I love sourdough (well, all bread really) so I wanted to have a go at making sourdough sandwich bread.
Sourdough is the oldest form of leavened bread.
The consensus is that this bread came about by accident.
As wild yeasts in the air settled on a mixture of flour and water that was left out for a period of time.
This yeast began to feed on the flour and water mixture.
This would cause it to ferment.
Creating gases as a byproduct that allowed the dough to rise.
Sourdough was born!
All that was necessary was to keep some of the fermented dough alive by feeding it fresh flour.
And this is simply what sourdough starter is.
Sourdough also became a well known bread among the gold miners in California during the gold rush.
The miners were often referred to as sourdoughs.
It was said they would keep their starters on their bodies to prevent it from freezing in the winter.
Starters can be dried which is what many miners did when they first set out.
Later reconstituting it when they would keep it alive by adding flour intermittently.
My father grew up in a peasant village in Palestine.
He told me how when he was little, neighbors would borrow bread starters from each other.
When they didn’t have enough starter, or enough time to start their own.
This would allow them to make bread right away.
What is Sourdough Bread?
Sourdough bread is a form of bread that relies on a starter for it to rise.
It usually has a tangy flavor characteristic that ranges from hardly noticeable to quite sour.
The taste will depend a lot on the recipe, and what the starter tastes like.
A true sourdough will also have a strong and crispy crust.
Sourdough can be bread that is leavened only by the starter or more commonly these days as a combination of a starter and yeast.
The starter is used mainly to give the bread more body and taste.
True sourdough tends to keep longer due to the lactic acid from the natural occurring lactobacilli.
As you can imagine once yeast became available for bread baking it would be used because of the quick rising time.
This meant that bread could be baked that much more quickly.
Is Sourdough Bread Gluten Free?
It is true that sourdough partially breaks down the protein in the gluten due to its long fermentation process.
However, sourdough normally made from wheat, rye, or barley is not gluten free.
There are ways to make a gluten free sourdough using some gluten free flour mixes.
Of course the flavor will not be quite the same, and nor will be the consistency of the dough and bread.
At the end of the day it is the gluten that gives bread its chewy consistency.
Is Sourdough Bread Healthy?
A true sourdough bread relies on a starter for its fermentation.
This is said to be a much healthier bread.
Because of the long fermentation process, sourdough is supposed to be easier to digest, and less likely to spike your blood sugar.
The lower phylate levels mean that sourdough can be more nutritious than regular store bought bread.
I strongly encourage you to make your own bread as often as possible.
It’s easy, and can be very tasty.
Just remember, a sourdough starter will take five days to make.
How to Make Sourdough Sandwich Bread
The key with sourdough is time.
It can take many hours to make this type of bread.
But it is well worth it.
You will definitely see the difference.
You will need to have prepared or purchased a sourdough starter.
The starter will be the basis for your bread.
An especially good one is made using wheat flour at the beginning.
Once the starter is ready you can decide if you are going to make a starter only bread or if you are going to use yeast in addition.
Place your starter in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Add bread flour, water, salt and yeast if you are using it.
Attach the dough hook and mix the ingredients until a dough forms.
Allow the machine to knead the dough for 7 or 8 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover and put in a warm place.
Allow the dough to double in size.
This will happen faster if using yeast.
If not it could take many hours.
I’ve heard of people taking up to 24 hours to make their sourdough bread.
Place on a baking pan.
Once the top of the loaf has risen above the pan it is time to bake bread.
Cooking time for a sandwich loaf will be about 30 minutes.
Once done, place on a cooling rack, and allow to come to room temperature before slicing.
Sourdough Sandwich Bread Recipe
Sourdough Sandwich Bread
- Place the starter into the bowl of a mixer. Add flour, yeast and salt.
- Using the hook attachment, mix ingredients together and slowly add the water while the mixer is mixing.
- Ingredients will develop into a dough. Knead for several minutes.
- Remove bowl from mixer and cover. Set aside and allow the dough to rise to twice its original size.
- Punch down and allow to rise again.
- Form dough into a loaf and place in a sandwich pan. Cover and allow to rise until the top of the dough comes up to the pan edge.
- Bake at 425ºF (218ºC) for about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Once done, remove from the pan and allow to cool. Slice once the bread has reached room temperature.
Nutrition Per Serving