A simple recipe that combines buttermilk and sourdough for a tangy sandwich loaf. You’ll love this soft bread.
❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe
- Great flavor. 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.
- Soft. A nice texture makes it a versatile, everyday loaf. (Try sourdough egg bread for another soft sandwich loaf!)
- Easy to make. Like any sourdough bread, the rising times are long. But it’s not hard. Let’s begin!
This is an overview of the ingredients. You’ll find the full measurements and instructions in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page.
You’ll need the following for this simple bread:
For the Dough
- all-purpose flour
- brown sugar
- active sourdough starter
- softened butter
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I use and recommend Gold Touch bakeware for the most evenly browned loaf.
- 8.5 x 2.5 x 4.5 sandwich loaf
- large mixing bowl
- stand mixer, bread machine, or patience
Step One: make the dough
Okay, my friends, let’s start this bread. If you have made sourdough bread in the past, you’ll be surprised how easy this is! Baking it 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.
We start by just mixing up the ingredients (including the butter) in a big bowl. At first, it will look rough, lumpy, and sticky. That’s okay. Cover it up and let it rest for thirty minutes.
Next, add in the salt and knead it in. This will take about five 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, though!
Step Two: stretch and fold + shaping
Let it rise for about four hours, or until it is very puffy and has doubled in size. But don’t just let it hang out in there without a little attention. Once or twice throughout the rising process, shape the dough back up into a ball as pictured in #5. This gives the dough just a little more structure so it can hold its shape better. Don’t be overly particular about this. Just do it a couple of times.
Once your dough is nice and puffy, it’s time to shape! Turn it out onto the counter and stretch it out into a long rectangle. Use your loaf pan as your guide. Then tuck the top corners in and then the top (“shoulders in, head down”) and roll up your loaf. Tuck the ends under and pinch all the seams.
Spray your loaf pan and pop the dough in. Cover it with greased plastic wrap and back it goes into that slightly warm oven.
This second rise will take about 3-4 hours, but watch the dough, not the clock. Like any true sourdough recipe, the times will vary quite a bit. It’s ready when the dough is 1-2 inches over the top of the loaf pan.
Towards the end of the rising time, place your oven rack in the center and preheat the oven to 350.
Step three: final proof and bake
Cover it with a damp tea towel and place the whole bowl in a warm place (a slightly warm but turned-off oven is great!).
When your loaf is ready to bake, first brush with melted butter. Well, you don’t have to! But it adds a little color and shine to your finished bread.
Pop that little guy into the oven and bake until it’s about 200 degrees inside and very golden brown.
Let it cool on a wire rack for a few hours. If you can let it fully cool, you’ll get the nicest-looking slices
🥫 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.
I wouldn’t say sour, but yes there is a tangy flavor that’s noticeable.
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.
👩🏻🍳 Expert tips
- If you’re having a hard time remembering to do the stretch and folds, set a timer on your phone.
- If t 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.
📘 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.
📖 Here’s the recipe
Soft Buttermilk Sourdough Bread
For the Dough
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 scant cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup active starter (5 ouncces
- 2 tablespoons softened butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- Combine the flour, brown sugar, buttermilk, butter and starter in a large mixing bowl by mixing until a sticky dough is formed. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rest on the counter about 30 minutes.
- Add the salt and knead by hand, either on the counter or right in the bowl, abbout five minutes, until the salt is thoroughly incorporated and the dough begins to smooth out. It will still be relatively sticky and shaggy.
- 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.
- 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 with greased plastic wrap.
- 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.
- 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.
Enjoy your bread!
14 thoughts on “Buttermilk Sourdough Bread”
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.
hey robin, i totally get it! for a lot of buttermilk i like to make a big batch of waffles or pancakes and freeze them. works great!
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!!
I’m so glad gray! thanks for letting me know 💕
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!
Hey Jess, Yes! I’ll add that now! 🙂
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.
thanks jennifer! i haven’t been able to find buttermilk for months and i wish i could make a loaf too! 🙂
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!
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
One more question: Can you substitute some WW flour for the AP flour?
yes, absolutely. up to 25% with it stillcoming out light.
Do you melt the butter that goes into the dough? There is no mention of it in the printed recipe.
hi sally! i just add it softened with the other ingredients and it smooths out while you knead.