Sourdough sandwich bread (Pullman)

sourdough sandwich
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A sandwich bread is a must when you plan a picnic, outing, gathering, kids party or BBQ. This is a kids favorite right!? However, I tend to buy sandwich bread from a good local bakery mostly, as I never plan ahead.

sourdough sandwich

So this is not very frequent bread at our place. We prefer the rustic country bread and the last time I even bought a sandwich loaf was to pack lunch for a road trip, a few years ago (I think it was to Western Australia… yes we drove along the “great ocean road”, a bucket list item if you visit down under).

sourdough sandwich bread
perfect for PB & J

But I have been asked several times, for a sourdough sandwich recipe. I know this is a staple bread if you have kids. I mean before I started this whole sourdough bread journey, I depended on the good old sandwich loaf. It is versatile, soft, keeps fresh for longer and really easy to slice and pack…really what’s not to like about it!

Love salad sandwiches

This is the perfect bread to make fresh salad sandwiches, for picnics or a simple PB&J sandwich. We also love french toast made with thick slices of this kind of bread.

Whenever I bought sandwich bread, I used to go for Rye, wholemeal, seeded or oats thinking that somehow they were better than just eating white bread. Later when I went to pastry/bakery school I had the chance to study about the world of bread and I learnt how the industrial bread are being made and what goes into them etc. This is the major turning point for me. From this day onward, I stopped buying cheep supermarket bread and always went for that trusted local bread baker instead. I started to read the label and look for the bread from known reputed bakeries. If a loaf of bread is made with a few simple ingredients that you can pronounce and would remember, then that is what you should go for.

sourdough sandwich
All you need is some butter!

This is why making your sandwich bread at home is worthwhile, if you can’t find a good local bakery that does this for you. And the sourdough version is so flavorful. It is not like the usual white bread, it doesn’t stick to the inside of the teeth and doesn’t go all mushy like under cooked cake. You have to make it to know the difference.

The soft crumb has got a body to it!


Lets have a brief look on what each ingredient does in this loaf, so you can adjust them to suite your palate and / or substitute them with your preferred alternative.

What it does: lubricates crumb for easy slicing. Gives flavor, softness, keeps freshness for longer
For my sandwich bread I’m using good quality butter. You can substitute this with oil, but oil is liquid and so you have to be careful when adding water. You can use bacon fat /drippings too. Vegetable spread or vegan butter is another option.

What it does: sweetness, keeps crumb moist (sugar is hygroscopic), softer crumb, helps feed yeast, caramelized color on crust
I’m using caster sugar in this recipe. Can be replaced with honey, brown sugar, coconut sugar etc. If using sugar in liquid form, cut down on water when you mix the dough.

What it does: gives body, supply food for yeast, flavor
I am using all purpose flour as we are looking for a softer crumb. But this can be make with bread flour or a mix of other glutenous flours. If you use bread flour, your bread will be less soft and chewy though.

What it does: flavor, gives richness, softness(milk fat tenderizes gluten) and sugar too, helps keep fresh for longer, crust color
I’m using full fat dairy. You can substitute with plant-based milk but they may lack fat and sweetness so read the packaging to figure out. If you use, low-fat milk, then expect less richness as that takes away some fat.

A lot of extra ingredients can be added for various reasons.
Bakers dry milk powder: this is a common thing added in bakeries to achieve the soft, rich crumb
Starch: gluten free and gives softer crumb and help gives body/structure to the final product. I’m using chickpea flour, it adds flavor too. You can use potato flour or cassava flour too.
Diastatic malt: increase yeast activity and hence a greater rice/open cloudy crumb, gives flavor and color
Non-diastatic malt: for color and flavor

Baking tin:
Okay, so ideally, sandwich bread or Pullman loafs are made in a specific pan that has got more height than a normal loaf pan. They usually got square edges and comes with a lid. You can use the lid or bake without the lid. The lid will give you a perfect block of bread and without the lid, you will have a slightly rounded/domed top. You can of course make this in your normal loaf pan, just that the bread will be of a different shape.

This recipe is developed to fit the following tin dimensions:
8.4(L) x 4.8(W) x 4.5(H) inch

“This post may contain affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases, at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own”

If you want to use a tin with different capacity, you might want to adjust the quantities. You can calculate and get a rough estimate and then do a trial bake to know for sure.

Following are the steps, its always a good idea to read through the steps, look at the pictures and then attempt the recipe.


Make the sourdough starter ahead of time. Ideally 80% hydration but little more water is fine. If your starter is 100% hydrated, that is fine, you can use a little less water when mixing the dough.

If you want to know more about the starter read this post.

add butter

Mix everything except for water and butter, in a bowl of a stand mixer. Gradually add water until everything comes together. When a dough is formed, add butter a bit at a time and mix to combine. Once everything is mixed, you will get a soft, sticky dough.

rest the dough

Let this sticky dough sit in the bowl for 15 – 20 minutes. And then mix for about two minutes on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl as necessary. Add a little dusting of flour around the edges to encourage dough to come together in to a ball.

check the dough

After mixing, the dough will feel stronger and stretchy, but still a bit sticky. At this stage get the dough out on to a floured surface, and finish off kneading by hand. Check next image.

finished dough

Use slap and fold method to finish the kneading. After a few folds, you will get a tight dough like this.

tight dough

Feel the dough and you will feel the resistance. The dough is a lot less sticky than the starting mixture but it is not completely smooth yet.

bulking dough

Place the dough in a bowl, cover and leave in a warm place to ferment. This is the crucial bulk proof.

This will take about 3.5 – 4 hours at 26°C(78°F)

proofed dough

This is how the dough looks after the proof. Almost doubled in size, softer and full of air bubbles. It will feel squishy. Tip the dough on to a floured surface and you’ll see the bubbles and the mesh.

bulked dough

This is the underneath of the bulked dough. This will look and feel spongy as the yeast has been multiplying, releasing a lot of CO2.

fold in the dough

Now we need to punch and fold the dough again, back to a tight ball. get the dough from sides and fold into the center. Check the next image.

folded dough

This is the easiest to punch down a soft dough. Once folded in, flip the dough and round it up while applying gently pressure.


Place the tight dough ball back in the bowl, close tightly and place in the fridge for retarding. For about 12-16 hours.

This process will help develop the unique sourdough flavor. If you are not particularly into sourdough flavor, then skip this part. But you will still have to refrigerate the soft dough for at least 2 hours, otherwise it will be very difficult to mold.

retarded dough

This is the dough as soon as I pull it out of the fridge after the retardation. It has grown a bit and feel very stiff to the touch. We need to let this thaw at room temperature for about an hour, so that it is soft enough to mold but not too soft that it sticks.

thawed dough

When the dough is soft enough to handle, tip it on to a lightly floured bench.

Now we need to roll this out. Check next image

roll out

When rolling out the dough, keep the bread pan as a guide. The width of the dough should not exceed the length the of the pan. Roll the dough until it is very thin (about 1/2 cm)

Make sure to check that it hasn’t been stuck to the surface. Lift the dough very lightly flour if it is too sticky.

Use as little flour as possible for dusting.


Start rolling the dough from one end. Make sure it is tight and that no gaps are left. apply gently pressure as you go to release any trapped air. Maintain the width at all times.

rolled dough

Once done, pinch the seem. See how the dough length now roughly matches the length of the pan.

place in pan

Spray the pan with a very light coating of cooking oil. You can use oil or butter too.
Place the dough seem down, in the pan and press with your palm until it fits the pan nicely.

It should be a snug fit!

Cover the tin and leave in a warm place to proof.

This will take about 3 – 4 hours at 26°C(78°F) and we are looking for a risen dough like in the picture below

proofed dough

The dough should be risen almost to the top ( 1/2 inch below the rim) just below the lip.
You should be able to slid the lid on.

If it has come above the rim, then either you can bake without the lid or gently press the dough down for the lid to slid in.

Do not get the dough damaged, by trying to force the lid on

lid on

Pre-heat the oven to a 375 °F

Make sure to grease the underneath of the lid before sliding it in.

Place the pan in the pre-heated oven bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 25 minutes at 350°F

Tip: Internal temperature 200°F

baked bread

Once done, take the pan out. Let it sit for about 2 minutes and then slide the bread off the tin. Use mitts and be very careful, it will still be very hot. Place the bread on a wire rack to cool completely.

If you leave the bread in the pan, it will go soggy so it’s important to release the bread while still hot.

cut into bread

Leave the bread to cool completely before slicing it. Use a sharp serrated knife or a bread slicer.

Keep in an air tight container for extended freshness

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  1. Awesome…you have explained it so well with details of each ingredient. Lovely pictures n awesome bread. Thanks a lot Vindi.

      1. Hi Vindi!
        Would love to try this one. I am just two months old into sourdough baking. Still trying to make my starter strong.
        You have broken down the recipe to the last detail along with pictures. Thank you so much.

  2. Wow, this bread looks amazing! I’ll try your recipe, I just need to find the right flour: I am Italian and we have many kind of flours, but we classify them in a different way. Thanks a lot!

    1. Thanks Annalisa. Any flour with medium gluten % ( around 10% – 12%) would be good.
      You can use a mix of Type 00 and Type 0, just a suggestion 🙂

  3. hi vindi! this bread looks so good and i would love to try it out. im confused though, about the starter; is there a need for a levain or is the 100g of starter just straight up starter? also how long before the use of starter in the recipe does the starter need to be fed? thanks so much!

    1. starter = levain
      Make the starter the way you normally do, to make sourdough bread.
      Different starters take different times to ripe/peak roughly 6-8 hours but depend on your starter activity.

    2. The weight for the milk does not seem to match up. Is it 2/3cup milk or 135g?

      I belive 2/3cup milk is closer to 160g.

  4. Absolutely love this bread. I’ve been looking for a new sourdough recipe and this is the one. I just sliced my bread and it’s delicious. Thank you for this recipe.

  5. Vini, I’m from Brazil. And here I know start 1: 2: 2 or 1: 2: 3.

    example: start 1: 2: 2
    levain – 30gr
    water – 60gr
    flour – 60gr
    total levain – 150gr

    example: start 1: 2: 3
    levain – 30gr
    water – 60gr
    flour – 90gr
    total levain – 180gr

    Could you make an example of 100% hydration?

    1. 100% is the bakers percentage. So this is water as a percentage of flour.
      Your first starter 1:2:2 has equal quantities of flour and water so it is a 100% hydrated starter.

      I have a post “Bread making Basics for home bakers” it has full explanation of bakers %.

      Hope this helps!

    1. Do not replace more than 50% of the AP flour. Yes you might have to change the liquid depending on the flour type.
      Most whole meal are thirstier. Check the dough consistency and decide as you mix.

  6. Made buns according to your recipe..turned out very good…but bit dense..what can be the reason

    1. Hi Navneet, usually any bread product turns out dense due to one of three reasons.
      1. under proofed
      2. starter not being active enough (weak yeast activity)
      3. Not enough gluten developed
      To fix these;
      1. make sure bulk is long enough and check the final proof with a “poke” test
      2. refresh your starter and use it at it’s peak
      3. pay attention to mixing or folds to and also your flour mix (gluten %)
      Hope this helps

  7. Hi Vindi,
    this is a great recipe, tried it twice and both the time it turned our great, first time I added pizza herbs with olives and second time sesame seeds. thank you for this recipe.
    Can this recipe be used for subway loafs?
    will you be doing a pizza base recipe sometime… that is something my family is looking forward for. I had tried a recipe earlier but the base turns out very chewy.

    1. Thanks for your feedback Poonam. Subway loaf composition is similar to a burger bun so I am not sure if this recipe is the right one.

      Yes, a lot of asks for a pizza dough, so I will definitely have a recipe ready in the future.
      I have posted some on my Instagram and Facebook page, if you want one sooner.

  8. Hi Vindi

    Do you use a dough hook to mix everything? What speed would I need to mix if using a KitchenAid,

    1. Yes I do. Check the photos (step by step).To incorporate ingredients, use 1st speed and then use medium ( 2 on kitchen aid)

  9. Hi Vindi,
    I would love to try this. You have done a great job explaining everything. I have a 13 inch Pullman. Do you have the quantities for that?

    1. Unfortunately not. But you can double the recipe and try. I think a double will fit perfectly a 13″
      Let me know how it went.

  10. I have just popped my Pullman in the oven. Everything so far has gone according to plan! Looking forward to some great sandwich bread.

  11. We really liked this bread, tried it in different size pullman pans, they were both perfect. Thank you for such accurate directions.

    1. It adds starch which gives body and moist(gelatinous), softer crumb.
      I have explained this further in the post under Ingredients.

    2. If the final rise was maybe too long and the dough rose too high to be pushed down so the lid can go on without damaging the bread what temperature or bake time changes should one make? I sure would hate to throw it away. Thanks

      1. If the bread over proofed, it will not have the same oven spring or the nice open structure. Either way bake in the same temperature. You will have a darker crust on top. If you don’t want that, tent with a foil halfway through to the bake.

  12. Perfect recipe. Only change I made was a longer first rise – left the dough overnight in our kitchen that runs cool. The entire loaf is gone. Going to start my second loaf this evening – husband and son are begging for more!

  13. This bread turned out amazing! I didn’t have any milk, so I used half and half. I figured the extra fat wouldn’t hurt anything and the result was a rich brown crust with perfect structured yet fluffy crumb. I will be making this one again for sure.

    1. Yes! you were right on that! more fat > softer crumb 🙂
      I’m glad you loved it!

    1. Yes they can be frozen. Wrap in a few layers of plastic (cling wrap) and freeze.
      Thaw overnight in fridge and bake for 10 minutes in a moderate oven (180C) to freshen up

  14. Excellent slicing bread! I have a 16″ pan, doubling the recipe makes just the right amount to fill it. Today I made 50% white, 50% cinnamon raisin side by side. I added some sugar to the cinnamon to make it just a little sweeter and easier to broadcast over the dough. Thanks for the recipe!

  15. Trying to figure out how I would be able to bake this to have it fresh for lunch. When would I start the process the day before and when would I take it out again the morning I want to bake for lunch. Hope this makes sense. Thanks so much.

    1. If you pull the dough out around 7 am and leave it in a warm place (26°C/78°F) it will be ready to be baked just before noon.
      Another trick is to bake the loaf the day before and refresh it just an hour before serving. To refresh, preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F, spray the already baked loaf with a little water (use a spray bottle) and bake for about 8-10 minutes (foil the top if it’s browning) This will freshen up the bread and now leave this to cool before slicing. As good as freshly baked

  16. Looks great thanks much for your excellent instructions – I’m about to try it. Can you explain why the need to roll this out? Why couldn’t I just do a normal loaf shaping? Thanks again!!
    John Robert

    1. Rolling out removes all the air bubbles and Also allows us to do a tight rolling (shaping) which is necessary to create the sandwich crumb structure. If you do shape like a normal loaf, you will get big holes and a lose crumb. It is not a bad thing, just that you won’t be able to slice it like a sandwich bread and wouldn’t simply hold its shape. Hope this helps

  17. So appreciate all of the information you include in your recipes from the pan size to room temp at which the dough will rise! Making this soon!

  18. Hi Vindi. This looks beautiful! What do you think would be my success with an overnight bulk rise and 24-hour fridge retard? Do you think this would this over-proof the dough? Seeing whether I can align this to my regular sourdough loaf so I can prepare them side by side. Thank you!

    1. I don’t recommend overnight bulk rise as this recipe contains milk. If you want, you can skip the milk and use less starter (about 10g) and do an overnight bulk rise. The longer rise and retardation may increase the sour flavor which may not be ideal for a sandwich bread. But then again, you may like it better, so give it a try and see.

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