100% Sourdough Sandwich Bread / #BreadBakers

Whole Wheat Sourdough  Sandwich Bread has a tender crumb. It is a mildly sweet bread that toasts well and makes great sandwiches.

Autumn mornings in the hills are misty. There is a thin film of mist covering the Himalayas early in the morning.

 In the distance, there are coils of white smoke rising from a hut. The fire must be burning bright and the tea must be boiling we presume. 

The smoke from the chimney rises and merges with the fog above.

As the day progresses, it becomes brighter and warmer. Bunches of flowers bloom. 

There is an audible hum of the bees that visit the flowers. 

Wild Marigolds,  Dahlias and Chrysanthemums add a touch of gold to the garden.

Warm weather in the hills is a luxury and calls for baking bread.

Baking a Sourdough Sandwich bread had been on my mind since long. We have locally milled flour which is coarse. And after a lot of experiments, I have discovered that overnight cold autolyse works best with coarse flour.

Every baker has his/her own rituals of sourdough baking. It takes experience, expertise and sometimes failure to learn some aspects of baking. Every session leaves you wiser. There is no one formula that works for all. You have to experiment and discover the formula that works best with your schedule, ecosystem and taste.

Make sure that you have fed your starter twice at least two days before baking. 

The levain should double up in 6-8 hours and should be bubbly and stringy with small bubbles breaking on the surface.

Our family prefers a soft crust and a sweeter crumb. And this is our favourite Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread. There is no sourness in the bread. The crumb is soft and sweet.


Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread (with extended cold autolyse)



15 g active starter

35 g whole wheat flour

50 g water


525 g whole wheat flour

460 g water

9 g salt

20 g unrefined sugar/brown sugar/jaggery

35 g oil



  1. Start  the autolyse at night. Mix whole wheat flour and 430 g water. Mix and keep in the refrigerator. Remove two to three hours before mixing so that the autolysed dough is at the room temperature.
  2. Alternately, you may autolyse dough for 3-4 hours at room temperature.
  3. Mix all the ingredients for levain. Mark and keep in a warm spot. It will double in 6-8 hours (keep an eye on the levain as the whole wheat peaks faster).
  4. To prepare the dough, take a deep bowl. Add Levain, oil, sugar and 20 g water. Mix well. To this, add autolysed dough and mix everything well, kneading for 6-7 minutes or until you get a very smooth and tacky dough. At this point, if your dough can take in more water, add remaining 10 g water. If you cannot handle more hydration, avoid.
  5. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle salt on the surface of the dough and pinch with fingers to incorporate salt evenly. Stretch and fold a couple of times till you feel the salt has mixed well. Cover and keep in a warm spot.
  7. Stretch and fold the dough 5 times every hour.
  8. The dough should have become cohesive, smooth, puffy and increased in volume by the end of the last stretch and fold.
  9. With the help of a bench scraper, transfer the dough onto the floured counter.
  10. Spread out the dough and then roll it tightly. Shape into a loaf and transfer to an oiled loaf pan ( 9x5 inches)
  11. Cover your pan with plastic and then retard in the refrigerator and keep in the refrigerator for 12 to 14 hours. Even at the cool temperature, the dough can overproof. So keep an eye on it.
  12. Next morning, remove the risen loaf from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Slash the loaf from the top ( a simple straight slash will do).
  13. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden from the top.
  14. Remove from the oven and remove from the pan after 10 minutes. Cool on the wire rack for a few hours.
  15. Slice the bread after a few hours or the next day and the interior may not be wholly set. Give it some time to relax.

  Note: Every flour acts differently and absorbs water accordingly. Start with a lower percentage of water when mixing levain with autolysed dough. And add water till the dough is wet looking, extensible but not soupy. The dough should hold shape.

Linking to #Breadbakers

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

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  1. I always feel like I just did a yoga session when I read your posts. A sense of peace and calmness always follows. Thanks

  2. Beautiful bread! Thanks for sharing the process!

  3. This looks so good, I love all the nooks and crannies! It's almost like an english muffin! I need to break out my sourdough again!

    1. Thank You Sarah, I am sure that you'll love this one :)

  4. The texture of your crumb is perfection! What a beautiful loaf!

  5. That is beautiful scenery with bread. love it perfectly made it.

  6. Your pictures are stunning! Both the bread as well as nature. Would definitely love to have a slice of this bread with chai and enjoy the hills.

  7. Love the photos of your views - just beautifully relaxing!! And that bread looks textbook gorgeous!

    1. Thank You Swati for your kind words Rebekah :)

  8. It looks beautiful! We love our sourdough sandwich bread that isn't sour, would love to try your whole wheat version.

    1. Hello Kelly, I would happily recommend that you try this one. It isnt sour at all. I am sure that you'll love it.

  9. After being unsuccessful in my maiden attempts at baking sd bread, a friend shared your page and tada.. I could manage a decent loaf with half the contents. Thankyou so much Namita. I didn't wanted to use maida or gluten and now I can safely use wwf un sd loafs too! :)

    1. Hello! So happy that you tried this bread and shared your experience. Hope you try some more recipes from the blog and share your feedback.

  10. I m following u from 15 days. I wanted to make sourdough bread. But since i m new. I dont know few terms like autolyse, active starter. I will be greatful if u will clear my doubts

  11. Hello Swati,
    Autolyse is a simple process of mixing flour with water followed by a resting period of 20 minutes to few hours. During this phase of rest, magical changes happen in the dough. The bran hydrates and becomes soft. Gluten network begins to develop. Dough becomes extensible, kneading time is reduced and it helps to get a good loaf of bread.
    Active starter is the starter that has been fed and it should double up in 4-8 hours. This will ensure a good Sd loaf.