Sandwich sourdough bread

This is a loaf of simple sourdough bread that can be done by anybody without prior bread baking experience. It is a one day bread, but if you want, of course, it can be retarded in the fridge during the final fermentation.

Sandwich bread is very popular as enriched with milk, butter, sugar. My recipe is not an enriched loaf. Is a simple sandwich bread made from the 3 basic bread ingredients: flour, water and salt.

The sandwich bread is different than an artisan bread. On a sandwich bread, you want to be able to spread butter, so bread with big holes is not prefered. The sandwich bread needs to have many small holes so it is exactly the opposite what you are targeting with artisan bread. 

For this bread, you need a pan. I have a Pullman pan style that is very big. It has 34x13.5x12cm. In this pan, I put 1.6kg of dough.

Most probably your pan doesn't have exactly my pan dimensions and then the most difficult part in planning this bread is to know exactly how much dough to put inside to reach the top of the pan and obtain a perfectly squared bread. If you do not use the lid to obtain the square bread, this is not a problem because the bread can rise upper with no issue.

Unfortunately, I do not have a magic formula to calculate how much dough needs to be in the pan to fill it completely with the closed lid. For me, it was a trial and error. The pan producer was indicating only 1kg of dough and that was way too less for such a big pan. Then I found some online calculators that indicated me 1.3 - 1.4kg of dough. After baking, this quantity of dough didn't arrive at the lid.  By letting it proof more maybe it would have worked but the intention of the sandwich bread is not to have an open crumb, but rather a spongy, regular structure with many alveoli of a small size.

I tried after 1.6kg of dough and that was my matching quantity. For a denser bread, I think the dough quantity can be increased and the proofing time cut a bit. But for me, this quantity gave the expected result.

The only advice I can give you here is to do some tests. It can be tricky because of the type of flour you use and the expected density of the crumb. I like it the way mine ended up even if there are some bigger alveoli here and there.


  • 181g sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 533g water, lukewarm
  • 869g bread flour (12% protein content)
  • 17g salt

Directions: (please see more detailed steps in the video)

  1. [9:00] Scaling. Start by scaling your ingredients using a balance and put them on the table to ensure there is nothing forgotten.
  2. [9:00] Mix water + flours. Mix only the flour with water until well combined. Do not knead at this stage, just ensure there is no unincorporated dry flour resting in the bowl and that's it. I did this step with a standing mixer but you can also do it easily by hand. I used lukewarm water, preheated in the microwave for 2 minutes. Leave the dough to rest in a warm place. I used a bread proofer set to 28ºC for the entire bulk fermentation process.
  3. [10:30] Sourdough starter. Add the preferment over the dough and knead for 10 minutes with a standing mixer or by hand.  After kneading, cover the dough and let the dough relax for 1 hour.
  4. [11:30] Salt. Add salt and mix for 8 minutes. Let the dough relax again for 1 hour.
  5. [12:30, 13:30. 14:30] Stretch and Fold. Do 3 sets of stretch and folds at one hour interval and let the dough relax in the bowl covered in between. 
  6. [15:30] Shape. Flour lightly the board and your hands. Take the dough out of the bowl putting it face down on the board. Then stretch it gently in a squared shape avoiding to degas it too much. Roll it to give it a shape for the pan. Place the dough face up in the pan. Press it gently to cover the corners of the pan.
    Now let it rise until it almost reaches the lid of the pan. The dough will rise very much, almost 2-3 times the initial volume. You can extend this proofing to the limit, as long as it doesn't start to collapse. I did this second fermentation at the same 28ºC for 4 hours. But you, keep an eye on the dough, it might be less or more. 
  7. [19:30] Bake. First, put the lid on. You do not need to preheat the oven for this bread. Just turn now the oven at 200ºC and put the closed pan inside for 45 minutes.
  8. [20:15] Cool. The bread needs to cool for at least 2 hours until it reaches the room temperature. The cooking process continues slowly even after taking the bread out of the oven, so this is why it is important to not skip this step and to resist cutting it too early. If you can, of course...
  9. [22:15, or the next morning] Cut. Now you can enjoy a beautiful slice of sandwich bread as it is or toasted. 


DanAyo said...

Hi Denisa
Another outstanding video presentation and writeup! We are fortunate to have access these resources.

There is a post on TheFreshLoaf forum that may be of interest to those wanting to bake sandwich bread in a pan. In particular, a section that deals with various pan sizes and determining the proper dough weight. With this conversion a baker could calculate the dough weight necessary to fill their pan of a different dimension.

BTW - thanks for posting to the TFL forum! We are blessed by your knowledge and artistry.

Danny Ayo

Hungry Shots said...

Thank you so much for you nice comment! So pity that I didn't spot your post on TFL before. I like the idea that you start from a desired density. I absolutely need to try this formula and probably adapt it to the flour used (or combination of flours).

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