can use your oven with the door closed and the oven off.

Turning on your oven light will create an even warmer environment and is great for bulk fermentation and proofing.

2
Done

10pm - Create Levain

The levain is the second sourdough starter you will use to make this bread loaf.

During the colder winter months, use a 1:4:4 or 1:5:5 ratio to build your levain. As colder temperatures slow fermentation, a bigger amount of starter is needed to reach peak in the 10-11 hour time frame.

To a larger glass jar, add 20 grams of mature starter, 40 grams of bread flour, 40 grams of whole wheat (or rye) flour and 80 grams of filtered water.

Mix well until all of the dry bits are fully incorporated then loosely seal with a lid and store it in a draft-free area in your kitchen and away from the sun.

During the warm summer months, use a 1:10:10 ratio to build your levain as it will reach peak much quicker.

To a larger glass jar, add 8 grams of mature starter, 40 grams of bread flour, 40 grams of whole wheat (or rye) flour and 80 grams of filtered water.

Mix well until all of the dry bits are fully incorporated then loosely seal with a lid and store it in a draft-free area in your kitchen and away from the sun.

3
Done

Next Day 8am - Mix & Knead The Dough

First, check to see if your levain is ready.

The levain should have grown, show a lot of bubbly activity and appear stringy when using a spatula to scoop it out.

The best test is the float test. Get a small bowl of water and add about 1 teaspoon of the levain. If the levain floats, it is ready* for use.

Get the kitchen scale and a large mixing bowl and add 400 grams of bread flour, 100 grams of all-purpose flour and 10 grams of sea salt.

Mix with your hands.

Next, add 340 grams of filtered water (should be at room temperature) and 130 grams levain.

If you live in a hot and humid climate, I recommend only adding 300-320 grams of filtered water and 100-120 grams of levain.

Using your hand, mix well until all of dry bits have been absorbed.

Dump the dough ball onto your clean work surface and knead for 8-12 minutes.

To knead, use your dominant hand to push the dough with your palm away from you, then grab the dough with your fingers to pull it back.

In the beginning, it will be messy but continue with the kneading process until the dough comes together and creates a smoother dough ball.

Do not add any additional flour during this kneading process. Use your hand or bench scraper to bring the dough back together every minute or so.

Watch the video at the top of this post to see how to properly knead the dough.

To test if the dough has enough gluten development and strength, lightly water or oil your hands, grab a small handful amount of the dough then use your fingers to carefully stretch the dough from the center out.

If the dough tears easily, it is not ready.

If you can see through the thin layer of dough (window pane test), it is ready for bulk fermentation.

Bring the dough ball together then transfer it back into the mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

Allow the dough to bulk ferment in a warm and draft-free area in your kitchen. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel to keep it away from direct sun-light.

*If your levain is not passing the float test, it either has not reached peak yet or it has already reached peak and is now at its falling stage. Asses your glass jar and if the top of the levain is still domed, it still needs time to reach peak. If that's the case check on it every 10 minutes or so. If you see some falling streak marks on the glass jar, you will need to re-start by creating a new levain. To be able to make bread the same day, create a levain with a 1:1:1 ratio and it should reach peak after 4-5 hours when kept in an environment that is 75°F-80°F.

4
Done

8:30am - Bulk Fermentation

The dough will bulk ferment for 3-4 hours. The colder the room temperature, the longer it will take to ferment.

During this time, the dough will continue to gain strength and trap carbon dioxide gasses which gives the dough volume and lightness.

This fermentation is the same as the one that occurs in sauerkraut or kimchi!

5
Done

12:30pm - Pre-Shape & Bench Rest

If the dough has grown, slightly domed at the top and may even have some visible gas bubbles, it is ready for the next step.

Lightly flour your work surface and carefully dump the dough out. Use your lightly floured hands or a bench scraper to loosen the sides of the dough so it releases from the bowl.

Try not to deflate the dough too much as you want to retain as much of those gas bubbles.

Stretch and fold all sides of the dough into the center until you have a tight ball, then turn the dough ball over, seam-side down.

Allow the dough ball to rest for 15-20 minutes.

6
Done

1:00pm - Final Shape & Proof

Using lightly floured hands or a bench scraper, loosen the edges of the dough ball then gently flip it over.

Brush off any excess flour.

To shape the dough into a log shape, stretch the right side of the dough then fold it into the center on the dough, pressing it down so it adheres.

Then stretch the bottom of the dough and fold it into the center of the dough, pressing it down so it adheres.

Repeat the stretch and fold with the left side.

Stretch and roll the top of the dough down into a long tube, similar to rolling a beach towel.

Roll the dough so it's seam-side down.

Place your hands on either side of the loaf with your palms facing the loaf.

Gently push the dough from both sides and slightly cup the bottom edges to seal the bottom and all four sides.

You can lightly grease your loaf tin but it is not necessary.

With lightly floured hands, lift the dough log and place it into your bread loaf pan with the seam-side down.

Lightly flour the top of your loaf then place it inside a large plastic bag (making sure the bag does not touch the top of the dough).

I use a plastic produce bag.

Allow the dough to proof in a warm and draft-free area in your kitchen for 2-3 hours.

Alternatively, you can proof the dough at room temperature for 1-2 hours then move it to the refrigerator and cold proof for 10-12 hours.

7
Done

2:30pm - Preheat Oven for 1 Hour

Preheat your oven at 450°F for 1 hour.

10-15 minutes before the bread goes in, add a large and rimmed baking sheet or a large cast iron skillet to your bottom rack and fill it up with water about half way.

The water will start to boil gently and create steam in the oven.

I do not recommend using glassware as it may shatter in the oven.

8
Done

3:30pm - Bake With Steam

By now, your loaf should have grown and appear light and bubbly.

You can score the loaf with a bread lame or a sharp knife.

This is optional but recommended as a slash in the dough will give it a more even oven spring and rise.

Before you slash the dough, sprinkle a bit of bread flour on top and gently coat and spread it with your hand evenly.

Using a sharp lame or knife, slash one long cut off center.

Lower the heat of the oven to 425°F and add the loaf to the oven.

Bake with the steam bath for 20 minutes.

9
Done

3:50pm - Bake Without Steam

After 20 minutes, use oven mitts to carefully remove the steam bath from the oven and lower the heat to 425°F.

Rotate the loaf for even baking and bake for another 30 minutes.

10
Done

6:30pm - Slice & Store

Once the bread comes out of the oven, remove it from the loaf pan and allow it to cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours.

The bread should be completely cool to the touch before slicing.

If you slice in too soon, the crumb will be gummy and the bread will go stale faster.

Allow it to cool in a draft free zone.

Store the bread in a bread basket with a lid or a plastic bag.

You can also slice and freeze the loaf and toast each slice before eating.

Joni

Hi guys, so glad you are here! My food blog is about easy, colorful and mostly healthy recipes. I grew up in Germany and have been in the states since 2002. Currently, I am living in sunny Miami, FL! Please leave me a comment if you have questions or recipe requests and also follow me on social media via @foodbyjonister. Happy cooking and eating!

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10 Comments Hide Comments

Love the idea, that Sourdough bread is made by the fermentation of dough using naturally occurring bacteria and yeast!
This Sourdough Sandwich Bread Loaf looks so delicious!

This is my favorite bread of all time. Thanks for the step by step images with the directions, it makes it even easier to follow along.

For those who have been searching for “the” sourdough recipe… this is it. I’ve gone thru a lot and this is the one I will always use.

Hi Joni, I’ve so far made 5 sourdough loaves (with spelt flour, a recipe on Doves Farm site, UK). Glad to have found your site, I was looking for a simple white sandwich loaf and this seems to be it! It’s just proving – will let you know how it goes! I was a bit unclear on your oven instructions – at what stage do you reduce the heat? (You mention 2 possibilities!) Many thanks

This dough was extremely sticky for me. Had a very difficult time kneading had to add more flour-any suggestions?

Hi Liz, this dough is on the higher hydration end. When kneading it’s very sticky but adding more flour is not recommended as the dough will happily soak it right up. Adding more flour may result in a tough crumb. With work and patience while kneading, the dough eventually gets smoother and less sticky. I recommend trying again and lowering the hydration (do 50g less water). Hope this helps!

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