First let me clarify that when I say this sourdough sandwich bread is yeast-free, I mean it's free of any added yeast. There is yeast in this loaf, but it's the wild kind, seduced from the air around your kitchen by the flour and the water and by the potent chemistry they create together.
This is the most perfect sandwich bread I've ever baked, and yes, it's mostly white flour, but I don't feel like the devil about it. Research shows that the healthiness of white sourdough bread far exceeds that of wholegrain and multigrain breads.
That's because sourdough has a powerful effect on blood sugar: when left to work its fermenting magic, it breaks down the starches in the foods it's added to, making them easier to digest. Sourdough is also probiotic, which means it is packed with healthy gut bacteria, so you can feel truly holier-than-thou when you smear this bread with some peanut butter or use it to cradle a delicious vegan burger.
Many sourdough breads need to be started a day before, but this one can easily be made in about eight hours from start to finish, including three rise times. So if you start your bread late in the morning, you can easily have some in time for dinner.
I understand that most of you probably aren't sourdough nuts and don't have a jar of bubbly starter sitting on your kitchen table or in the refrigerator, but that doesn't mean I won't try to convert you. Making sourdough starter is one of the easiest things you can do-- all you need to do is stir flour and water with a spoon. Nature takes care of the rest. I used a recipe from the King Arthur Flour website to make my starter and it's excellent.
I did change the hydration -- the ratio of water to flour -- of the starter. The King Arthur recipe has 50 percent hydration, which means it has ½ cup of water for each 1 cup of flour used to make and feed the sourdough. My sourdough has 75 percent hydration, meaning I add ¾ cup of water for each cup of flour when I feed my sourdough. I find the 50 percent hydration starter just a tad too firm for my baking.
I am in love with my starter. I've been using it almost every weekend to make my whole-wheat sourdough waffles and they are such a hit that Jay and Desi demand them every week. This bread is our new favorite way to use it. All I need now is to name my starter-- I read somewhere that sourdough aficionados do that, and my friend Margo told me the other day that her mother, who kept hers alive for more than 30 years, called him "Herman."
More sourdough recipes:
Sourdough Sandwich Bread, yeast-free recipe:
The Best Sourdough Sandwich Bread, yeast-free
- 1 ½ cups sourdough starter
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 4-5 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoon salt
- Place the sourdough starter in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add to it the wholewheat flour, 1 cup of all-purpose flour, and water. Mix well and set it aside, covered, in a warm place for four hours.
- Add 2 cups of all-purpose flour, olive oil and salt and mix. Add more flour as you knead until the dough becomes quite firm but still feels a little sticky to your fingers.
- Turn out the dough on the kitchen platform or any flat surface and knead by hand for 4-5 minutes or until the dough feels smooth and springy to your fingers and it barely sticks to the platform.
- Shape into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, turning the ball of dough around once to coat the top with oil.
- Cover tightly and place in a warm spot (like an oven with the light turned on) for at least two hours or until the dough has doubled.
- Punch down the dough and divide into two. Prep two standard loaf pans by spraying lightly with oil and then sprinkling on some cornmeal or semolina.
- Shape each portion of the dough into an oval. The dough should be very pliable and should shape easily.
- Place each loaf into the prepared loaf pans. Cover with a kitchen towel and let them stand in a warm place for at least two more hours or until the dough rises above the top of the loaf pans.
- About half an hour before baking, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Place the loaves in the oven and bake 40 minutes.
- Remove the loaves from the oven, turn them out on a rack, and let them cool thoroughly before slicing.
I made this recipe last night. It is amazing! I added in some everything bagel seasoning while adding in the flour. It is a great recipe. I love the texture of the bread and tender crust. I have made your 100% sourdough wheat loaves several times this month. It is my go to sandwich bread recipe for lunches (peanut butter and jelly). It holds up well for about 5 days in the pantry. I appreciate your recipes.
I alternate between making this recipe and the no knead sourdough bread recipe. However, I make this the most. Of course, I started out by using your recipe for a starter 😉 I have never had any problems with your starter or your bread recipe. It always turns out delicious! I do cut this recipe in half to only make one loaf and then I make a fresh loaf every week. One thing that I noticed is when you do change it to 12 instead of 24 slices to cut the recipe in half, it does not change the ratio in the instructions. I wonder if this was some of the trouble people were having when they were trying to make it. Luckily, I noticed this and adjusted accordingly, so I've never had an issue. I love your sourdough recipes so thank you for helping me on my journey with "Breadface" (my 6 year old son named our starter)!
I am always looking for new things to make with my sourdough starter, this bread is particularly useful since it can be used to replace something I would already buy from the store! I was looking for a no yeast recipe and this one was pretty good. It is definitely a slow rise so follow the times listed and be patient. Remember it could take longer if your house is chilly. Also, I had to add significantly more flour than stated and the dough was still much more soft and sticky than your typical bread. But it turned out so I guess it was alright.
Can the discard starter loaf be made using a lid on bread tin to get square sandwich bread?
Hi Jo, I suppose so, although I haven't tried this.
I use discard in this recipe, works well. I needed a quite a bit more flour then the recipe called for. Rest and rise time was about the same but it was also very warm in my kitchen
Tried this recipe for the first time yesterday. House is kinda chilly right now and my first rise (after all ingredients added) was taking forever. I had to call it a night, so I put dough in my sealed proofing container into refrigerator. This morning I pulled it out to find the fridge worked its magic and dough was doubled. Now loaves are in pans doing final bench rise before baking off. My starter, Ned, is 2 years old and hasn't failed no matter what I do to it. Cannot wait to see final results, but recipe was very simple...which I prefer.
So happy to hear! Hope you love the bread.
Can I use my unbleached bread flour instead of the unbleached white flour? I named my sourdough starter “Millie”.
Unbleached bread flour would work just fine! Millie sounds like the perfect name for a starter 😀
I made my starter following your recipe and made the no knead bread successfully. I love making crackers out of the discard adding thyme and black pepper....YUM. I am making the sourdough sandwhich bread right now and can't wait to see how it turns out. I named my starter Spark.
Does this sourdough starter need to be fed and active or can you use the “discard” for this recipe?
This also makes a fantastic boule.
Thanks for the tip, Paul!
I named my starter Magnolia ?
What a beautiful name for a starter! ❤️
My daughter named our starter "Souron" (like Sauron from Lord of the Rings) ?
Love this recipe! I use it all the time. Thanks for sharing ?
Mine never rose correctly. What are some common troubleshooting?
Mine took much longer to rise than the stated time. It also rises considerably in the oven. I also used this recipe for pizza dough, it was fantastic!
That's the oven spring. 🙂 It's one of the best things about making sourdough bread--always a nice surprise. As for the rising time, it can take longer if your home is cool.
After mixing the starter, water, and flour for the first rise should the dough be really watery? Will it work out once I add the flour for the second rise? Hoping it turns out because the bread looks delicious and I dont eat anything with added yeast!
Not watery but loose. It will get firmer after adding the other two cups of flour but will be a bit sticky still.
Can I put this in a bread maker? All the ingredients at same time or? It sounds amazing, but I don’t have a mixer and use a bread maker. Thank you!
How do i get a bread that has no sour after taste?
Hi, the charm of sourdough for many is the wonderful flavor. But if you want minimal sourdough flavor, use a freshly fed starter. Or you can just try making a regular sandwich bread, instead of sourdough.
S. K. Mitra
I made this sandwich bread in a Pullman tin and came out pretty good excepting there was hardly any browning on any side. What do I have to do to bring that nice uniform browning all over?
The key to browning is to provide humidity in the first 10-15 minutes of baking at a high temperature, then finishing off at medium temperature for the rest.
This is done by either adding a tray of boiling water along with the bread, or covering the bread with a lid (such as the one your tin has) which entraps any humidity already in the bread. If your oven has a humidity function, all the better for you - you can use that instead.
During the first 10-15 minutes, bake at ~240C, and keep humid. Afterwards, remove the lid/tray and lower temperature to ~180C.
Keep baking for about 30 minutes, or until the temperature inside the bread is ~90C.
Can I use my mixer with dough hook to knead the dough?
Great recipe! But just so you know: hydration of starter would be calculated by weight of its components not by volume. So if you use 100g flour and 75g of water then that’s a 75% hydration. But using 1cup of flour and 3/4cup water is NOT 75% hydration because the weight of the two are entirely different and weight of flour measured within volume varies greatly baker to baker depending on how you scoop your flour in
Hei. What is the hydration of the starter in this recipe? 75%??.
The ingredients for this recipe are also given in grams.
Where? I can't find it in grams.
Click on "metric" in recipe box.
I would love to try your SOURDOUGH SANDWICH BREAD recipe but I am not sure what is all purpose flour called in Australia? We have plain, bread and self rising flour here . What is the all purpose flour's protein content in US please? Thank you.
Thu Hong Peck
If the 3 flours you mentioned APF is equivalent to your plain flour.
13 grams of protein in 1 cup (or 125 grams) of APF.
All purpose is just plain flour
At what stage is your starter? Full and fed at the top of its rise? or flat and hungry? That makes a difference - either that or please give the weight of starter. Thank you.
About five days after the last feeding! It isn't puffy at that stage.
hello ma'am! I'm new at this sourdough and so far have only made the artisan bread and pretzels but wanna make this loaf bread! when you said it hasn't been fed 5 days, is it basically a discard then? :O
Five days in the fridge or on the counter? So you are really using that first step as a feeding then? I’m interested for a few reasons, I have made bread with out of the fridge week or so old starter and I have seen recipes that start with feeding the starter to make a certain amount for the bread making and state that you need to use it at the height of activity before it deflates. I’m curious about the reasons for one or the other and why you do it the way you do with this recipe.
Always refrigerate your starter (except during the first seven days of making a new starter). And yes, that first step is like a feeding. You want to get the starter back to a stage where it is active and will help the bread rise.
Can you use all white bread flour for this recipe or must you use the whole wheat flour for it to be successful?
White flour would be fine!
I received a great starter from my daughter-in-law a few months ago and she uses this recipe. I made it with her the first time and it worked well. Now that I am home I cannot get it to work as well. The starter is active and I am in good shape with that. The first two risings are great! The 4 hour one and the first 2 hour one. The third and last does not rise very much at all. Is it OK to let rise for the 4 hours, then punch down and shape loaves and put in baking bowl or loaf then, let rise 2 hours only and then bake? My loaves are dense and pretty flat at the end of the third rise.
I had this same trouble!! The bread taste good but I know is much denser than the recipe intends. Hoping to get some guidance!
In my limited sourdough experience, this has happened to me a few times. I think its caused by over proofing where the yeast gets exhausted and also maybe not enough air bubbles in the dough to make a lofty crumb. Could also be hydration. Just my thoughts. I think it's hard to follow a recipe for sourdough when so much depends on environment and condition of the starter.
I’m not sure the first step is considered a rising, I think it’s more of a feeding or a feeding/ autolysis combo since you add the bulk of the flour along with salt and oil after it but your question confuses me a little because you need to add the rest of the ingredients after that first four hour ferment. The second 2 hour rise is actually the bulk rise I think as it is the first one with all the four and ingredients so probably necessary and the one where it rises most, doubles in size, mine wasn’t really punchable until after that rise anyway. Maybe the temperature was higher so 4 hours was too long or maybe it was over proofed during the first or second rise? Mine didn’t rise quite as high as I was thinking it would in the bread pan but it had great rise in the oven and came out looking perfect if that helps at all.
Look up Herman sourdough starter. It is actually a sourdough recipe, supposedly from the Amish. It made the rounds here in the Midwest in the 70s. Every cook had a pot of sourdough in the refrigerator. It made a really great coffee cake. You were supposed to pass some on to your friends along with the recipe for Friendship bread.
I’m new to sourdough. Just removed my loaves from the oven and they look good! But I wish they had a little more lift. They crested the pan, but not as lofty as in Vaishali‘s pics. Is there a phase where I’m not being patient? I added a lot of flour during kneading- is that it? Thanks in advance for any advise?
Could you please give me a weight for the starter? That is how I measure for sourdough. Thank you!
Yes! I was about to request the same. Weighted measurements please!!
Look right under the ingredients. It says “uS standard and Metric”. Click on Metric! It will give you the weight.in grams.
Want to ask will this bread raise my blood insulin level or does the sour dough starter prevent that?
I meant blood glucose or insulin level...sorry
Hi Deanna, There is some research online that shows sourdough can have benefits for diabetics, but I am not a medical doctor and can't advise you. You should definitely check with your doctor to find out how it will affect your insulin levels.
Do you have weights for these measurements? I'm never certain how to measure the starter. Thank you!
Hi, I have to say that I totally screwed up the process of this recipe!!...but it still turned out great!! Wow!!
I forgot, because I had read through the recipe, but when I went back to it a day later I just looked at the ingredients and threw them all in the bowl and then went back to look at the directions and realized that I wasn’t supposed to start with everything, but anyway I I went ahead and turned on the mixer, knowing I couldn’t go backwards, and got it all mixed up and let it rise a for four hours, then I put it in the loaf pans and did the second rise, it still turned out perfect! The next time I did it according to the directions and got the same results. Who knew?!! Thanks for a great recipe!!
Can you refrigerate overnight and then bake it in the morning?
I put it in the fridge overnight after step 1 and let it warm up on the counter for an hour. Came out good
I did and it was perfect
I was wondering can you proof this bread overnight?
Awesome recipe but I find I need a couple extra cups of flour to get it to turn into the dough needed. I wonder why such a big difference for me...
I’m wondering the same thing we had to continue to add flour to get it to come together and it was very dense-I would love to make this recipe work I did make another sourdough sandwich bread that have one cup of milk 2 tablespoons of butter and a tablespoon of sugar and it was very light and fluffy so I’m not sure I’m so new to this I really want to understand are usually try to be very specific in the amounts of water and flour are you so this recipe kind of confuses me please help
Hi. I have been basking breads for only a few months-- something I took up during this time of the coronavirus. I have learned there is no exactness; the amount of water and flour vary depend on the humidity of the air. In Florida, it is usually damp, and it has been unusually damp and soggy this summer, with storms nearly every day. The air in the house is humid, despite the air conditioner's valiant efforts to dehumidify the air. The result is that my flour has already absorbed moisture and can't absorb as much from the water I mix into the recipe. I have to use less water/more flour. I used 1/3 less water than the recipe called for, and still used a good bit of flour. We'll see what it's like in the winter, with drier air. I hope this helps. This recipe is great.
Hi! What happens if I add all the all purpose flour at once by accident? Will it still turn out alright? (So I guess I’m also asking, what’s the purpose of adding only one cup of flour at the beginning?)
I am enjoying this recipe, however I find that I would like more of the sour taste. Any hints for how to do this? I was thinking maybe I could use less water and flour? Or just more starter?
Hi Mark, the maturity of your sourdough--and how hot it is where you are--will make a difference to how sour the recipe ends up. With a very new sourdough you might not get a very tangy bread, but be patient. 🙂 Or you could place your starter in a warm spot to help it mature quickly and become sour.
Thanks! The 2nd time I made it was perfect, but then I started refridgerating my starter in between batches, so that must be why. Though I do take it out of the fridge a couple days before making it - guess I'll just leave it out or take it out even sooner.
Can you use discard for this or must it be fed starter?
You can use your discard I do.
Hello! I’m eager to try your recipe as I am a newish sourdough junkie: at least a year of regular baking. I’ve got a good thing going with my artisan loaves. I see you have a 75% hydration starter. Mine is a 100% hydration. It’s been quite humid here lately (60-70% humidity) and my bread doughs have definitely noticed. I feel like I should decrease the water amount, and was looking for some direction/suggestion. Thank you!
Not the author of the recipe, but my starter is 100% hydration and I reduce the water by 1/4 cup.
I had great success for about 3 months with this recipe but since summer hit I can’t make a loaf to save my life. Takes 4 hours for first rise no issue, but 2 bf rise takes minimum 4 hours and 3rd rise never really happens. I end up with dense small loaves every time. I’ve tried additional food (thinking the starter is hungry) and same issue. Starter is as strong as ever, but epic bread fails every time lately. Please help!
I would shorten the first rise time by half
Can you freeze half of the dough? I only have one loaf pan and would not be able to finish two loaves before they go bad!
I hope it’s ok to answer, I’m not the author but It should freeze fine or you could leave in the refrigerator overnight, or halve the recipe which is what I did. Good bread breaking.
Actually if you freeze dough that has not fully proofed, it won’t proof again. As I once heard it explained the science behind it is that if you freeze most doughs or sourdough starter once the yeast molecules reach their freezing temp they actually have a tendency to burst and (much like an over filled water bottle or soda can that has been put in the freezer) and then upon thawing they no longer have the ability to rise or proof properly. So if the dough is too much I would suggest either halving the recipe and using only 170gm of starter instead of 340 with half the amounts of flour and everything else or making the whole amount and then freeze one of the two baked loaves. I hope this helped!
I subbed half the water for aquafaba and the bread came out super soft! I have made the original recipe multiple times too.
Can I just cut the recipe in half if I don’t want to make 2 loaves? Cheers.
I made this bread a few weeks ago and it's AMAZING. Super easy and just perfect. I have made SD sandwich bread a few times and this is by far the best! Thank you!!!
If I skip the whole wheat and just use white bread flour do I need to change any of the measurements or timing?
My pans are 9x5. Will these work or too big?
That is the standard size, and the same size as I just made my loaves in, using this recipe. Should be perfect.
Any thoughts on adding seeds to this recipes? Thinking sesame seeds, chai seed or linseeds!
I plan to feed my starter today and use a 3/4 cup from the fridge tomorrow. Will that work?
Thanks for the recipe, followed your starter recipe and since made this bread twice successfully. I'm no baker so it's pretty remarkable and I'm putting it down to your recipe 🙂
I prefer bread fresh for lunch so have been doing the main mix in the evening and then leaving in the fridge overnight. Doing the knead in the morning when I get up and then 2 rises and it's ready for lunch.
Do you do the four hour rise before refrigerating?
Thank you for posting your sourdough recipes! Following your guidance, I successfully made my own sourdough starter named Fluffy, and the name definitely fits! This bread was my first official loaf (not counting things I made with the discards). The dough was incredibly light and fluffy, very easy to work with, and the bread has a lovely texture. I started the dough a bit too late in the day, so I let it do the 2nd rise in the refrigerator overnight, and this worked great. I am looking forward to experimenting with this recipe some more, to use a bit more of the whole wheat flour, and possibly add some pureed beans for additional protein. Thanks again for posting! 🙂 Ella
Hi do you put any water into the oven to steam ?
I did add water for steam - not sure if it was necessary, but it certainly didn't hurt!
Hi .. loaf looks very good. Interesting that this particular sandwich loaf only uses tiny amount of oil and high % SD starter. Interested in giving it a go. May i know whats your loaf pan measurement? Thank you.
Love this recipe!!! Nice and fluffy.
Thank you !
Does the starter need to be active and bubbly, or is that the point of letting it sit for four hours?
Hi. I did not feed my starter before mixing ingredients as I just fed it Sunday and I feed it every week and have been for over 2 years so thought it would be active enough. My dough raised a tiny bit in 4 hours. Any suggestions to salvage it?
I just re-read the instructions and it doesn’t say it was suppose to rise so I am going to proceed & hope for the best!
Wait longer, the dough will rise eventually. If it is early in the day, you can put it in a warmer spot to rise more quickly, or if it is getting later and you don't need the bread today, you can let it rise in the refrigerator overnight. Good luck!
Great recipe but really misleading about timing. Sorry, but Prep time is not nearly like 15 minutes. It’s like 8 hours and so, I don’t know. Hope people like me will read really carefully before begging for the process. I’m gonna throw away my leaven because I don’t have a time now to stretch and fold and then leave again for 4 hours and bake it ( I began my leaven at 19:00 and it was a mistake because I mistakenly simply misread and then began my process). Hm... next time will try this recipe 🙂
Hi there! I cannot speak for the author or this recipe, but often times, if you run out of time, you can leave your dough covered in the fridge and pick up the day after where you left off. Hope that helps!
Could I substitute the flour for Gluten Free flour? I love that it is dairy and yeast free also. I will try to make today.
Here's my recipe for gf sourdough sandwich bread. You can use gf all purpose to replace the different flours here. https://holycowvegan.net/gluten-free-multigrain-sourdough-sandwich-bread/
One more question, can I use 24 Mantra organic Chapati flour in place of whole wheat flour for sourdough sandwich bread? Thanks
I haven't used that specific one, but atta flour should be a fine replacement for whole wheat flour in this bread.
Hi Can i use organic rue flour to replace ww flour? Thanks