A soft and delicious sourdough sandwich bread recipe, made with wholewheat flour and seeds. It makes perfect sandwich bread or delicious sourdough toast!
I’ve been playing around with sourdough recipes lately. It’s a lot of fun trying new combinations and techniques. I’d been wanting to add a sourdough sandwich bread recipe to my repertoire for a while and I’m very pleased with how this one has turned out.
It’s got great texture thanks to the seeds, a real depth of flavour thanks to the molasses and it stays moist even after days in the bread bin.
It’s baked in a loaf tin which makes it easy to slice into even sized slices. I like to make a few extra loaves, slice ’em up and keep them in the freezer.
Sourdough Sandwich Bread Ingredients
This bread has a mix of both white flour and a wholemeal. For the white flour portion I use a strong bread flour with a protein level of at least 11.5%. For the wholemeal part I really like using a finely milled wholemeal flour
The dough also has chia seeds, sunflower seeds and ground linseeds, plus a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses. The molasses could be subbed with honey or maple syrup if you don’t have it, but it’s actually not there to give the bread sweetness. Molasses helps keep the bread moist and adds flavour and a beautiful natural caramel colour.
In general, using sourdough starter in your bread really helps to keep it moist. If you’ve ever made homemade bread with commercial yeast and wondered ‘why is my homemade bread so dry?’, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what a difference a sourdough starter makes in bread.
This dough has a very high hydration level, meaning it’s very wet and sticky. The wholemeal flour and the chia and flax seeds absorb some of that moisture, but it will still be wet. Don’t worry though, a wet dough (coupled with an excellent starter) makes beautiful bread.
Just wet your hands well each time you touch it so it doesn’t stick to your fingers.
The Sourdough Starter
Before we start with the process, as with all sourdough a good starter is key. (Read how to make a sourdough starter here.)
For my recipes that means one starter that is very active with a low acid content. Each time I feed my starter, it’s with a small amount of original seed starter and plenty of fresh flour and water. This keeps the acid content nice and low in the starter. Too much acid makes a very hard to work with dough.
My starter at its peak is light and airy, not runny and highly acidic. If you’re familiar with sourdough starters I’m sure you’ll know what I mean. (Read more about acid content in sourdough starters here.)
I’m going to run through my timings with this sourdough sandwich bread and how I fit it in my days.
You don’t need to follow this exact schedule, you can change to fit around your own timetable.
The Night Before: Feed Starter
The night before I want to bake, I feed my starter. Because it’s being fed so far in advance, I feed my starter 3 times the amount fresh flour as I do seed starter. This is so it slows it down so it doesn’t peak overnight, before I’m ready to use it.
So, overnight I’d feed my starter 1:3:3 (that’s 1 part starter, 3 parts flour, 3 parts water). The fresh flour is the food source for the yeasts and bacteria. Always remember that the more flour that is added, the more they have to get through and the slower the rise.
If I am feeding my starter on the day as opposed to the night before, I would feed it 1:2:2, for a quicker rise.
The dough needs 120g of active starter, so you could take 20 grams starter, 60 grams flour and 60 grams water ( a ratio of 1:3:3).
Mix this together well and you’ll have a total of 140 grams of starter ready for the morning of which you can measure out 120g.
The Following Morning (8:30am) – The Autolyse
Combine all the dough ingredients except for the starter in a bowl and mix it into a sticky dough. Leave the dough to sit for around 30 minutes to hydrate. Cover the bowl with a plate to stop it drying out.
This step is called the autolyse.
I used to start the autolyse the night before along with feeding the starter, but since writing this recipe I actually find is easier to do this step in the morning
After the dough has hydrated, add in the risen starter. This is a sticky job. Wet your hands to stop the dough sticking to you and squish it together until it has combined.
Once it is combined, drop the dough into a low dish, like a glass pie dish.
9am – 11:30am: Folding
I let this dough rest for around 30 minutes, then perform 4 x sets of coil folds, one every 30 minutes. In between each fold, cover the dish with a plate to stop the dough drying out.
See the video below on how to perform a coil fold as shown on my rustic honey oat sourdough bread
Over time this gently strengthens the gluten in the dough.
You can see how the dough changes in structure in these next three pictures.
The dough is technically still very sticky. If you squished a dry hand into, it would get stuck to your skin.
Wetting your hands thoroughly when folding and doing quick and smooth motions will help it slide off.
After 4 folds are completed, leave the dough to rest for another 30 minutes, then it’s time to shape the dough. Unlike my regular usual sourdough bread loaf, the bulk ferment for this bread happens while it is already shaped and in the loaf tin.
12pm – Shaping
On a floured bench, tip out the the dough and gently stretch it out into a square.
Flour your hands, then take one edge of the square and bring it into the middle, then repeat with the remaining edges and form a ball.
With the seams facing up, push the ball out onto the bench, and roll it up like you would a sleeping bag or a Swiss roll.
Place the dough, seam side down into a paper lined loaf tin. I use a 450g (or 1lb) loaf tin.
I really recommend lining it as every time I have tried it without baking paper, my bread has stuck. A home-compostable baking paper can be reused multiple times, and composted when done.
Now leave it to rise in a warm place until has bulked out by about 50%. It doesn’t need to double, only fill out by half the amount.
A room temperature between 21-25 degrees Celsius will help the dough to rise. If necessary, create a warm spot such as an oven that has been gently preheated (and then turned off.) In a warm spot like this it should take approximately 3 hours, but it may take longer in cooler temperatures. It’s best to watch the dough and not the clock.
The risen dough should look and feel airier if gently prodded with a wet finger.
During this rise, cover the loaf tin with a dampened tea towel to stop the dough drying out.
3pm – Cold Proof
Now the dough is put in the fridge for a cold proof, where the fermentation is slowed down and the flavour is developed. This can be for a minimum of 4 hours, or all the way up to 20 hours. During the cold proof, cover the loaf tin with a dampened tea towel to stop the dough drying out.
The longer the cold proof, the more sour the sourdough will taste.
I like to bake the bread that evening, so it has cooled by morning and can be sliced for school sandwiches, so I leave it for a cold proof of around 5 hours.
8pm – Baking Time
Preheat the oven to 230°C (210°C if using fan-bake).
The bread is baked for around 25-30 minutes. You will know it is done if you lift the dough out of the tin and tap the bottom of the bread. It will give a hollow sound when done.
Now it needs to cool right down, for a minimum of 2 hours before slicing it.
Sourdough Grain Sandwich Bread
- 120 grams active fed starter* See notes below
- 220 grams white bread flour
- 80 grams finely milled wholemeal flour
- 6 grams salt
- 3 Tbsp sunflower seeds
- 2 Tbsp ground linseeds (flaxseeds)
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
- 260 grams water
The Night Before
- Feed your starter at a ratio of 1:3:3 to ensure you'll have 120g ready to use in the morning.For example, 20g seed starter, 60grams fresh flour and 60g water will give 140g active starter to use in the morning, of which you can take 120g. Ensure your starter has at least doubled, if not tripled (but not collapsed), before using it.
The Next Morning – Mixing The Dough
- Your starter should have easily doubled, if not tripled at this point and should still be holding its shape.If it has risen and then sunk (you should see the marks on the jar), it may have risen too quickly overnight and passed its peak. In future your starter can be fed more flour, less seed starter to slow this rise down.In a large bowl combine all the bread ingredients (except for the starter) and mix into a shaggy dough. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave the dough on the bench to hydrate, for 15-30 minutes.
- Add the starter to the autolysed dough and mix it well together, then place it into a shallow glass dish.
- Every 30 minutes, perform 1 set of coil folds (see video in the post above.) Do this a total of 4 times. In between the folds, keep the dish covered with a plate to stop the dough drying out.
- After the 4th fold, leave the dough to sit and rest for a further 30 minutes.
Shaping The Dough
- Now, flour your hands and a work bench and tip out the the dough. Gently stretch it out into a square.Take one edge of the square and bring it into the middle, then repeat with the remaining edges and form a ball.With the seams facing up, push the ball out onto the bench, and roll it up like you would a sleeping bag or a Swiss roll.
- Place the dough, seam side down into a baking paper lined 450g (or 1lb) loaf tin.
- Now leave it to rise in a warm place until has bulked out by 50%. A temperature between 21-25 degrees Celsius is good. If necessary, create a warm spot such as an oven that has been gently preheated (and then turned off.) In a warm spot like this it should take approximately 3-4 hours, but it may take longer in cooler temperatures. It's best to watch the dough and not the clock. During this rise, cover the loaf tin with a dampened tea towel to stop the dough drying out.
- Now the dough is put in the fridge for a cold proof, where the fermentation is slowed down and the flavour is developed.This should be a minimum of 4 hours but it can go up to 20 if you want to bake your bread the following day. I like to bake it that night, so it has cooled by morning and can be sliced for school sandwiches.During the cold proof, cover the loaf tin with a dampened tea towel to stop the dough drying out.
- After the cold proof it's time to bake. Heat the oven to 230°C (210°C if using fan-bake). Once the oven is heated, bake the bread for around 25-30 minutes until dark browned and risen. If you lift the bread out of the tin and tap the bottom it should sound hollow when it's done.
- Leave the bread to cool for a minimum of 2 hours before slicing.
Have you made these? Tag me and let me know! @home_grown_happinessnz