This whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread recipe combines the benefits of sourdough and whole wheat flour to make two light, fluffy, and delicious loaves of bread for your family. Only a few simple ingredients and basic tools are all you need to make the perfect loaf for sandwiches, toast, and more!
Everyone needs a reliable recipe for homemade sandwich bread. Sandwich bread is a pantry staple for good reason. It’s soft, fluffy, and versitile. And, of course, kids really love it!
Combining the health benefits of sourdough with whole wheat creates a loaf of bread that’s easier to digest but still tasty and enjoyable. Whether it’s toasted or slathered in peanut butter and homemade jam or grilled with a favorite cheese, this bread will become a family favorite.
Crunchy artisan round loaves are beautiful and impressive but can be time-consuming and tricky. These soft sandwich loaves are easy to mix together and come out perfect every time. This is especially a great recipe when learning how to bake with sourdough instead of commercial yeast.
When baking fancy, crusty boules of sourdough I always measure the ingredients using my kitchen scale to be precise. With this sandwich bread recipe, there’s no need for that. It’s very forgiving and quick to whip up.
There’s also no need to stretch the dough at certain time intervals as with artisan loaves. Just let it sit on the counter all day or night, that’s it. You won’t touch it again until it’s ready to be divided into the loaf pans.
If you’re new to sourdough, this is an easy recipe to practice using an active starter. Once you make this soft sourdough sandwich bread, you’ll never eat store-bought bread again!
Ingredients for Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread
- Active Sourdough Starter– Be sure to feed your starter several hours before you want to mix up the dough. You will only need 1 cup of bubbly starter for this recipe. Once you measure it out, feed your starter again and either return it to the fridge for storage or leave it on the counter to use later. You can read more about maintaining and storing your sourdough starter in this post.
- Room Temperature Water– Use slightly warm water, not too hot and not too cold.
- Butter– Homemade butter is so easy to make, learn how in this post.
- Honey– I bake with raw honey from our honeybees. If you don’t have your own bees, try to find a reliable source for local honey in your area. You can also use pure maple syrup.
- Whole Wheat Flour– I use freshly milled hard white wheat berries for this recipe but you can use your favorite whole grains. Read more about milling your own flour at home with a grain mill in this post.
Tools You May Need
- Stand Mixer– I like to use my heavy-duty Bosch mixer for this recipe but you can use any stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. You can also mix up this dough by hand in a large bowl, no need for a mixer at all!
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Large Glass Bowl– For proofing the dough or use the bowl of your stand mixer as long as it is not metal. Glass is best when working with sourdough!
- Two 9 by 5 inch Loaf Pans
- Wire Rack– For cooling.
Timeline for Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread
There are two ways to plan your timing for making this bread. You can proof it all day and bake it in the evening or proof all night and bake it in the morning. Here’s the schedule to follow depending on when you want to bake your bread:
- Bake in the Evening– Start by feeding your sourdough starter the night before the day you want to bake your bread. Feed your starter and allow it to sit overnight. The next morning, mix up your dough and allow it to proof in a warm spot all day. In the late afternoon, divide the dough into the two loaves as in the recipe and after they rise, they will be ready to bake in the evening. You will have two freshly baked loaves of bread ready for supper or save them for the morning!
- Bake in the Morning– During the afternoon of the day before you want to bake the bread, feed your starter and allow it to sit and become active for the rest of the day, at least a few hours. In the late evening before you go to bed, mix up the dough then allow it to sit all night. In the morning the next day, divide the dough into two loaves as in the recipe and allow those to sit for a couple of hours. Later in the morning, bake the loaves and you’ll have fresh bread in time for lunch or to save for supper that night.
Because the dough needs to sit for at least 8 to 12 hours to proof, you can either allow it to sit all day and bake in the evening or sit all night while you sleep and bake in the morning. Adjust the time to fit your schedule!
The dough is so quick to mix up with very few minutes of hands-on time that you can easily get it ready in the morning before making breakfast or at night before going to bed. I like to feed my starter in the afternoon, mix up the dough before I go to bed, and bake in the morning after breakfast is cleaned up and the kids are starting their schoolwork. Fresh bread for lunch is a treat to look forward to!
How to Make Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread
Once your sourdough starter is nice and bubbly and active, you’re ready to begin!
Measure the sourdough starter, room temperature water, softened butter, honey, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer or into a large mixing bowl if you will be mixing by hand. Run the mixer or stir to combine the ingredients.
Add the flour, one cup at a time, until the dough comes together. It should be a fairly smooth ball and just slightly sticky after several minutes of mixing or kneading by hand on a lightly floured surface. Avoid adding too much flour or this will result in a denser loaf.
Place the dough into a large glass oiled bowl or leave in the non-metal bowl of the stand mixer. Cover with a lid or a damp towel. Allow to sit in a warm place for 8 to 12 hours, either all day or overnight.
Once the dough has doubled in size after at least 8 hours of proofing, place it on a clean work surface. Use a bench scraper or your hands to divide it equally in half. Form each half into a log shape loaf.
Generously grease each loaf pan with butter. Place the dough into each greased loaf pan and cover with a damp cloth. Allow them to sit in a warm spot for about 2 hours or until the top of the dough is level or above the top of the loaf pan.
Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Bake the loaves for about 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Remove the loaves from the pans and place on a cooling rack. Although it will be difficult to wait, allow the loaves to cool before slicing, at least for a few minutes!
How to Serve Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread
Once you pull your freshly baked sourdough sandwich loaves from the oven, a line will form in the kitchen with everyone wanting to try a slice. A warm slice of bread is a treat all on its own, but here are some other ways to enjoy your homemade sandwich bread:
- Breakfast: Toasted with a favorite spread, eggs in a basket, French toast, French toast casserole, breakfast sandwiches, avocado toast.
- Lunch: Grilled cheese, deli sandwiches, peanut butter and homemade jam sandwiches, smoked salmon spread sandwiches, toasted and buttered to go with soup or a salad.
- Supper: Toasted with melted cheese on top to go with soups or stews, grilled meat and cheese sandwich, open-faced with meat and gravy on top.
- Dessert: Bread pudding, individual apple (or other fruit) pies.
Sandwich bread is also great to take when camping! Not only are sandwiches an easy camping food, the slices fit perfectly in a square pie iron! We like to use it as the crust for homemade pizza cooked in pie irons over the campfire. Or as a pie crust to make apple pies in the pie irons over the campfire.
For any recipe to toast over a campfire, simply butter the bread and place a slice on each side of the pie iron. Fill one side with your favorite filling such as meat and cheese, pizza sauce with cheese and toppings, your favorite fruit pie filling, or scrambled eggs, meat and cheese, for breakfast. Close the pie iron and cook over the fire until done. These will become some of your family’s favorite camping treats and this bread does the trick!
If for some reason you still have some left after several days and it begins to stale, here’s a post all about how to use your leftover homemade bread so that it doesn’t go to waste!
Storing or Freezing Your Bread
Because this whole wheat sandwich bread has a soft crust, it shouldn’t be left out on the counter uncovered. Crusty artisan loaves can sit out on a cutting board, cut side down, and last a few days.
Soft sandwich loaves, however, are best when stored in a bread box, linen bread bag, or wrapped in beeswax wrap. Proper storage will keep your sourdough sandwich bread soft and fluffy for several days.
This homemade sourdough bread also freezes well! I like to wrap the second loaf (completely cooled) in a cotton pillowcase and freeze it to use later in the week after the first loaf has been eaten. You can read all about the best ways to store your homemade bread in this post.
Whether you’re comfortable baking with sourdough starter instead of commercial yeast or you’re just getting your feet wet, you’ll love this healthy whole wheat sourdough sandwich loaf. It’s easy to mix up, set aside, and bake later to make two soft, fluffy loaves of bread that can be enjoyed in countless ways!
Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread Recipe
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Stand mixer, fitted with a paddle
- Large glass bowl
- 2 Loaf pans
- 1 1/2 cups Active sourdough starter
- 2 1/2 cups Warm water
- 1/2 cup Butter, softened
- 1/4 cup Honey
- 3 tsp Salt
- 7-7 1/2 cups Whole wheat flour
- Combine active sourdough starter, honey, softened butter, salt, and warm water in the mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients together using the dough hook or by hand.
- Add the flour one cup at a time and knead for several minutes until the dough is fairly smooth and only slightly sticky to the touch.
- Place the dough in a large glass bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and allow to rise for at least 8 to 12 hours in a warm place.
- Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a loaf shape and place into the greased loaf pans. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for another 2 hours.
- Bake in a 375 degree F oven for about 40 minutes, or until golden brown on top and cooked through.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack before cutting.