Having a fresh, warm loaf of bread to serve your family with supper makes the meal all the better. Here is one of my favorite recipes to do just that. This beautiful and delicious Sourdough braided bread gets mixed up in the morning, sits all day, and is ready to bake while you make the rest of the meal.
Years ago, I started making braided egg bread, also know as challah, every year on Easter. However, it’s become a favorite bread recipe in our home so now I make it more often.
Of course, I wanted to make a sourdough version! I always like to make as much as possible using my sourdough starter, which is a natural yeast, instead of commercial yeast. It’s also more easily digestible for my children.
Sourdough braided bread is a fairly simple recipe with beautiful results. Start the dough in the morning and your family will be enjoying warm, fresh bread for supper. The braid gives the bread a unique and impressive look making this a great recipe to make when having guests!
Ingredients for Sourdough Braided Bread
- Active sourdough starter-You will want to feed your sourdough starter the night before you want to make this bread. You will need 1 cup of active starter so feed accordingly to allow enough leftover to maintain your starter. Don’t have a starter yet? It’s easy! Learn how to get one going in this post.
- Warm water
- Honey-I always bake with raw honey from our bees.
- Eggs-You will need 1 egg for the dough and 1 egg yolk for the egg wash. I like to bake with duck eggs.
- Olive oil-Or your favorite oil of choice.
- Fine sea salt
- All-purpose flour-You can use your favorite type of flour for this recipe but whole wheat flour will produce a denser loaf, although still delicious!
- Poppyseeds-Optional, for a decorative topping.
Tools You Will Need
- Glass mixing bowl
- Mixing spoon (I prefer to just use my hands!)
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat
- Mixer fitted with a dough hook (optional)
How to Make Sourdough Braided Bread
- The night before you want to make this bread, feed your starter so it’s nice and active and bubbly in the morning.
- In the morning, combine the active starter, warm water, honey, egg, oil, and salt in a glass mixing bowl. Alternatively, you can use a mixer fitted with a dough hook to make this dough.
- Using your hands (or a mixing spoon, if you prefer) mix the liquid ingredients well.
- Add in 2 cups of the flour and mix well. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 to 1 cup of flour, kneading the dough until it is nice and soft and slightly tacky, about 5 minutes.
- Place the dough in a greased, glass bowl and cover.
- Allow the dough to sit at room temperature all day, ideally 5 to 8 hours. This longer fermentation time will make the bread easier to digest.
- In the afternoon, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat and lightly flour.
- Divide the dough into 3 sections.
- Use your hands to gently roll each section into a long rope, about 12 inches.
- Lay each rope parallel to the others on the baking sheet.
- Braid the ropes together, alternating crossing the outside pieces over the middle. Just like braiding hair!
- Tuck the ends under each other at each end.
- Cover with a tea towel and allow to sit while the oven is preheating.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a small bowl, whisk 1 egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water.
- Using a pastry brush, gently brush the egg wash all over the top of the braid.
- Sprinkle lightly with poppyseeds, is desired.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top of the loaf is golden brown.
- Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Serve warm plain or with butter.
How to Serve Sourdough Braided Bread
Sourdough braided bread is the perfect bread to slice up and serve on the side of a meal. It’s also great for dipping into soups and stews.
Feel free to put butter, jam, cream cheese, or your favorite spread on it.
You could use this to make sandwiches although, because of the type of loaf, the slices are fairly small.
Storage and Reheating
Store leftover braided bread in your breadbox or another container. I have even left mine out on the cutting board overnight and it is still soft the next day.
To reheat, toast it in a toaster or place in a preheated 350 degree oven for just a few minutes. However, it is just as delicious at room temperature so need to reheat unless you want to.
Leftover braided bread makes excellent French toast! Or use to make small sandwiches, either for breakfast or lunch.
I think you and your family will love this recipe for sourdough braided bread! It’s not only beautiful sitting alongside a hearty meal on the table but it’s delicious as well.
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Sourdough Braided Bread
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper or baking mat
- 1 cup Active sourdough starter
- 1/2 cup Warm water
- 1/4 cup Honey
- 1 Egg
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp Fine sea salt
- 2 1/2-3 cups All-purpose flour
- 1 Egg, for egg wash
- 1 tbsp Poppyseeds, optional
- The night before you want to make this bread, feed your sourdough starter so that it's active and bubbly in the morning.
- In the morning, combine active sourdough starter, warm water, honey, egg, oil, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Use your hands or a spoon to mix well.
- Add in 2 cups of the flour and mix in well using your hand or a spoon. Gradually add remaining 1/2-1 cup of flour and knead until you have a soft, slightly tacky dough, about 5 minutes. You can also use a mixer with a dough hook if desired.
- Place dough in a greased glass bowl and cover. Allow to sit at room temperature for several hours, ideally 5 to 8 hours. The longer it sits, and ferments, the more easily digestible the bread will be.
- In the afternoon after the resting period, divide the dough into 3 sections. Use your hands to gently roll each section into a long rope, about 12 inches in length. Lay the three ropes on the baking sheet lined with lightly floured parchment paper or a baking mat, parallel to each other.
- Begin at one end and braid the ropes together, alternating crossing each side over the middle piece. Tuck the ends in. Cover and allow to sit while the oven preheats.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine 1 egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water and whisk together. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the egg wash all over the top of the braid. Sprinkle with poppyseeds, if desired.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Serve warm with butter or another favorite topping.