Soft Buttermilk Sourdough Bread

You’ll love this buttermilk sourdough bread as a basic, everyday sandwich loaf. It’s easy to make, soft and fluffy, and uses basic ingredients.

If you love a truly tangy sourdough bread, you’ll love this bread even more. There’s sourness from the sourdough starter and buttermilk, giving it a great, rich flavor. There’s just enough brown sugar to keep it from seeming too sour and the soft texture makes it a great everyday loaf.

This bread works easily into your schedule with just a few minutes of hands-on time and flexible rising times.

finished loaf in front of window.

Soft Buttermilk Sourdough Bread

A soft and fluffy sourdough sandwich bread made with buttermilk. Lots of tangy flavor plus great texture make this a perfect sandwich loaf.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
rising time 8 hours
Total Time 9 hours 25 minutes
Serving Size 16 slices

Ingredients 

For the Dough

  • cups all purpose flour 11.5 ounces
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¾ cup buttermilk 6 ounces
  • ½ cup active starter 5 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
  • teaspoons salt

For Topping

  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

Instructions 

  • Mix the dough + autolyze. Combine the flour, brown sugar, buttermilk, butter, and starter in a large mixing bowl until a sticky dough is formed. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rest on the counter for about 30 minutes.
    large mixing bowl with dough
  • Briefly knead. Add the salt and knead by hand, either on the counter or right in the bowl, 1-2 minutes. You want to make sure the salt is incorporated and no longer feels gritty in the dough. You'll notice that the dough starts to smooth out as you knead. It will still feel quite sticky.
  • First rise. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 4 hours, or until doubled in size. Once or twice during the rising process, fold the dough back up into a ball to help build structure and help it rise higher in the second rise. If needed, re-dampen the tea towel to keep it from drying out.
    mixing bowl with dough shaping into ball
  • Shape. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and stretch into a long rectangle about 9 inches x 18 inches. Tuck the corners in and start rolling the dough into a log. Tuck the ends under and pinch the side and bottom seams. Place the the loaf into a greased loaf pan and cover it with greased plastic wrap.
    process of shaping dough into sandwich loaf.
  • Second rise. Place loaf in a warm place and allow to rise again, for 3-4 hours, or until the dough has risen 1-2 inches above the top of your loaf pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the center.
    bread dough before and after rising.
  • Bake. Remove the plastic wrap and brush the top of the loaf with melted butter. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and 200 degrees in the center. Remove from loaf pan and allow bread to cool on wire rack. For neatest slices, let cool completely before slicing.
    overhead view of finished loaf.

Video

Notes

The rising times will vary depending on the strength of your sourdough starter, warmth of your room, and other factors.  Let the dough be your guide!
You can spread the process over two days by placing the dough in the fridge overnight.  It won’t rise much in there, but it will allow you to continue the process in the morning.  

A note about Important ingredients

  • Buttermilk: Adds tanginess and ensures the bread is soft and moist.
  • Active Starter: Essential for the sourdough flavor and helps in the rising of the dough.
ingredients on counter.
Large Mixing Bowl: Needed for combining your ingredients.
Clean Tea Towel: To cover the dough during the resting period.
Loaf Pan: To give the bread its shape and support it while baking.
Thermometer: To ensure your bread is baked perfectly inside.

 Norpro Melamine 1017 Grip-EZ Mixing Bowl, 4 quart, Yellow, 3.8 liters Maxjoy Danish Dough Whisk,Large Wooden Danish Whisk for Dough With Stainless Steel Ring,Original Dutch Style Dough Hook for Kitchen Bread Making Tools and Supplies,Dough Whisk 13 Inch KINGSBULL HOME Bread Pan Loaf Pan Ceramic Bread Pans for Baking Porcelain Baking Pans Nonstick Meatloaf Pan

 

Everything else is just basic pantry ingredients.

Sourdough sandwich bread tips

Be patient! Patience is crucial here, allow the dough ample time to rest and rise, letting the active starter do its work. The process involves two significant rising periods, totaling 7-8 hours.

Don’t rush this; it’s the secret to achieving the perfect loft and chew in your bread.

The dough is sticky. Baking in a loaf pan sort of simplifies the whole process and lets you have a wetter dough without worrying about it turning into a pancake. So don’t be scared.

sliced buttermilk sandwich bread on cutting board

Shaping. When shaping your dough, gently form it into a rectangle and roll it into a log. You tuck the corners in then roll down (shoulders in, head down).

But don’t get overly worked up about this. I’ve messed up shaping many loaves and they all turn out just fine.

Stay on schedule. If you’re having a hard time remembering to do the stretch and folds, set a timer on your phone.

If at any time you’re sick of dealing with your dough, cover it tightly and pop it in the fridge. You can continue in the morning.

🥫 Storage instructions

Any leftovers will keep well in a bread bag for 3-4 days on the counter.

Like any homemade bread, this freezes very well. Try slicing it, then freezing, so you can pull out what you need for toasting one slice at a time.

🔍 FAQs

Is this bread sour?

I wouldn’t say sour, but yes there is a tangy flavor that’s noticeable.

Why isn’t my bread rising?

This dough rises very slowly. Try putting it in a warmer place and see if that works. If it’s just not happening, chances are your starter wasn’t active enough.

loaf of. sourdough buttermilk sandwich bread, end sliced.

📘 Related Recipes

🍽 Serve it with

This bread recipe makes great sandwiches or toast. Try it spread with homemade apple butter, or on the side with a cast iron skillet omelet.

Soft Buttermilk Sourdough Bread

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Recipe Rating




18 Comments

  1. 3 stars
    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I am on the fence about this bread. The flavor is good, no question. However, I have two cons with the bread loaves I produced (I did double the recipe).

    The first is the crumb was larger and less dense than what I get with my sourdough sandwich bread recipes that only use water. I dont want a lot of larger holes in my sandwich bread, even if it tastes great. The second con is somewhat related to the first. My loaves were much shorter than the loaves I produce with my other recipes. This may be because my double loaf sourdough sandwich bread recipes have almost twice the amount of flour, so the loaves are taller. However, while I could have probably gotten a taller rise with this recipe, I would have ended up with an even more open crumb with my finished loaves, which for me is not desirable for sandwich bread. I guess I’ll look for other ways to use up my buttermilk.

  2. 5 stars
    I make sourdough bread weekly and when I saw this recipe I was intrigued. I luv buttermilk biscuits so I was ready to give this a try. Hands down the best bread I ever made!!

  3. 5 stars
    I really, really love this recipe and have made it several times. My only complaint would be if you could include in the directions adding the 2 T. of butter with the other ingredients in the autolyze? It doesn’t specify when to add it and I always forget. Thanks for the recipe! It’s fantastic!

  4. 5 stars
    This bread is a big hit with everyone who has tried it! I’ve also made it with part white whole wheat flour and it comes out great that way as well.

      1. Katie, take 1 tbsp white vinegar and put it in a 1 cup measuring cup then fill the measuring cup the rest of the way to the top with milk. Stir and let it sit for a few minutes. There is your replacement for buttermilk!
        Happy baking!
        Suzi Q

      2. Or make your own butter & buttermilk with your starter. One liter of heavy cream (preferably not UHT) combined with 50 ml of kefir or 150 ml of active yogurt (not pasteurized) and ferment for 24 to 72 hrs at room temp. Will depend on room temp. But it will be thick a buttery smelling. Whip until the solid separates. The liquid is lovely buttermilk (about 500 ml) and the solids are lovely butter. Strain off the buttermilk, wash the butter in ice water until liquid is clear. Salting is optional – 1.5% max

  5. Do you melt the butter that goes into the dough? There is no mention of it in the printed recipe.