Homemade bread doesn’t have to be a hassle and should work for your budget. Food for your body should also be nourishment instead of causing sluggishness. A simple homemade sourdough sandwich bread recipe will satisfy your family and work well in your daily routine and budget. It can also help you eat grains that help you feel good.
Bread is such a staple in so many households. But to be quite honest, I got tired of spending my money on bread that could literally last 2 weeks or more without getting mold on it. Hello preservatives? That just didn’t seem healthy to me.
I also started noticing that I was having some digestive problems when eating store bought bread. I would gain some extra pounds and my stool would back up. What a coincidence. And then I started realizing other people had the same problems. Bread is fantastic, but it doesn’t always digest the best.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! You can eat bread, save some grocery budget cash, and feel good all at the same time. Homemade bread alone is a fairly easy concept. But the real winner is fermented sourdough bread.
Let’s start with what sourdough really is. Sourdough refers to bread or grains that have been fermented in a dough by a group of good bacteria and yeast that are considered “wild” simply because they aren’t the typical yeasts you would purchase from a store. The yeast and bacteria usually are on the grains like wheat and therefore are in the flour once it is ground if it’s not bleached. They can also come from the air or environment, but most often from the grain itself.
During the fermentation process, the bacteria and yeasts are able to feed on the flour and create gases and lactic acid. The lactic acid creates a tangy sour taste that also helps the baked product to store pretty well. The gases mostly created by the yeast help the dough to rise.
Phytic Acid & Digestion
The beauty of sourdough products is that if you have a sensitivity to grains, you can in many times opt for a longer fermentation period to give the microbes more time to break down something called phytic acid. Now, tread with caution if you have a severe allergy and check with your doctor. I’m referencing sensitivities to grains that result in you feeling sluggish or bloated after eating breads and such, not an allergic reaction.
Phytic acid is actually something I first learned about in my animal nutrition courses in college. Monogastric animals, those with a digestion system similar to humans, have problems breaking down phytic acid. This acid binds up some nutrients and ends up making the nutrients of a food source less absorbable. In animals, for example, nutritionists have found a way to make these nutrients in grains more available by adding an enzyme called phytase to the rations delivered to the animal. The end result is amazing. Fore example, in pigs they digest their food better, have a more natural source of phosphorous from the grains and need less supplementation of some nutrients while excreting less un-used nutrients, and in turn have a slightly increased growth. It’s a real win-win situation.
In humans, we are also monogastrics. For our bodies to have more nutrient access from the grains we’re eating, we need to break down the phytic acid in some way prior to eating them. By doing so, there will no longer be a barrier towards nutrient absorption and digestion will be aided as our bodies won’t have to work so hard.
In other words, I used to feel very bloated eating breads. My body would swell and if I went overboard, I would even gain a few extra pounds. I wasn’t digesting the grains well and my body would have to spend more time on it. If instead I ate sourdough breads where the phytic acid had been given time to break down during the fermentation process, I wouldn’t get bloated and I would feel normal. That, in summary, is the beauty of sourdough.
Sourdough Sandwich Bread
There are many different types of sourdough bread. However, in so many homes an artisan style loaf just isn’t practical for everyday use. And especially with young families, you need a loaf that’s fairly uniform. The sourdough sandwich bread loaf fills the void. It’s correctly shaped for throwing bread in your toaster like a regular slice of bread. It works well for anything from PB & J’s to a grilled cheese or BLT. You will actually eat this bread and it’s an easy substitute in your family’s diet. I promise.
It does take a little extra time. In order to give the bacteria and yeasts time to break down the phytic acid and create enough rise in the bread, you will need to allow for more rise time before you bake it than you would a traditional homemade bread. This could be a problem for some working families.
But the beauty of sourdough bread is that it stores fairly well. If you make a couple of loaves on the weekend, they should last all week. This bread also only takes a handful of ingredients that are easy to keep in your pantry. Not only does that help cut cost per loaf, but it also is re-assuring that you won’t have to purchase extra “things” just to make it!
Ingredients for this sourdough sandwich bread include salt, sugar, water, vegetable oil, butter, flour, and sourdough starter. Yup that’s literally it.
For flour, I like to use a locally made flour called Dakota Maid. It can be either bread flour or all purpose but I find that the most important thing is that it’s unbleached. This helps support that starter and results in a much nicer loaf. The brand isn’t specific, many other unbleached flours should work just fine.
For vegetable oil, I prefer using olive oil. I think that it helps give the bread a nicer texture that leans more moist than crumbly like some sourdough breads can be. It doesn’t take much though, and regular vegetable oil should also work just fine.
The sugar and salt also help with the general flavor of the bread. Sourdough can get quite tangy depending on how long you let it rise. These help level out the flavor.
A mixing bowl will also be needed. This recipe whips up pretty fast and does not require or even benefit from using a stand mixer. You will also need a stand size loaf pan and a cookie sheet, bar pan, or tin foil for baking.
How to Make Sourdough Sandwich Bread
To make this sourdough sandwich bread, start with having your sourdough starter fed between 8-24 hours prior to mixing. This depends on the temperature of your home. The prime time to bake is when your starter is about at the peak of its rise or just after. If you fed your starter in the morning, it should be ready by evening the same day.
Grab your large mixing bowl and add the warm water, salt and sugar. Add your sourdough starter. If it’s ready to bake with, it should float in the water. Maybe not completely float, but it should float to a degree.
Completely mix the starter into the water until the consistency is smooth. Add your oil and then start adding your flour. I like to add my flour in portions. Start with two cups, mix just until incorporated, and then slowly start adding the rest of the flour. I usually start mixing with a wooden spoon, but by the end am using my hands. The key is to NOT over-mix. I like the dough to be be fairly dry by the time I’m done mixing and it should not be a smooth ball. This will change, I promise.
Allow the dough to sit for 30 minutes in the bowl, covered with cling wrap. Come back and stretch the edges out and fold them the top gently. Then carefully form the dough into a ball. Place back into your mixing bowl or a lightly greased bowl and cover with cling wrap. Allow to rise for 8-10 hours or overnight. The dough should be about double.
Gently take the dough out of the bowl, and gently reshape into a loaf shape. The key is to minimize bubble or air loss. Place in a greased loaf pan and allow to rise for another 2-3 hours in a warm location, covered. Preheat your oven to 350˚F and place a cookie sheet or tin foil on the bottom shelf. Place your risen loaf onto the top shelf of your oven, uncovered, and bake for about 50 minutes. Take out of the oven and immediately coat the top of the loaf in a thin layer of butter. This will help keep that top crust soft.
Allow the loaf to cool for 10 – 20 minutes and pull away from the loaf pan. Run a butter knife around the edges and gently tip the loaf out of the pan. Place on a cooling rack and allow to fully cool. Store in a gallon ziplock bag or other bread bag. You can also slice the bread after cooling using a serrated bread knife. Waiting to slice until needed will result in a moister slice, however it is not necessary to do so.
That’s all there is to it! A fairly simple and hands off sourdough bread recipe that will leave your family feeling better and will help cut your grocery budget.
A simple sourdough sandwich bread that is fairly hands off, stores well, and comes together quickly with great flavor.
- 1/2 - 3/4 Cup Active Sourdough Starter
- 1 1/4 Cup Warm Water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3-4 Cups bread flour or all purpose flour, unbleached
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Place water, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl, dissolve completely.
- Add active sourdough starter to water. Make sure that starter floats in water. Mix until there are no lumps in the water and starter mixture.
- Add oil and mix.
- Add flour one cup at a time. Do not overmix. Add flour until dough looks dry and is fairly firm while still having moisture. Dough should look scrappy.
- Let dough sit, covered, for 30 minutes to give the flour to absorb the liquid.
- Stretch the sides of the dough and fold them over the top. Bring the dough into a ball. Dough should be soft but not runny at this point. Place in a greased bowl and cover.
- Place in a warm, not hot, location for 10 to 12 hours, or until dough almost doubles.
- Without disrupting the risen dough, remove the dough from the bowl and reshape into a long loaf that will fit in your bread pan.
- Add dough to your greased bread pan, cover, and let sit in a warm location for 2-3 hours or until double in size.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350˚F with a cookie sheet on the bottom shelf, bread pan on the second shelf, for 50 minutes or until the dough is completely baked and has a brown crust.
- Remove from the oven and immediately apply butter to the top crust.
- Let the bread cool, remove from the pan, and continue to cool for 30-40 minutes.
- Slice or leave whole and store in a plastic bag or ziploc container.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 349Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 117mgCarbohydrates: 67gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 11g