Baking a sourdough sandwich loaf

26 April 2018

This year I've been challenging myself to improve my sourdough bread baking. I've been working through some recipes in the book Artisan Sourdough Made Simple by Emilie Raffa as I posted about a few weeks back.

I've been wanting to add a sandwich bread to my sourdough repertoire for a little variety and the option of a softer crust. I find that unless my girls are really hungry the crusts of my free form loaves always get left behind. I think it's just too much chewing. In my youngest daughter's defense she does only have six teeth in total and all at the front so it's probably pretty hard going...but I digress.

It was great to come across sourdough sandwich loaves in the book as I had been stalling on trying a sandwich bread because I wanted to stick to the sourdough and hadn't come across many softer loaf bakes. This is probably because the delicious sourdough crust is surely more than half the appeal for those of the population that aren't too lazy to chew and have all our molars. I was also reluctant to begin looking for one as once I start researching new recipes it's a slippery slope....

My first attempt at a sourdough sandwich loaf.

Now that one had fallen in my lap I was all out of procrastination excuses. The Country Farmhouse White looked a definite goer. I particularly liked that it had the most minimum of 'extras' – a little oil and sugar. I managed to remember my earlier learnings on loaf baking and was able to achieve a much better rise in the pan (see what can happen if you follow the recipe Laura!).

Again I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Dough mixed together and a few stretch & folds performed
ready for bulk fermentation.

Starting to shape the dough after a long bulk fermentation over night.

Cooked, sliced and ready to eat.

I was really happy with this loaf and have since baked it a few times. It's definitely got a softer texture but no compromise on the sourdough flavour. I've also been regularly baking the everyday sourdough and was happy to see that my first attempt was not beginner's luck – this recipe is a definite keeper. Even the occasional over proofing in the bulk fermentation has still managed to see good results.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, no, they didn't eat the crusts....

Are you a sandwich loaf traditionalist or do you prefer the rustic free formed loaf?
Do you eat your crusts or leave them behind?

P.S In case you were wondering I'm in no way affiliated with this book but I just wanted to keep a record of my trials (and errors!) as I aim to improve my bread baking. Also, I've been finding this book so great I'm happy to recommend and enthuse about it.


  1. Laura I use the method Chris taught us on her blog I bake my sourdough in tins for sandwiches and usually get a soft crust. I add wholemeal Spelt or Rye to the Bakers flour for more fibre and also add sunflowers and pepitas. The rye one never rises as much as the Spelt one though. Yours looks good.

    1. Thanks Chel, I'm going to check out Chris' post and give that a go for the sandwich loaf. I love adding seeds to bread for a bit of fibre and texture but the other members of the bread eating crew around here have a preference for the white stuff.

  2. Good morning Laura,
    I have been following your blog for a few weeks now after Rhonda from DTE mentioned it. I enjoy gardening and cooking but love making sourdough bread most of all.
    I make both rustic free-form loaves and sandwich loaves baked in loaf tins. I make sourdough bread with different flours-white, spelt, mixed grain or rye. I sometimes add grains and seeds such as farro, chia, quinoa, pepitas, sunflower or caraway. My favourite is definitely wholemeal spelt yet I don't like bread made with traditional wholemeal flour.
    I love the crust of sourdough bread and the crunchier and chewier the better. Growing up I was so spoiled in terms of bread as my mum baked all our bread in the wood-fired oven that my dad built. I grew up in Adelaide after migrating from Italy with my family. As a young child I didn't even know that any bread other than my mum's homemade sourdough existed. We only ate crunchy, chewy bread that was oval not square when it was sliced. Even as a child I loved the crust. Sometimes, I would even cut and eat just the crust from around the entire loaf of bread leaving only the chewy inside. When this happened my dad would complain that I wasn't the only one who liked the crust.
    Fast forward to present day and the crust is still my favourite part of the bread. I limit myself however to only removing the two crusty ends of the long loaves I make.
    Thank you Laura for today's post. You have stirred up some beautiful and precious memories. It is amazing how memories can be so strongly assocuated with food.
    Regards, Maria from Adelaide SA.

    1. Hi Maria, thank you so much for your comment. It was lovely to read about your food memories - I did laugh when you talked about eating the crust from the entire loaf! I don't blame you though as wood fired Italian bread crust is definitely delicious. I'm glad you got to enjoy a little reminiscing today - I too love the connection between food and the past.
      Thanks again for taking the time to comment - it really made me smile to remember along with you.
      Take care,

  3. Hi Laura, since reading your post about the Emilie Raffa book, I googled and found her Everyday Sourdough Loaf recipe. I've now changed over to using this recipe as I find it suits my conditions and is quick and easy to mix up after the evening meal and have it cooked ready for lunch the following day. One thing I stress to folks starting out with sourdough is to always, always test a spoonful of the starter in a glass of water before beginning a mix. It must float! There will be failure if a loaf is mixed with starter (or sponge/biga) that is on its way back down again after a rise, in my experience. I find it rare to obtain that holy grail of big holes though, and so please may I ask how long you let it rest after the Overnight bulk rise and next morning you've shaped it into a loaf ready for the oven.? Emilie Raffa says 30-60mins of resting after shaping the loaf, but I'm still not getting holes. The loaves are deliciously crusty with a good crumb and a few smaller holes, but I crave those huge holes. Next time I'll leave it to rest for a couple of hours and see how it goes. Also what size is your bread tin please?

    1. Hey Sally, I generally do about 30 minutes rest in the final proof. I think the biggest thing I've noticed with getting the holes vs not is the hydration. When my dough is wetter and almost a little too tricky to handle and shape is when I get the bigger, better holes. If I make a stiffer dough it's holds its shape better but generally no holes. I just checked the recipe on the blog vs the book and the book ratio is 50g starter:350g water:500g flour and no oil - so definitely 'wetter' than the blog dough I'd think. Give that one a go and see how your holes end up.
      The loaf tin above is 27cm by 11cm, my everyday I bake in a round cast iron pot that I preheat, it has a 26cm diameter.

  4. I can see that I am going to need to research this bread baking thing a whole lot more. Every loaf I have ever baked has turned out like a brick. There is even a long standing joke at our place that I am a baker who managed to get a rising dough to somersault down the front steps! Time to find myself a teacher I think as your bread looks amazing, I would eat the crusts for sure! Meg:)

  5. Oh Meg, i hope you give it a go again. I'm a bit biased on the sourdough. Check out the clever carrot link on my previous bread post (link at the top of this post) and Nanna Chel has a link in her comment above that would be a good start too. I'm no expert but feel free to ask away if I can help at all. You are such a good baker and cook (judging by your blog picks) so I think you can definitely do bread.


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