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Sourdough Sandwich Bread with a Soft Crust

Sourdough Sandwich Bread is made with milk, butter & active sourdough starter. This soft crust sourdough bread has a tender crumb and awesome flavor. It makes a perfect sandwich.

a loaf of sourdough sandwich bread on a cutting board

This recipe is a variation of my popular White Sandwich Bread recipe. That bread is the what you want to make if you don’t have a sourdough starter, or if you want to make a fresh loaf of bread in just a couple of hours.

If you maintain a sourdough starter, you know the incredible flavor and texture the bread gets from the long slow rise that is needed for the natural yeast in the starter to grow.

If you don’t have one, you can learn How to Make a Sourdough Starter. Then I can show you how to Feed and Maintain Sourdough Starter or How to Keep a Small Sourdough Starter.

I have made both of my white sandwich bread recipes side by side to compare the flavor. Honestly, they are both truly delicious and both make a killer BLT.

In my side by side tasting I did prefer the robust flavor and texture of the sourdough loaf. Plus, we baking geeks know how much fun it is to work with sourdough.

Although this sourdough sandwich bread recipe takes a good 8-12 hours from start to finish, the vast majority of the time is hands off.

To make this recipe even more convenient, you can let the dough rise over night. A long rise in the refrigerator does only good things for the bread.

Scroll through the step by step photos to see how to make Sourdough Sandwich Bread with a soft crust:

three images of sourdough sandwich bread dough during fermentation
With each hour of fermentation the dough will rise higher, become more active and more elastic.
three photos showing how to form a sourdough sandwich loaf
Without kneading out the air, gently form the dough into a rectangle. Roll the rectangle into a log and set into a lightly greased loaf pan.
three images showing a sourdough sandwich loaf before and after rising and how to slash the top of the loaf
The dough will expand to almost fill the pan. Slash the top of the loaf to promote even rising in the oven.

A timeline for making Sourdough Sandwich Bread:

  • If your starter needs feeding, do that the night before or early in the morning of the day you want to make the dough.
  • Mix the dough in the afternoon, allow it to ferment for 3-4 hours then refrigerate the dough before going to bed.
  • Take the dough out of the refrigerator first thing in the morning, shape the loaf and set it into the pan.
  • To warm up the dough, turn on the oven just until it’s barely warm. Turn off the oven and set the pan with the cool dough in the oven. Remove the pan once the dough is back to room temperature. You can skip this step, but it does speed up the rising time.
  • Leave the loaf to rise for 1 1/2- 2 hours, or as long as is needed to almost double in size.
  • You should have fresh bread by lunch time.
  • To make and bake the dough in the same day, feed your starter the evening before so it’s active by morning. Start the dough early in the morning and it should be ready to bake by late afternoon or early evening.
a sliced loaf of sourdough sandwich bread on a cutting board
a closeup shot of sliced sourdough sandwich bread
a tomato and mayo sandwich on sourdough soft crust bread sitting a wooden board

Since you’ve got your starter fed, peruse the entire list of My Best Sourdough Recipes. Have fun!

I know you hate to throw away that sourdough discard. Check out these recipes that use sourdough discard.

Hey bread lover, you might also want to try these other great sandwich breads; Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread, Honey Oatmeal Bread, Milk & Honey Whole Wheat Bread, Overnight Rye Bread, Sourdough Rye Bread, Low Knead Whole Grain Bread.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

a tomato sandwich on sourdough sandwich bread

Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Yield: 1 large loaf
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Rising Time: 12 hours
Bake Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 12 hours 55 minutes

This loaf has a soft crust, tender crumb and awesome flavor. It makes a perfect sandwich.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8oz, 240ml) whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz, 28g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (8 oz, 224g) active sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 cups (12.5 oz, 350g) all purpose flour
  • 1 large egg for egg wash

Instructions

  1. Warm the milk in the microwave to until scalding hot (just before it comes to a boil.) Stir the butter into the warm milk to melt. Set the milk aside to cool until it's slightly warmer than body temp (about 100°-110°F).
  2. In a mixer bowl, combine the warm milk with the starter, sugar and salt and stir to combine. Add 1.5 cups of the flour and stir until the batter looks like thick pancake batter. If using a stand mixer, change to the dough hook.
  3. With the mixer running, slowly add the remaining flour until the dough gathers on the hook and clears the sides of the bowl. Knead for 5 minutes. If mixing by hand, stir in as much flour as you can then turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead in the remaining flour.
  4. Remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Knead to form a smooth ball. If the dough is very sticky sprinkle a little more flour as you knead.
  5. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning once to coat the dough. Cover the bowl and set it aside at room temperature.
  6. After 30 minutes uncover the bowl, lift one side of the dough and fold it into the middle of the dough. Repeat with the other three sides of the dough then flip the dough over. You're basically turning the dough inside-out to redistribute the yeast and strengthen the gluten. Cover the bowl and after 30 minutes repeat the procedure. Cover the bowl and after 60 minutes repeat the procedure again.
  7. Cover the bowl and after 60 minutes fold the dough one more time. By now the dough should be lively, elastic and airy. If the dough is still sluggish give it another hour or two at room temperature. If you want to finish making the bread in the morning return the dough to the bowl, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. The next morning continue with shaping. Otherwise continue shaping the loaf on the same day.
  8. Grease a 9"x 5" loaf pan with a very light film of vegetable oil.
  9. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and without kneading out the air, gently push the dough to a 9" rectangle. Tightly roll the dough to form a log.
  10. Set the dough into the pan and cover with a damp kitchen towel or oiled plastic wrap. Set in a warm place and rise until the dough is doubled in size, about 1-1.5 hours.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use a sharp knife or razor to cut a 1/2" deep slash down the center of the loaf. Brush the loaf with egg wash.
  12. Bake about 30-35 minutes until golden brown and and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The interior temp should be 190°-200°F.
  13. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Finish cooling to room temperature before slicing,

Did you make this recipe?

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janet

Saturday 6th of February 2021

Guessing this is a no, but wondering if a bread machine could be used for this.

Eileen Gray

Saturday 6th of February 2021

I honestly can't say since I have no experience with a bread machine. But I have had a number of readers comment that they've made other sourdough recipe in their bread machine. If you try it, let us know how it works out.

Jess

Saturday 30th of January 2021

Hello! I'm very excited to try this recipe because I love your sourdough hamburger buns, and the process and ingredients seem very similar. I am curious as to why the bun recipe calls for bread flour and the sandwich bread requires all-purpose. Are the two interchangeable at all? I have both on hand but less use for the bread flour, so I wouldn't mind using it instead if it will work.

Thank you so much!

Eileen Gray

Saturday 30th of January 2021

Because the buns are not baked in a pan the bread flour gives them a tighter crumb. The Sandwich bread is baked in a loaf pan so a softer dough is ok. But you can certainly use bread flour if you want to use it up. Just hold back a little, maybe a 1/4 cup, since bread flour will absorb more moisture than ap flour. If you find the dough is still sticky you can sprinkle in the last bit of flour until you get a good dough.

Cas

Friday 29th of January 2021

Update to my prior post. I baked to internal temp of 200, not 210.

Eileen Gray

Saturday 30th of January 2021

Hi Cas. I can't reply directly to reviews so I'm responding here. If you found the center of the dough a bit under baked it could be that it wasn't quite proofed enough so the center of the dough was more dense than the outside. If the dough was cold from the fridge the center might take longer to bake. Cutting the bread while it's still warm could also make the center gummy since the warm starches will collapse and stick together when the bread is sliced.

Lisa Barrett

Monday 11th of January 2021

My first attempt at a soft sourdough loaf was a success! My husband wants to enter it into a baking contest! Haha I ran out of eggs for the egg wash so I brushed on butter instead. It worked great. Such a soft and fluffy loaf. I easily cut into thin slices, put them into large Ziplocs and froze them so we can have fresh tasting bread for weeks! Recipe is simple to follow with fantastic results. Thank you! Lisa

Carol

Wednesday 6th of January 2021

I got a sandwich loaf pan with a cover. Are there any modifications I need to make. I will make about 1 1/4 of the recipe as my pan is larger than a regular loaf pan.

Eileen Gray

Wednesday 6th of January 2021

Normally, this loaf will spring up a bit over the top of a 9"x5" loaf pan, so adjust accordingly if you are going to bake with the cover. Otherwise, I think it should bake just fine.