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Sourdough Sandwich Bread (Whole-Wheat or White)

May 1, 2011

I really enjoy making my own sandwich bread. The first time I ever tried, I made the whole wheat loaf from The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book, which was really tasty and pretty easy to do. It’s a little scary at first, but after a few batches it is really easy. When mom sent me the sourdough starter last may, it was accompanied with some Xerox’s of recipes. Her favorite, which quickly became mine, is her grandmother’s sourdough bread loaf. The original recipe calls for AP flour, and it makes a great, fluffy loaf of white bread, prefect for sandwiches, and especially tasty just out of the oven with some melted butter.

I hope the bread gods understand that I have a serious problem allowing a loaf to cool before I cut it. I just can’t pass up that oven warm first slice of bread.

Anyways, one day, I started to make the loaf and when I got to the second flour addition, the bag of flour I thought was AP was actually whole wheat. I decided to give it a try, and it worked! It made a lovely love of semi-whole wheat bread. So yesterday I decided to use only whole wheat flour and see what happened. Of course, it’s a bit denser than the fluffy white bread, but its still really great! So here is the original recipe:

Sourdough Sandwich Bread (2-loaves):

2 tsp yeast

1 ½ cups warm water

1 cup sourdough starter

2 ½ cups of flour

1 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

1 ½-2 ½ cups flour

½ tsp baking soda


Bloom the yeast in warm water (this should take 5-10 minutes). Add starter, 2 ½ cups flour, salt and sugar. Stir for a few minutes until the batter is fully mixed and fluffy. Cover with a wet towel (I usually microwave the towel for 40 or so seconds to make it warm) and rest until it’s doubled, about 1.5 hours.

The batter should be fluffy and maybe even bubbly, stir it down and then add ½ tsp baking soda and 1 ½ cups flour. You may want to add more flour to create the right consistency of dough, which should be a bit sticky but holding its shape. (I only used 1 ½ cups for this batch, but I have used 2 ½ before. I suppose it depends on the consistency of your starter and the humidity)

Remove dough from bowl and knead for 5-10 minutes. Cut it into two equal parts and let rest for a few minutes, then roll each piece out and shape into a loaf.

Place in oiled loaf pans, cover with a warm towel and let rise again until double, about 1.5 hours.

Preheat oven to 400F (I usually do this about 20 minutes before the last rise is over).

Bake bread for 30-40 minutes. (Optionally, spread melted butter on the top in the last 2-3 minutes of baking. Hello yum)

It is done when it sounds hollow when you tap it.


Semi Whole-Wheat Bread: use whole-wheat flour for the second flour addition

Whole-Wheat Bread: Use whole-wheat flour for the entire recipe.

I am pretty excited about the success of this whole-wheat variation. I am also pretty excited about making a sandwich for lunch today. I had a buttered slice last night with dinner and it was really delicious. The loaves were a bit crusty right from the oven and thus kind of hard to cut evenly. I went ahead and cut one up and put it in the freezer and I put the other whole loaf in a bag over night. I cut it this morning when the crust had softened a bit. The one downside is the 4hour time frame of this bread (and a lot of yeasted breads). But I happened to have some spring cleaning to do, so it was a great excuse stay home and get things done yesterday afternoon.


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