Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Recipe by Amber Eisler

When you think of sourdough bread, you probably envision a crusty, chewy, artisan-style loaf. But this bread, made with levain (an overnight starter based on sourdough starter) is a richly flavored, soft-textured sandwich loaf, perfect for all of your favorite sandwich fillings, including fresh tomatoes. (See "tips" below for details on how to make the best tomato sandwich.)

25 mins
30 to 35 mins
16 hrs
2 loaves
Sourdough Sandwich Bread - select to zoom
Sourdough Sandwich Bread - select to zoom
Sourdough Sandwich Bread - select to zoom
Sourdough Sandwich Bread - select to zoom
Sourdough Sandwich Bread - select to zoom


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  1. To make the levain: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Mix all of the levain ingredients together and place in a covered container with room for the levain to grow. It will almost double in size, and will take about 12 hours to ripen (ferment) at room temperature (70°F). When perfectly ripened, there'll be large bubbles (mostly below the surface) creating a somewhat rippled effect. It'll appear almost fluffy. If the levain is covered with a froth of tiny bubbles, it's a bit over-ripened; but don't worry, you can still use it.

  2. To make the dough: Mix and then knead together all of the dough ingredients, including the levain, to make a smooth, supple, and not overly sticky dough. This will take about 3 to 4 minutes in a stand mixer on medium-low speed or about 5 to 6 minutes if kneading by hand.

  3. Place the kneaded dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 1 to 2 hours, until doubled in size.

  4. Divide the dough in half (about 700g per piece), and shape each half into 8" logs. Place the logs in two lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" bread pans. Cover the pans with lightly greased plastic wrap or your favorite reusable wrap, and let the loaves rise until they've crowned about 1" over the rim of the pan, about 1 to 2 hours.

  5. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.

  6. Bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the sides of the loaf feel firm. Remove the loaves from the oven, and turn them out of the pans onto a rack to cool. Let them cool completely before slicing.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Don’t have any starter? Here’s a recipe for homemade sourdough starter. If you're making it from scratch, you'll need to feed it for 5 to 7 days before it’s ready for baking. Want a head start? Purchase our classic fresh sourdough starter — it’ll be ready for baking soon after it arrives at your door. Looking for tips, techniques, and all kinds of great information about sourdough baking? Find what you need in our sourdough baking guide.

  • Does your baked yeast bread ever develop a wrinkled top surface? Here's a tip to help prevent that. Slash the top of the loaf several times before baking, much as you would a baguette. This helps release the steam that gathers under the crust, which can produce wrinkles as the baked loaf cools.
  • This bread is ideal for making incredible tomato sandwiches. Here are some of our test kitchen tips to make the very best version:

    • Use the best tomatoes you can find (like beefsteak or heirloom), and let them fully ripen. If they're not as juicy or as flavorful as you'd like, sprinkle them with salt and let them sit for 5 to 10 minutes (the salt will draw out the juices and concentrate the flavor). A tiny bit of lemon zest can also accentuate their flavor.
    • Toast the bread! Then spread it generously with your favorite mayonnaise. (If you're feeling fancy, mix your mayonnaise with a bit of smoked paprika.)
    • Place the tomato slices on top of the mayonnaise, then sprinkle with salt (if you haven't already) and freshly ground pepper.