Anna's Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Why this recipe works:

The addition of milk, honey, oil, and an egg enrich the dough and keep it soft.  The plentiful amount of sourdough starter ferments and leavens the whole wheat flour easily.

Note:

I highly recommend measuring the starter by weight for accuracy since it is bubbly and active.  All other ingredients can be measured by volume if you prefer.

Tip:

I read on another website that you can preheat the oven to 500, then reduce to 350 after inserting the bread.  The initial higher temperature will increase the oven spring of the bread.  I am still in the process of testing this method myself.  If you choose to do this, reduce the baking time accordingly.

Anna's Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread

  • 3 cups (about 475 grams) hard red whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (350 grams) active sourdough starter at 100% hydration
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 Tablespoon salt

The morning before bake day:

Feed starter enough flour and water so that the total volume will yield 350 grams starter plus enough leftover starter to return to the refrigerator.  Cover the starter loosely and leave at room temperature to activate.

The evening before bake day:

Drop a spoonful of starter into a glass of water to perform a float test.  If the starter floats, it's ready to use.  If it sinks, feed it again and wait till the next evening to mix the dough.

Place all ingredients EXCEPT salt in a mixing bowl and combine until a shaggy dough forms.  Allow to autolyse for 15-30 minutes.  Autolysing it allows the flour to absorb the water before the salt has a chance to draw it away.

Add salt and knead for 5 minutes.  While kneading, observe the moisture level of the dough.  It should be soft and stretchy.  If it's tough and hard, add more water.  If it's too sloppy and wet, add more flour.

Depending on how much time you have before going to bed, you can perform one or more "stretch and folds" by hand or using the mixer every 30 minutes or so.  If using an electric mixer, simply turn it on for 30 seconds or so.  Repeat this every 30 minutes or so until you go to bed.

Cover and leave at room temperature overnight to proof.

On bake day:

By the next morning, the dough should be almost doubled in size.

Prepare a 4 x 8 bread pan with oil or parchment paper.  Shape the dough into a log and place in bread pan.  Cover loosely with plastic or a towel to prevent it from drying out.

Allow the dough to rise until almost doubled in size.  Mine usually takes about 4 hours.  Check it frequently to make sure it does not over-ferment and spill over the sides of the pan (been there done that!).

Preheat oven to 350.

Score the loaf with several slashes 1/2"-1" deep and promptly place loaf in the oven.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 190-200.

Optional: Rub a stick of butter over the warm surface of the crust to give a glossy appearance.

Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing.  Ideally, allow the bread to cool another 30-60 minutes before slicing.

Leave a comment below if you have questions, need more clarification, or want to share your success with the recipe!

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Comments

Anna Anderson

This is delicious bread! My husband likes it b/c it has a softer crust than most sourdough bread. Thanks, Anna!

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