Sourdough bread is delicious but it’s not ideal for making a quick lunchtime sandwich. The crust can really rip up your mouth & it goes stale quickly. Sometimes you just want a soft sandwich bread to get you through the week but with more flavor than white bread. The unicorn of breads.
You’re in luck! Not only is my recipe full of sourdough goodness but it also stays super soft and fresh for a week! Well, if you don’t eat it all by then. No judgement.
They are so good that my bread hating husband actually requests them for lunch. I believe that’s a ringing endorsement.
Soft Sourdough Bread Notes:
While not a highly technical recipe, there are some equipment requirements
1. Stand Mixer
Hand kneading is just not an option for this recipe. The dough is too wet and no one has the strength to knead for an hour.
2. Instant Read Thermometer
You need to know how hot your liquids are for the yeast to do its job. Do you know how hot the water is coming out of your tap? I do and it fluctuates wildly between 60°-115° depending on the season. Yeast has a very narrow window between “brrrrr” & “omg I’m gonna die!”.
3. Sourdough Starter
Either plan ahead & make 2 jars of starter when you feed your sourdough at the beginning of the week/day or take 4 oz of saved discard and use it to make the designated sourdough starter. My super active sourdough starter is available, in case you run out or you want to get into sourdough baking.
If you’re interested in sourdough, see more of my posts and be sure to follow me on Instagram for sourdough shenanigans I don’t post here.
Now go off and bake! Let me know if you have any questions.
Soft Sourdough Bread
- 142 g water
- 28 g flour
- 631 g bread flour or all-purpose flour
- 50 g nonfat dry milk
- 50 g sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 57 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 340 g fed or unfed sourdough starter
- 340 g water, 70°-80°F
- 2 ½ teaspoons active dry or instant yeast*
- If you feed your sourdough starter on a 4oz/4oz/4oz schedule, this recipe will use the entire amount. Be prepared by either creating two jars of starter or use 4 oz of saved discard to use for the main starter later.
- Microwave on high for 25 seconds, then whisk. Can also be made on the stove in a small pan over medium heat, if needed.
- Repeat 2 more times, until mixture becomes very thick and pudding like.
- Carefully transfer to your metal stand mixer bowl to cool as you get dry ingredients together.
- Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
- Whisk 340g water into the still hot tangzhong. Take temperature then whisk in yeast. Refer to yeast label or the list below for recommended temps.
- Add dry ingredients, butter, and starter to the stand mixer bowl. Fitted with the dough hook, mix on low (speed 1) until uniformly moistened, ~1-2 minutes. Stop and let stand for 15 minutes.
- Mix on medium-low (speed 2) for 2 minutes. Scrape down hook and bowl, making sure there are no pockets of dry flour.
- Continue mixing until dough forms a tight elastic ball ~10-15 minutes. It should make a slapping noise as it hits the side of the bowl. Increase speed if needed but do not let mixer get too hot. Dough will be very wet before it becomes smooth and extremely elastic. You should be able to pull a pinch of dough several inches without tearing. See my note about bowl-lift troubleshooting at this stage.
- Place kneaded dough in a lightly greased bowl & cover. Immediately place in fridge for an overnight cold proof or let rise at room temp for 1 to 2 hours until doubled in size.
- Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased or floured work surface.
- Divide into 12 pieces (~135g) & round each piece into a smooth ball, or shape into knots.
- Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets; space 6 rolls on each pan. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until puffy, 1-2 hours.
- Divide the dough in half (828g) and shape each half into logs. Place the logs in two lightly greased bread pans. Cover the pans with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let the loaves rise until they've crowned about 1" over the rim of the pan, about 1 to 2 hours.
- Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F for at least 30 minutes.
- Optional: brush tops with an egg wash for a super shiny, golden crust.
- Bake loaves & buns for 30 to 35 minutes, until crust is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven, and turn loaves out of the pans onto a rack to cool. Cool completely before slicing.
- ActiveDry Original: active dry yeast, dissolve in warm liquid (100°–110° F)
- BreadMachine Yeast: instant yeast, dissolve in hot liquid (120°–130° F)
- RapidRise: can not be used in this recipe.
If your dough doesn’t seem to be coming together, try these illegal non-KitchenAid sanctioned moves:
- While it’s running, lift the bowl up toward the hook so it can reach deeper into the dough.
- My favorite: Place fender washers under the bowl attachment points to lift the bowl incrementally toward the hook without you having to sit there lifting the bowl yourself.